Walkabout the Galaxy

Walkabout the Galaxy

Canada

An irreverent and informative tour of the latest, greatest and most interesting discoveries in astronomy.

Episodes

To Boldly Go!  

The astroquarks commemorate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. New this episode is the discovery of the Philae lander's final resting place on a comet, the launch of the OSIRIS-REx mission to grab some asteroid stuff and bring it home, the unveiling of Blue Origin's New Glenn reusable orbital rocket, and a proposal for a competitor to fantasy football: fantasy astrophysicists!

Extraterrestrials: Are They a Thing Yet?  

With a new "Earth-like" planet orbiting the nearest star to our Sun and frequent headlines popping up about interesting signals from SETI programs, and a flurry about a mysterious "Em-Drive" to facilitate interstellar travel, the Astroquarks put on their skeptical hats (actually, they are always on) to ask "is that a thing?". Spoiler alert: nah. But the Pale Red Dot at Proxima Centauri is definitely a thing, and it's pretty cool. Or hot. Depends which side of it you're standing on. Tune into Walkabout the Galaxy for this and all the latest astro-news.

StarzaniTrekWars!  

The astroquarks delve into the critical issues facing our world: what reboot is more awesome or more terrible: Star Trek, Star Wars, or Tarzan? Also, lots of comparative planetology as we discuss who is more lovable: Venus, Earth, or Mars in the past, present and future? Venus and Mars may have been lovely a few billion years ago, and we visit Titan, Saturn's moon and honorary planet and home of great lakes of liquid methane fed by methane river canyons. Join us for these exciting topics and imponderable questions such as what makes a lake a lake and not a sea.

For The World Is Not Hollow  

NASA's Juno spacecraft is orbiting the largest planet with the primary goal of understanding its internal structure. It will do this through a clever technique we at the Walkabout studios call "science". Check it out. It also comes in handy in just about every aspect of life. Join the astroquarks for the latest discoveries in our solar system on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

The Sun Needs a Red Corvette  

The Sun may be showing signs of belatedly entering a mid-life crisis of sorts. A sporty new car may improve the Sun's mood, as its spin and sunspot production may be slowing now that it's nearing the 5-billion year mark. Well, still a few hundred million years to go before ol' Sol reaches that sobering birthday, but he can see it coming. Don't worry Sol, the Walkabout gang and the rest of humanity is here for you. Josh, Addie, and Jim discuss the Sun's mid-life crisis and the color of quarks among other things in this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Earth's Mini-Stalker  

Lurking out there beyond the orbit of the Moon is a sneaky little asteroid that is stalking the Earth, meandering around and pretending not to be paying attention. But you can't fool the fools on Walkabout the Galaxy. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie as we spill the beans on Earth's tiny not-quite-a-moon companion and review the latest discovery of black hole mergers by the LIGO gravitational wave observatory. 

Black Holes: What Goes In Might Come Out  

While we stick by our longstanding advice never to enter a black hole, Jim Cooney and Zoe Landsman join Josh and Addie in this episode to discuss new findings that radiation emitted by black holes through quantum effects may carry information about the stuff the black hole gobbled up. Also, the rate of expansion of the universe may be a bit faster than previously thought. File this under "things I don't need to worry about before I run my errands."

Watching Supernovae with H2O  

In the good old days you needed a lens or a mirror to have a telescope, but now they'll use any old thing to look at the sky: ultra-precise orthogonal laser interferometers to measure gravitational waves or big tanks of water to see gamma rays from supernovae (that's Latin for supernovas). Jim Cooney and Zoe Landsman join Josh and Addie to talk about a new gamma ray observatory and why anyone might build such a thing. Also, planets and stuff. 

Take Me to Mars (and Back Again!)  

Josh and Addie welcome Julie Brisset to discuss the comings and goings of SpaceX Dragon capsules to Earth as well as planned (unmanned) missions to Mars in the very near future. Catch up on the latest in space exploration on Walkabout the Galaxy.

Supernova Breakout!  

Just when you thought a supernova couldn't get any cooler (metaphorically speaking, of course), the Kepler spacecraft comes along and spies for the first time the "breakout" of the exploding star from itself. Confused? Then this episode of Walkabout will clear things up for you. Josh and Addie welcome Dr. Phil Metzger to talk supernovae, meteors and the far side of the Moon.

Nice Model Not So Nice  

Ten years after the development of a dramatic new picture of the early history of the solar system, dubbed the Nice model (it was created at the Observatory in Nice, France), it has undergone several tweaks and modifications. The model posits a reshuffling of the big planets that led to a number of our current solar system's notable features, such as the late heavy bombardment, the distribution of orbits of asteroids and comets, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. On this episode of WtG, we welcome Akbar Whizin to discuss new research that reshuffles the Nice reshuffling, as well the new Star Trek TV show and the charming nature of baseball statistics.

The Babiest Galaxy  

Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about the origin of galaxies and the observation of a galaxy from when the universe was but a teeny weeny baby of a universe, less than 1/12th its current size. Also, Scott Kelly is back on terra firma and has to deal with gravity. Hear all about redshifts, the big bang, and hyposprays on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Attack of the Gravitational Wave  

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, two big black holes (no jokes, please) collided with each other releasing a ginormous amount of energy that has propagated across the universe as the tiniest stretching and jiggling of space itself. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about the first direct detection of the waving of space-time (in other words, gravitational waves). 

Planet 9 From Outer Space!  

Not content with being the self-proclaimed "Pluto Killer", CalTech professor Mike Brown has now co-authored a paper hypothesizing the existence of, in his own words, "the most planet-y of planets" or "Planet 9", in the far outer reaches of our solar system. We get it: you hate Pluto! But personal planetary battles aside, this is an interesting bit of dynamical detective work in which lead author Konstantin Batygin and Brown argue that a roughly Neptune-sized planet several hundred times further from the Sun than the Earth is needed to explain the peculiar configuration of a dozen or so objects in the Kuiper Belt. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about Planet 9. If it's the most planet-y of planets, let's come up with a new name for whatever the Earth is.

El Nino and the Price of Anchovies  

So what do floods in the southwest have to do with the price of anchovies? Join Josh, and Julie Brisset and find out in this episode of Walkabout from our guest Professor Dan Britt. But first: Star Wars. Spoilers abound. 

Exploring the Kuiper Belt with Alan Stern  

Join us for a discussion with Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and hear about the mission and its discoveries from the man who made it happen. New Horizons is headed towards its next target, a smaller object in the Kuiper Belt, the region of space beyond Neptune that was also, as it turns out, the birthplace of comet 67/P Churyomov-Gerasimenko. Yep, that's the comet that the ESA mission Rosetta is studying, and none other than Alan Stern is the P.I. of the ultraviolet spectrometer on that mission. It's all about the Kuiper Belt and missions to explore it with Alan Stern on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

The Mystery of Mars' Missing Air  

Why is there no air on Mars? NASA's MAVEN mission has supplied some details on how our neighbor lost what was likely a robust atmosphere comparable to Earth's. Spoiler alert: size does matter. Mars' diminutive scale poses a number of problems for holding onto the atmosphere. MAVEN has now witnessed erosion of the atmosphere due to the solar wind. Hear about Mars and more on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

The Biggest Star  

At Walkabout the Galaxy Josh and Addie, the AstroQuarks, explore all the pressing issues of life the universe and everything: what is the biggest star? How did that comet get to look like a rubber ducky? Which is better, college or pro basketball? How ignorant is Josh about baseball? Helping us solve these mysteries in this episode is special guest Meghan Keough. 

A Tale of Two Worlds  

Water is discovered on Mars (for the 95th time). Meanwhile, accelerated melting of land ice from Greenland is stifling global oceanic circulation on the Earth with dreadful (or exciting, if you are a super-villain) consequences for the climate. Join Josh, Addie and Tracy for a lively discussion of "The Martian", news about running water on Mars, and the great cold spot in the North Atlantic Ocean in this episode brought to us by neutrinos. Yes, that's really a thing.

It's the End of the Universe as We Know It  

Saying the universe is ending is kind of like saying the glass is half empty. In this particular case it refers to the decline in the rate of the formation of stars. Maybe that's an indication of the universe being over the hill, or maybe it's good that we've got oodles of long-burning stars out there hosting planets that may evolve life to sometime figure out the answer to the question of life the universe and everything.

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