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Remember all the commotion about the BICEP2 mission back in 2014? Cosmologist had announced the observation of polarized "B-mode" waves that, if connected to the universal cosmic microwave background, would lend credence and observational support to the Inflationary Theory of Cosmology, this period just after the Big Bang when astronomers think the…
 
It turns out that NASA and others have been thinking about the inefficiencies of using chemical rockets to go to the Moon, Mars and the Outer Planets. One very attractive solution is Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, a technology that was begun in the 1960's and considered as a viable method of propelling Apollo astronauts to the Moon, but was abandoned …
 
This podcast features science and technology from the Large Millimeter Telescope. Our guests Nat DeNigris and David Sanchez will be on hand to discuss this amazing facility being operated in Mexico. The Large Millimeter Telescope is the world's largest single-aperture telescope in its frequency range, built for observing radio waves in the wave len…
 
We've known since Edwin Hubble's time that the universe has been expanding. What we've only recently learned (like, in the past 10 years or so) is that the universe is accelerating as it expands. Measuring this expansion rate has been problematic and while there are at least two different ways to make the measurement, they don't always agree. This …
 
Welcome to the first in a series of monthly discussions about topics in astronomy with Carol Christian, a colleague and friend of mine that has cohosted Astro Coffee Hangouts with me for years. This month we talk about what it's like for women in science. Why aren't more qualified women in science? What are the obstacles?…
 
Astronomy’s Future Will Be Built: New Capabilities to Assemble in Space the Largest Observatories. Scientific performance of telescopes depend strongly upon the observatory’s aperture, its capability to collect faint light. Eventually, the challenging goals of astronomers will require telescope mirrors larger than can be deployed in space without t…
 
For decades advocates of the exploration of the Moon have argued that this will make possible subsequent exploration of Mars. But is this really true? Recently several dozen experts critically examined whether astronaut exploration of the Moon could be used to feed forward to a human mission to the martian surface by the end of the 2030s. Their fin…
 
Did you know there is an effort underway to actually see the event horizon of a black hole? Right now, astronomers around the world are processing data taken earlier of the center of our galaxy in attempt to see the boundary between normal space and that of Sag A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The results are due out …
 
NASA has for decades been assessing options to utilize the resources available in space – often on the Moon and Mars – to sustain long-duration human operations. It will be prohibitively expensive to send from Earth to either location sufficient resources for astronauts to carry out priority mission goals, to say nothing of eventual settlement. Wit…
 
The largest ground-based telescope is now being built on the top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a new class of extremely large telescopes that will allow us to see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects with unprecedented sensitivity.The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was estab…
 
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has been on the forefront of astronomy discovery for decades. They operate telescopes primarily in South America, in Chile, and their astronomers have made groundbreaking observations in exoplanet research, cosmology, black holes, galaxy formation, etc. Please join us to learn about this amazing institution a…
 
HabEx is one of four concept missions being considered for the next generation of space telescopes. HabEx will search for rocky worlds like Earth in orbit around other stars and it will have unique capabilities to detect atmospheres and even the components of those atmospheres. The idea is to look for biosignatures on planets for signs of life!…
 
Super energetic neutrinos can be formed in exotic places, for example the accelerators in the core of galactic supermassive black holes. The IceCube neutrino detector array was built and deployed at the South Pole. The detectors are designed and positioned to find specific particles in a background of myriad charged particles bombarding the Earth. …
 
What would the planet Vulcan be like? It might be like the "super-Earth" planet orbiting a nearby star (16 light years) called HD 26965. The planet is only 2 times the size of Earth and the parent star is much like the sun. The planet orbits the star in a mere 42 days - but it is just inside the habitable zone where life might form. The star is a l…
 
This is the second is a series of discussions surrounding the next crop of space telescope concepts being considered by the National Academy of Sciences to follow in the footsteps of WFIRST. This episode features Lynx, a large, x-ray telescope designed to being the same field of view as Chandra, but with a higher resolution.Click here to get access…
 
The ORIGINS Space Telescope is one of four concept missions designed to compete as the follow-up mission to WFIRST, which launches after JWST. These missions are a look forward and present promising results to some of the biggest questions in astronomy. Today we talk with members of the ORIGINS Space Telescope Team to learn about what this mission …
 
Telescope Talk is back! Are you interested in getting started in the awe-inspiring hobby of amateur astronomy? If so, this hangout is for you! Every other Tuesday, we get together and give advice to beginners and advanced amateurs alike to help get them started and improve their observing experience. This week, we discuss imaging with advanced amat…
 
The International Space Station (ISS) has been the first successful step in long-duration human operations in space. If astronauts are to travel eventually to Moon, Mars, and deep space, technical capabilities must be developed beyond those demonstrated on ISS. This is one of the priority goals of the Gateway, a facility and human operations site i…
 
Is climate change inevitable on worlds with technological civilizations? Is planetary feedback from such a civilization a great filter? Our guest Dr Adam Frank will discuss his paper on the effects of planetary feedback on any possible alien civilizations out there. Could it be possible that many (or even all) technological civilizations out there …
 
Astronomers believe there is an undiscovered super-Earth Sized planet lurking in our outer solar system. If it exists, then astronomers think it would have an estimated mass of ten Earths, a diameter two to four times that of Earth, and an elongated orbit lasting approximately 15,000 years. So far, efforts to find this planet have failed.They are c…
 
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