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The GEMMA Podcast

The GEMMA Podcast

By Gemini Observatory
A podcast about Gemini Observatory and its role in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy. Featuring news related to multi-messenger astronomy (MMA), time-domain astronomy (TDA), our visiting instrument program, and more through interviews with astronomers, engineers, and staff both here at Gemini (North and South) and abroad.
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10: Pōniuāʻena
In episode 10 of the GEMMA podcast, GEMMA intern Odysseus Quarles reviews the discovery and naming of Pōniuāʻena, the second-most-distant quasar discovered to date, and the oldest known billion-solar-mass quasar in the universe. Special thanks to the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, for allowing us to use audio from their interviews with Jason Chu, Kaʻiu Kimura, Larry Kimura, and John O’Meara, and for leading the A Hua He Inoa program to unite cultural leaders, astronomers and students to share traditional knowledge with modern astronomical research. 
July 30, 2020
09 Gemini on Jupiter
In episode 9 of the GEMMA podcast, GEMMA intern Odysseus Quarles interviews Michael Wong, a planetary scientist at the University of California Berkeley. Wong is the PI for the recent Jupiter observations done at Gemini North in conjunction with the Hubble Space telescope and the Juno probe. In this episode, we discuss solar system astronomy in a multi-messenger context, and how Gemini’s capabilities were uniquely suited to the task. We then discuss some of the interesting results from Wong’s observations, including “holes” in the Great Red Spot, and lightning source regions. Related Links: Press Release and Images Be sure to keep an eye on our Youtube page as well, where we’ll have Michael Wong back again for Live from NOIRLab@Gemini on May 27th!
May 21, 2020
08: Messengers on the Moon and Mars
In episode 8 of the GEMMA podcast, GEMMA intern Odysseus Quarles introduces Brian Day’s Journey Through the Universe talk on the past, present, and future of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration programs. Brian Day is the Lead for Citizen Science and Community Development at NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). His talk, presented as part of Gemini Observatory’s Journey Through the Universe program, covers the history of NASA’s Lunar and Martian exploration programs, and the challenges and discoveries that await us in the next wave of human exploration in our solar system.
March 17, 2020
07: Here Be DRAGONS
In episode 7 of the GEMMA Podcast, GEMMA intern Chance Spencer interviews Data Process Developer Chris Simpson. Simpson works in the Science Users Support department at Gemini Observatory of NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory where he helps write Gemini’s new data reduction software package DRAGONS (Data Reduction for Astronomy from Gemini Observatory North and South). They discuss the advantage of DRAGONS in the coming age of time-domain astronomy as well as its benefits from the POV of an astronomer.
January 31, 2020
06: The Changing Media Landscape
In episode 6 of the GEMMA Podcast, GEMMA intern Chance Spencer interviews Joshua Chamot, Public Affairs Specialist for the National Science Foundation. They examine how the media landscape for space science has changed from the dot-com boom in the early 2000s to the decline of journalists with a science background around 2008. They also discuss the niche of passionate supporters astronomy and space sciences have captured compared to other sciences, how multi-messenger astronomy plays into the NSF’s Big 10 Ideas, and the success of the November 2019 GEMMA Summit.
January 16, 2020
05: Cosmic Perturbations & Gravitational Waves
In episode 5 of the GEMMA Podcast, GEMMA intern Chance Spencer interviews Ethan Siegel, a theoretical astrophysicist and author for the blog “Starts With A Bang” which is featured in Forbes and Medium. Starting their conversation by unravelling Olbers' Paradox, they discuss the four predictions the Big Bang model implies, Einstein's "biggest blunder", how gravitational waves can let humanity peer past the cosmic microwave background, and how the matter that we interact with everyday is only 4.9% of what makes up the universe. 
December 21, 2019
04: What is Multi-Messenger Astronomy?
In episode 4 of the GEMMA Podcast, GEMMA intern Chance Spencer interviews Ethan Siegel, a theoretical astrophysicist and author of the science blog “Starts With A Bang” featured in Forbes and Medium. In this excerpt from their discussion, they discuss what multi-messenger astronomy is and the GEMMA 2019 Communications Summit that they both attended at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) on November 7th - 8th.
December 09, 2019
03: Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov (Part III)
In part III of the 2I/Borisov series, GEMMA intern Chance Spencer interviews University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa astronomer, Dr. Jacqueline Keane. They discuss the first interstellar comet, 2I/Borisov as well as her team’s study of the first interstellar object, ‘Oumuamua.
November 28, 2019
02: Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov (Part II)
In part II of our 2I/Borisov series for the GEMMA Podcast, I interview Michał Drahus, a FUGA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Astronomical Observatory of Jagiellonian University in Poland. We discuss the timeline of his team in Poland starting with notification of the comet, how they coordinated observations with Gemini North telescope, and what they’ve learned so far from their data. Then, we discuss the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), an upcoming facility of NSF’s Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, and how it will change astronomy done by professional and amateur astronomers. Finally, we commend Gennady Borisov for discovering interstellar visitor C/2019 Q4 (AKA 2I/Borisov) with a 65 cm telescope that he built himself, his intuition to look for comets near the sun, an area that observatories avoid, and how weʻll learn a lot more about this comet as it gets brighter on its approach to the sun in the coming months.
October 31, 2019
01: Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov (Part I)
In this first episode of The GEMMA Podcast, I sit down with Gemini North Science Fellow Thomas Seccull and discuss the recent interstellar visitor (C/2019 Q4) also known as 2I/Borisov and the optical spectroscopic program that he has monitoring the comet. We discuss the timeline of how Gemini North initially responded to this target of opportunity, how the discovery of 2I/Borisov has been compared to the discovery of Pluto, the fact that there is a deadly gas emitting from the comet and the interesting history that entails, and finally whether he is optimistic about the future of comet discovery. Tune in during the following weeks for the next installments in a total of 3 interviews with astronomers who all are studying 2I/Borisov!
October 16, 2019