Space Junk is a weekly podcast dedicated to the amazing hobby of amateur astronomy. Each week we’ll answer your questions and bring you the latest information and advice on the tools, gadgets, software and techniques for maximizing your enjoyment of the night sky. Your hosts are Tony Darnell fromDeepAstronomy.space and Dustin Gibson from OPT Telescopes, a world leader in telescopes and accessories.
Automating an observing run is one of the most efficient uses of your equipment. You can plan the night's observing, then let your equipment do the work! But what do you need to make this possible? What can you expect for results?
NASA has always excelled at helping us visualize the Cosmos. Brian Day works at the Solar System Exploration Research Institute, one of the premier groups at NASA that use data from a variety of space probes, telescopes and observatories from around the world to enable us to explore solar system objects like the Moon, Titan, Mercury and more.
What better way to commemorate International Dark Sky Week than by talking with Kelly Beatty, a former editor of Sky and Telescope Magazine and light pollution activist. He tells us how big an issue our disappearing dark skies are, his thoughts on the new Starlink constellation of satellites from SpaceX and what we can all do to help combat the lightening of our night.
We have limited information about the effects of alcohol in space, but there's no doubt that it is a very important cultural feature for many of us. Chris Carberry, the CEO of Explore Mars and author of "Alcohol in Space" joins us to talk about the role alcohol can play, if not in space survivability, then at least in coping with space travel.
We also discuss the latest efforts to get to Mars and whether we can get there by the 2030's.
Taking high quality images of our nearest celestial neighbor is harder than you think. Luckily we've brought Robert Reeves back to our podcast to help you take the best possible images of the moon. He's also shared a lot of high quality images of his own in the link below:
One of the most important activities that professional astronomers are engaged in is looking for objects out there that might hit the Earth and in THAT task, they can use all the help they can get. With today's amateur equipment it is now possible to engage in professional-level sky searches for asteroids that help keep tabs on all the big rocks out in the solar system, some of which are potentially hazardous to us. Mike Forslund, aka Asteroid Hunters has set up an automated system in his driveway that assists astronomers in locating and tracking asteroids. In this episode, Mike updates us on what's changed for him (turns out it's a lot!) since our last time together.
Arelius Mitty and Griffin Haisman are two young amateurs just getting started in our exciting hobby. Both have worked closely with Dustin to produce some of the most amazing images we've ever seen. In this episode we dive into what got them interested in the hobby as well as some insights into what barriers they faced. We also look into the future of these two talented young imagers.
Don Pettit is a chemical engineer from Silverton, Oregon who also happens to be an astronaut! An avid amateur astronomer, he is a veteran of three flights into space: once on a space shuttle flight, and two more aboard the ISS where he logged more than six months in space. Don brings his expertise and interest in amateur astronomy to everything he does, including conducting some observations from orbit and as the oldest active NASA astronaut, has a lot of wisdom and experience to share.
Astrobin was created as a labor of love with the goal of providing context to astro images that astrophotographers could appreciate and use. Salvatore Lovene, the founder and creator of this resource joins us to talk about why he started the project and how it will serve the astrophotography community.
Passion for anything is a powerful motivator, our guest today channels our innate passion for our place in the universe as a driver to improve science education and literacy. Rachel Freed is an avid amateur astronomer, professional scientist and educator who is dedicating herself to improving education using astronomy.
I can't tell you how many times I get called out calling The Big Dipper a constellation. "It's not a constellation, it's an ASTERISM!" OK, fine. So, what's the difference? Listen to this podcast to find out!
Josh Walawender is a staff astronomer at Keck Observatory and joins Dustin and Tony to give us some insights into working at a leading astronomical facility. Josh is also involved in Project Panoptes, a citizen science initiative that makes the hunt for planets around other stars accessible to amateur astronomers.
Did you get some new gear for the holidays? Are you just starting out in this great hobby? Then this episode is for you. Dustin and Tony are joined by Brian Fulda, an instructor at OPT University, to discuss how to get started with your new scope and how to overcome some common hurdles that beginners sometimes face.
As I post this episode, we are two hours away from midnight Eastern Time. I for one, will be glad to see this year go. In this episode, Dustin and Tony talk about the year just past and what's ahead for 2021 in our wonderful hobby.
Molly Wakeling, aka AstronoMolly has only been imaging for five years and in that short time has made a name for herself in the astro-imaging world. In addition to her studies as a graduate student in physics, she is also actively involved in science communication.
Tom Bramwell is the Director of Operations in the U.S. for Prima Luce Lab and joins us to talk about his journey into amateur astronomy and his move from Apple to Prima Luce Labs. We streamed this recording live and have included some of your questions and comments.
Binoculars are a great way to get introduced into the hobby of amateur astronomy. In addition to being useful for other activities like bird watching, sporting events and any outdoor activity, they are also amazing tools for looking up into the night sky. Dustin and Tony discuss using binoculars to get acquainted with our amazing hobby and we'll teach you about many of the particulars of binocular characteristics.
Tripods, fork arms, equatorial, polar aligning... what does all this mean and what do you need to know when buying a telescope? Telescope mounts are a critical component and Dustin and Tony de-mystify all of this for you.
Radian Telescopes is releasing a new APO refractor designed for imaging that will change the way astrophotography is done. Small, lightweight and with high quality optics, the Radian Raptor 61 is poised to make a real difference in your wide field imaging.
In this episode, Dustin and Trevor go through the design concepts and testing to make this telescope easy to use and enable you to get good results on your first night out astro imaging.
Observing the Sun through proper solar filters has never been better - or cheaper. Amateurs have within their grasp solar filters and telescopes that allow us to see detail and activity on the Sun previously available only to professionals. In this episode, Dustin and Tony discuss getting into solar observations and imaging with Fay Roman, Ben Lombard and Brian Stephens - the team at Lunt Solar Systems that bring high quality solar gear to you.
David Rowe's optical designs are in some of the best telescopes available to amateur astronomers today. He designed the Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK), a telescope that allows unprecedented wide-field images; he is also the 'R' in the RASA telesccope from Celestron. Listen to Dave's story in today's episode!
In this episode, Dustin and Tony continue their discussion of astro-imaging cameras, specifically, which ones are best for different types of imaging. Whether you want to take wide-field space scapes, high magnification planetary images, or deep sky objects, we'll cover all of that and more.
Today's astronomy camera selection is amazing, comprehensive and overwhelming! The imaging capabilities manufacturers make available at amateurs has never been more sophisticated. Nowadays, you can do virtually any night sky imaging you can imagine with off-the-shelf equipment. This selection is a double-edged sword though, because while you can do anything and everything these days, knowing where to start can be challenging - and expensive.
This mini-series of episodes features all you'll ever need to know about about cameras used for imaging the night sky. Dustin and Tony will dive deep, using their extensive knowledge base gathered from years of experience to help you get your bearings in this bewildering topic. Please reach out and let us know what you think!
Thanks to advances in sensors, software and the implementation of the smartphone, amateur astronomy as a hobby is under going a renaissance. Complete beginners can now enter the hobby and capture amazing views of the night sky faster and share them with the world easier. This new class of telescopes also helps the visual observer overcome the inexorable loss of our dark skies due to light pollution. In this episode, Dustin and Tony discuss their experiences using both telescopes and Dustin also provides some background on the Celestron Starsense accessory for the NexStar line of telescopes.
We are lucky enough to live in a time when amateur astronomers using off-the-shelf equipment can make meaningful contributions to professional astronomy. Advances in equipment, detectors and software allow anyone with the interest, to track asteroids, comets and even measure exoplanet light curves. In this episode, we talk with this new breed of amateur who, from his garage observatory, is helping NASA track asteroids.
How old were you when you first got interested in space and astronomy? What did you do to pursue that interest? In this episode we meet Abigail Bollenbach, a young student just starting out in our hobby who has jumped in with both feet. When she's not giving presentations at her local astronomy club in Oklahoma or creating planetarium shows, she can be found creating astronomy videos with Astronomy Magazine.
In this episode, she tells Tony and Dustin her story of adventure in exploring space and the universe.
Radian Telescopes is a new company founded by OPT that strives to solve problems of amateur astronomy. Driven to identifying needs and meeting them with high-quality hardware, Radian is a company all amateur astronomers need to know about. In this episode, Dustin tells the story of how the company started, its values and what's coming in the future.
Does Mars have the most overpriced real estate ever? While going to Mars would be great from a scientific standpoint, would you really want to live there? Should we go to Mars? Fraser Cain joins us for the third in a series of episodes discussing life in the universe.
What is life? Where should we look for it outside of Earth? Is life common or rare? These questions and many more are the daily job of Graham Lau, an astrobiologist who has joined us for this episode of Space Junk!
Skye Schwartz has a remarkable story to tell, one filled with obstacles overcome and dreams coming into focus. Skye shares these stories with Tony and Dustin in this episode and we hope you'll find her as amazing as we did.
Our guest in this episode works for Planewave Instruments and travels the globe instaling the meter-class telescopes they produce in some of the most amazing locales. Learn all about his experiences and we take some of your questions from our first-ever live stream of the podcast recording.
Mack Murdoc is an astrophotographer and light artist who combines his talents to create stunning visuals. In this episode, Mack sits down with Dustin in the studio to talk about how he creates his art.
Chris Carberry is CEO and co-founder of Explore Mars, Inc. a nonprofit which was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. The organization also encourages the use of STEM curriculum in the classroom to instill a desire to pursue space exploration for future generations.
Chris is also the author of a new book, "Alcohol in Space", a fascinating look at the effects of alcohol on astronauts and its role in culture as it relates to space exploration.
Skywatcher is a company that is very familiar to amateur astronomers and this episode offers a great chance to learn more about this company! Please join Dustin Gibson and Tony Darnell as they discuss Skywatcher with Jeff Simon and Kevin Legore.
Rising Twitch streamer EconGreg joins us this week to talk about his amazing community and efforts to stream observing session live from his equipment. Greg's day job is professor of Economics and he uses Twitch in his professional education efforts as well.
So you're new to the night sky and want to know the coolest things you should look at on these cold winter evenings? Wait no further because the answer to your questions are in this episode. Join Dustin and Tony as they talk about what's up this month, what you need to image or observe these amazing objects and, as always, lots more.
This episode features feedback from you, our audience! Dustin and Tony discuss everything from how to be an astronomer to what damage the Starlink satellites are going to do to our night skies. Please reach out with more questions and comments so we can do more episodes like this.
Craig Stark is a neuroscientist who has taken his experience with imaging brains to the skies. The developer of the popular astronomy programs Nebulosity and PHD, he talks with Dustin about neuroscience, astrophotography, processing and more.
One of the most satisfying activities in astro imaging is getting high quality, high contrast images of the planets in our own solar system. The bands and Great Red Spot of Jupiter, the wondrous rings of Saturn and the challenging dark spots of Neptune are now in the grasp of amateurs using off the shelf equipment. In this episode we talk with Christopher Go, an amateur from the Philippines who has master many planetary imaging techniques to create stunning images of the planets.
What are our latest effort with regard to listening for and otherwise searching for life in the universe? Andrew Semion from the SETI Institute joins us to talk about some of our tools on the forefront of the search, like the Allen Telescope Array, and we also talk about what we think we'll find, if anything.
Understanding galaxies and how they form is hard enough for most astronomers, but have you ever tried to create one? Space artist Lanchen Mihalic tells us how she creates galaxies from resin, an art medium that inspires her to make some of the most stunning images of galaxies and our night sky.
Jason Thomas is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan who uses his passion as a bridge to enjoy astronomy. In this episode, Tony and Dustin talk with Jason about some of his adventures in a galaxy far, far away. Please note some of this language is adult in nature, listener discretion is advised.
Astrophotography is an amazing hobby, but it's also full of very busy work: setting up, focusing and aligning telescopes, taking calibration images, finding dark skies, all of this is very time consuming. In today's episode, we talk with astrophotographer Jimmy Nguyen who takes a simple approach both to his equipment choices and his methodology. Keeping it simple, with Jimmy Nguyen...
This week's episode features astrophotographer and outstanding Moon imager Andrew McCarthy. He's been imaging the Moon, planets and deep sky objects for many years, but is known as the "Moon Guy" on his @cosmic_background account on Instagram.
Listen to his story and get his imaging secrets and advice in this week's episode!
Athena Brensberger, aka @AstroAthens, is a model and science communicator. She embarked on her modelling career while she was a researcher at the Hayden Planetarium studying proto-planetary disks, the embryos of solar systems around other stars.
As her modelling career advances, she also uses her platform to communicate one of her passions: astronomy. Her Instagram account has hundreds of thousands of followers and her YouTube channel garners thousands of views. In this episode Dustin and Tony talk with Athena about everything from modelling, astrophysicists in fashion and how she approaches communicating to her audience, many of whom may not be aware of how great space is!
Diana Alsindy, "The Arabian Stargazer" is an Iraqi immigrant whose love of science and engineering is contagious. In this episode, Diana shares her passion for space and engineering as well as her dream to start space camps in the middle east.
We spend a lot of time looking up at the night sky with our telescopes and every once in a while, it's great to take a moment to wonder aloud at some of the amazing things going on up there "behind the image in the eyepiece". In this episode, Dustin, Tony and OPT Telescope Tech Shawna Sullivan take some time to talk about some of the things going on up there that are particularly impressive.
Robert Reeves is an author, amateur astronomer and astrophotographer. Over his long career he has many interesting stories to tell and Dustin and Tony sat down to discuss some of the more interesting things he's done, including shining bright lights and lasers at the ISS for his astronaut friend, Don Petitt to see.
Because you're a Space Junk Podcast listener, you know astronomy matters but we want to tell you why WE think it does. OPT's Ian Lauer joins us for opinions and discussion on why we think astronomy matters and makes our lives better.
Jupiter Joe is amazing and inspiring. He travels the streets of New York City and surrounding areas introducing people to the night sky. Dustin and Tony talked with this amateur astronomer whose love of the sky is contagious.
What's the latest with the "space telescope for everyone"? SpaceFab is building a space telescope using Cubesats and special technology that will allow everyone access to imaging from space. SpaceFab CEO Sean League joins us to talk about the latest on this exciting program.
This episode is just Tony and Dustin, getting some alone time to talk about stuff that's on their mind. We talked about the Apollo 11 anniversary and what it means to each of us, and whether our night sky is in danger of losing good astro-imaging because of thousands of new satellites being planned by SpaceX, Amazon and Facebook. Also, getting ready to travel in the coming months and would like to hear from you about places to go.
Most of us are amateur astronomers in part because we are curious about the heavens and want to connect directly with the stars. We stare through eyepieces, open our camera shutters, and process our images with the goal of uncovering the beauty of the cosmos for ourselves. It often evokes an emotional response and a desire to share the night sky with others. Today we discuss what all of this means to us and Travis Burke, a professional adventure photographer joins in the discussion.
In this episode we are going to be talking with John Michael Godier, a futurist, science fiction author and maker of amazing astronomy videos on YouTube. He has written several sci fi books that are available on Amazon, notably Supermind, a story that deals with biological augmentation and supercomputer simulations of the universe. He also runs two highly successful YouTube channels: one bearing his name, John Michael Godier, where every video he makes garners tens of thousands of views - and sometimes way more than that - with range in topics from life in the universe to going to Mars. His second YouTube channel is a collaboration called Event Horizon where each Thursday a new topic reflecting the latest research in astronomy and cosmology is discussed with professionals in the field. John is an expert on astronomy education for the masses, and he sat down with us to give us a little insight on what it’s like to fight the battles of a science communicator in today’s world.
This episode features one of the best astrophotographers around: iDeepSpace. From his home in Tampa, FL, Jeremiah takes some of the most breathtaking images we've ever seen. He's been features on many APODs and feeds from all over the internet. Listen in to this week's episode to learn more about iDeepSpace and how he takes his images.
One of the most challenging aspects of astro imaging with todays wonderful telescopes and cameras is focusing. While your GOTO telescope can easily zero in on obscure, faint nebulae and galaxies and your camera can take breathtaking high-contrast images, nothing happens without good focus. In this episode, we talk with Jeff Dickerman from Optic Inc, a company that makes wonderful automatic focusers and more.
What's it like to go to a solar eclipse? What equipment should you use? How can you image during an eclipse? What are the various wavelengths available for solar observing? All of these questions and more are revealed in our conversation with Dr. Jay Pasachoff, solar astronomers and Chair, International Astronomical Union Working Group on Solar Eclipses .
What happens when a cosmologist, a local brewery and amateur astronomers all get together? This episode! Dr. Nick Galitzki, a cosmologist working with balloons in Antarctica to study the large scale structure of the universe, talks with the Space Junk crew over a few beers.
Learn more about Dustin that you've probably ever wanted in this candid and funny episode discussing behind the scenes stuff that goes on at OPT and learn how they meet the needs of the professional astronomy community at the same time.
PrimaLuceLabs is breaking new ground in amateur astronomy by offering some of the first off-the-shelf radio astronomy solutions along with revolutionary electronics to make your optical observing life easier. In this episode, Tony and Dustin talk with Filippo Bradaschia, the founder of Prima Luce Labs.
Cat Machin is in town and talking with Dustin and Tony, picking up where we left off last time in discussing all the ways your passion of space and the cosmos can be expressed and we get a little philosophical about what it all means.
In this episode of Space Junk, we discuss astrophotography with a husband/wife team from the American southwest whose work is rapidly gaining notice. Antoine and Dalia Grelin starting taking astro photos around five years ago and haven't looked back. Their work is featured in many places and they have a YouTube channel full of excellent tutorials on getting stuff done in astrophotography.
Check out their website here:
Astronomer and science communicator Paul Sutter joins the Space Junk crew to talk about the worst job in the universe: stealing tidbits of information from a universe that is very stingy with its secrets. Tony and Dustin discuss what it's like to be a professional astronomer using some of the best equipment from around the globe.
This week we talk with the Bad Astronomer himself and discuss a wide range of issues that deal with just how dangerous a place the universe is. What are some of the biggest threats from the sky that face humanity? Should we be worried?
Near OPT Telescopes HQ, there is a great brewery: Wavelength Brewing Co that is a great place to hang out if you're a science nerd. Every Friday they offer science talks on all sorts of topics and if you're in the area, you have to check 'em out. In this episode, Tony and Dustin talk with the owner of Wavelength Brewing Co about all kinds of space junk.
We've all heard this before: what's so great about astronomy? Why do I have to know about stuff I'm never gonna be able to go see? Why is this stuff important? This week, we discuss this and much more with Alize Shilling from OPT Telescopes
Rogelio Bernal Andreo is one to the foremost astrophotographers and in this episode, he tells the story of his journey to becoming featured on APOD, Nat Geo and many other media outlets. Tune in and learn how to take better astrophotos from one of the masters.
When it comes to end of the world theories, NASA conspiracies or astronomy hoaxes Fraser has seen or heard them all. This episode picks apart those ideas and we talk about whether anything should or could be done to combat them.
This episode features a great discussion on what astronomy means to us and how it influences our lives. The study and enjoyment of the night sky affects us in ways we don't often think about... in this episode, we think about it! :-)
While it's true that we are losing our dark skies, not all is lost. It is still possible to not only see the stars using a telescope from some of the most light-polluted areas in the world, but we can also take images of the night sky.
Our guest this week, Dr. Steven Swancoat, an OB-Gyn, artist and astrophotographer, describes how he images from places like Times Square with Dustin Gibson.
I think we all realize just what a great time it is to be involved in amateur astronomy: gaining access to the stars has never been easier. The equipment available to image the night sky is easier to use and extremely affordable.
In this episode, Dustin and Tony discuss the high points of 2018 and look ahead to what's in store for 2019.
Lots of people think that to get paid to study or enjoy the universe takes a huge amount of education, maths, and a lifelong dedication to research. The thing is that's just not true. In this podcast Tony and Dustin talk with Cathrin Machin, a space artist making her dreams come true by bringing space to everyone. Listen to her story and we'll also give you some great tips for making money from your passion of the night sky.
Advances in technology and communication have brought the world of professional science to the rest of us. With initiatives like Galaxy Zoo and CosmoQuest, the interested public can get involved in producing scientific results that are often a crucial component in a scientific paper or a new discovery.
In this episode, Tony Darnell and Dustin Gibson discuss the growing importance of citizen science and we'll talk about CosmoQuest, a citizen science initiative started in 2012 that has faced budget cuts and needs your help.
David Nagler, President of Televue Optics is our guest on this episode. Join us as we explore the optical innovations heralded by Televue and Al Nagler, founder of the company. David outlines how Televue got started and we explore the details of some of the best eyepieces and telescopes in the world of amateur astronomy.
Blake Estes is one of the world's premier planetary imagers. He also works as a telescope operator at the Mount Wilson and Griffith Observatories in California.
In this episode Dustin Gibson and Tony Darnell discuss the intricacies of planetary imaging and get the inside scoop on what it's like to work at two of the most important observatories in the United States.
We live in an era where women are increasingly making inroads in a variety of professions that were previously dominated by males. What about STEM fields? Are more women getting into science and math? Join us for today's discussion with Twitch science streamer Skylias as she tells us her story and discusses her research into this topic.
If you are interested in imaging with your telescope, then you'll want to listen to what Tim Puckett, long time astro-imager has to say. In this episode, Tony Darnell and Dustin Gibson talk with Tim about the how to start taking images as well as advice for those who have been doing it for a while.
SpaceFab is a company that is currently building a 8 inch space telescope built around a 12U Cubesat. Scheduled for launch in 2020, this space telescope will be made available to everyone. There are plans to launch a network of these space telescopes to be used for everything from taking selfies and taking your own pics of the early universe to looking at your property from space.
Join us as Tony Darnell and Dustin Gibson discuss this amazing opportunity with Sean League, the Director of Spacecraft Development at SpaceFab.
What's it like to be an outdoor adventure photographer? This podcast episode features Travis Burke, a professional who has traveled the world taking pictures of some of the most amazing places on the planet Earth. We discuss one of his most famous images: a blood super moon with human figures in the foreground, all of it real, no Photoshop. Travis also tells us what it's like for him to get started in astrophotography.
Welcome to Space Junk, a new podcast dedicated to the joys of the night sky. Tony Darnell from Deep Astronomy and Dustin Gibson from OPT Telescopes have teamed together to bring you a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the amazing hobby of amateur astronomy. Today's topic: visual observing or imaging, which is it?