Space Junk

Space Junk

By OPT Telescopes
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 from DeepAstronomy.space and Dustin Gibson from OPT Telescopes, a world leader in telescopes and accessories.
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Amateur Astronomy 2018 and a Look Towards 2019 w/ Dustin and Tony

Space Junk

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Lighting Up the Night with Mack Murdoc
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.
1:07:27
March 25, 2020
Alcohol in Space w/ Chris Carberry
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.
1:01:31
March 18, 2020
Evolving a Brand w/ SkyWatcher's Jeff Simon & Kevin Legore
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.
1:04:52
March 12, 2020
Overcoming the Learning Curve with Shawn Neilsen
Shawn is a big user of Pix Insight and shares his knowledge with the rest of us in the hobby.  In this episode, Shawn shares his journey traveling the skies as an amateur astronomer.
56:42
March 4, 2020
From Your Backyard to the Cosmos with AstroBackyard's Trevor Jones
AstroBackyard stopped by the studios of OPT to discuss everything from astrophotography, philosophy and science communication
59:10
February 25, 2020
The Modern Star Party With Economics PhD EconGreg
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.  
1:04:07
February 19, 2020
The Future of Visual Astronomy with Tele Vue President David Nagler
David Nagler is back in this episode to talk about the future of visual observing and all the cool stuff going on at Tele Vue.
1:00:52
February 3, 2020
The Skies of February 2020
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.
53:19
January 28, 2020
Q and A w/ Dustin and Tony
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.
1:03:33
January 22, 2020
Looking Back at 2019 With 2020 Vision
As we say goodbye a banner year in amateur astronomy, full of new and exciting technologies and discoveries, Dustin and Tony reflect on 2019 with an eye towards 2020.
1:02:29
January 6, 2020
"The Frontline of Astrophysics with James Fanson"
The largest ground-based telescope ever is being built in Chile right now.  In this episode Dustin and Tony talk with James Fanson, the Project Manager for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).
47:25
December 17, 2019
What Do Brain Scans and Astronomy Have in Common? With Dr. Craig Stark
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.
1:03:14
December 11, 2019
Imaging the Solar System w/ Chris Go
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.  
55:00
December 3, 2019
Searching for Life with Andrew Semion from SETI
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.
1:07:05
November 25, 2019
Creating Galaxies w/ Lanchen Mihalic
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.
1:08:25
November 18, 2019
A Galaxy Far, Far Away with Jason Thomas
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.
1:02:15
November 11, 2019
Easy Astrophotography with Jimmy Nguyen
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...
1:07:35
November 4, 2019
Staring at the Sun w/ Tim Morrill
Tim Morrill is one of the foremost amateur imagers of the Sun.  In this episode, Dustin and Tony talk with him about how he got started, what equipment he uses and his techniques for processing.
56:30
October 25, 2019
Accidentally Incredible with Andrew McCarthy
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!
46:48
October 18, 2019
Keeping Space in Style with AstroAthens
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!
56:39
October 11, 2019
Engineering Opportunity with The Arabian Stargazer
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. 
59:49
October 3, 2019
Space Facts to Impress Your Friends
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.  
56:27
September 23, 2019
Paving the Way with Robert Reeves
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.
58:01
September 1, 2019
Inside SpaceX and Virgin Orbit with Bryce Allen
Dustin and Cat Machin talk with Bryce Allen of Virgin Orbit, a company that uses air launches to reach low Earth Orbit.
1:12:17
August 21, 2019
Why Astronomy Matters with Ian Lauer
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.
1:01:44
August 16, 2019
Life of a City Astronomer with Jupiter Joe
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.
1:01:35
August 7, 2019
Space Telescope Update with Sean League
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.
1:06:50
July 31, 2019
Starlink, Apollo, and SpaceFlight
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.
55:51
July 24, 2019
Paying It Forward w/ Travis Burke
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.
59:27
July 17, 2019
Educating Millions with John Michael Godier
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.
57:14
July 10, 2019
Just Do It with iDeepSpace
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.
1:07:46
June 27, 2019
Focusing In On Optec's Jeff Dickerman
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.
59:44
June 18, 2019
21st Century Astronomy with Bray Falls
In this episode, Dustin and Tony talk with Bray Falls, an advanced astrophotographer who is sharing his ideas, tips and techniques with all of us.
1:06:10
June 10, 2019
Chasing Solar Eclipses w/ Jay Pasachoff
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 .
1:09:43
June 5, 2019
Virtual Astronomy with Skylias
Once again the amazing Skylias joins the gang at Space Junk Podcast to talk about astronomy on twitch and being an astronomy communicator in this digital age.
1:09:31
May 31, 2019
The Fermi Paradox and The Great Filter w/ Fraser Cain
Time for round two with Fraser Cain from Universe Today.  In this episode, we dive into the topic of "Where is everybody?"
1:11:08
May 25, 2019
Telescopes, Balloons, and Beer with Dr. Nick Galitzki
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. 
1:43:20
May 16, 2019
High-end Astronomy with OPT's Professional Services
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.
1:08:35
May 6, 2019
PrimaLuceLab founder Filippo Bradaschia
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.
58:44
April 23, 2019
Expressing Your Space Passion w/ Cat Machin
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.
1:17:24
April 16, 2019
Space Junk Podcast Does New York City
Tony met Dustin and Ian for the first time IRL in NYC.  This episode is a preview of what we hoped to do while in the Big Apple.
54:58
April 12, 2019
Scott Roberts From Explore Scientific
Join Tony Darnell and Dustin Gibson as we talk amateur astronomy with Scott Roberts of Explore Scientific
1:09:48
April 2, 2019
Astrophotography Adventures with Galactic Hunter
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: https://www.galactic-hunter.com YouTube: https://youtube.com/GalacticHunter Instagram: @galactic.hunter
1:00:08
March 26, 2019
Astrophysics: The Worst Job in the Universe? w/ Paul Sutter
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.
1:00:55
March 19, 2019
The Universe Is Trying to Kill You w/ Phil Plait
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?
1:09:12
March 13, 2019
Beer n' Rockets with Hans Fredrick Haas
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.
1:05:56
March 7, 2019
Is Astronomy Dead? w/ Alize Shilling
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
58:31
February 27, 2019
A Winning Formula: Imaging Tips with Rogelio Bernal Andreo
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.
1:07:10
February 20, 2019
How to Make a Comeback w/ Meade President Victor Aniceto
In this episode, we talk with Victor Aniceto, president of Meade Instruments.  Learn about the challenges facing the company and the subsequent turnaround.
1:04:18
February 14, 2019
Conspiracy Theories w/ Fraser Cain
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.
1:12:11
February 5, 2019
Astronomy, Art and Morality: A Discussion w/ Ginny St. Lawrence of OPT
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! :-)
59:56
January 30, 2019
Professional Astronomy Innovation with Planewave Instruments
Our guest this week is Ralph Emerson from Planewave Instruments, makers of some of the most high-quality equipment for amateur astronomers.
1:04:17
January 23, 2019
Imaging from Time Square with Steven Swancoat
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.
1:03:42
January 16, 2019
Amateur Astronomy 2018 and a Look Towards 2019 w/ Dustin and Tony
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.
59:23
January 9, 2019
Making Money in Astronomy w/ Cathrin Machin
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.
1:04:13
January 3, 2019
Citizen Science with Pamela Gay
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.
58:52
December 28, 2018
Astronomy Outreach with Kevin Legore
Kevin Legore is an avid astronomy promoter and runs Focus Astronomy, and outreach company that works hard to spread the amazing science of astronomy.
1:01:17
December 19, 2018
Optical Innovation with Tele Vue
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.
59:08
December 10, 2018
Planetary Imaging with Blake Estes
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.
1:00:25
December 5, 2018
Women in STEM w/ Skylias
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.
1:05:43
November 26, 2018
Astro Imaging with Tim Puckett of SBIG
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.
1:00:44
November 20, 2018
SpaceFab: A Space Telescope for Everyone
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.
55:22
November 13, 2018
Travis Burke, Nat Geo Cover Photographer
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.
59:54
November 6, 2018
Looking Up: Which is Better, Visual Astronomy or Imaging?
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?
50:06
October 29, 2018