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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 and Dustin Gibson from OPT Telescopes, a world leader in telescopes and accessories.
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Radian Telescopes: Born to Solve Problems

Space Junk

The Search for the Perfect Telescope; Camera Resolution Wars - It's like magnification all over again
This episode was prompted by an email from Matt who wanted to sort out WHY different telescopes are better than others.  In this episode, I'll break down all the different telescope types and try to answer the question of why you should want one. Also, Dustin and I discuss camera resolution: why it matters, is more better and more.
March 11, 2022
Pro-Am Astronomy Collaboration; Celestron RASA and Other Wide Field Telescopes
More than any other aspect of amateur astronomy, using your equipment to get involved in professional astronomy is growing the fastest.  In this episode, we explore ways you can use your stuff to do science!  Also, Dustin and Tony talk about the advances in short-focal length telescope design and why they are amazing.
March 04, 2022
We have Little Chance of Hearing Other Civilizations; APO's vs Catadioptric Telescopes; Another Black Hole Question
We've been listening for signals from the galaxy hoping to detect another civilization out there.  What are the actual chances we'll hear anything?  Let's take a look at this paper and find out: Dustin and Tony also talk about APO refractors and catadioptric telescope systems.
February 26, 2022
How Do We Know There are Other Planets in Our Galaxy?; Picking Your First Object to Image; Tony Gets an Email!
The study of planets around other stars, exoplanets, is a brand new field, one that closely tracks my career as a software engineer in professional astronomy.  I've had the privilege to watch our knowledge about exoplanets explode: in just a few decades, we've gone from not being sure there were other planets around other stars, to knowing how many there are in our galaxy, their types and in some cases, we can guess as to whether life may be present on them. Let's talk about this as well as Dustin and I discuss what you should think about when imaging your first night sky object. Oh, and I got an email!
February 16, 2022
Black Holes - A Guided Tour; Telescope Autoguiders - What Good are They?; Update on JWST
In recent decades, our knowledge of what black holes are, how many and what types, has exploded.  Coupled with the brand-new field of gravitational wave astronomy, we are poised to learn even more.  Let's take a tour of what black holes are, the different kinds and how many of these enigmatic objects there are in our universe.
February 09, 2022
Is Earth's Magnetic Field Flipping?; Smart Telescopes; Orion The Hunter
The magnetic field of the Earth is undergoing some changes.  Scientists measuring the strength and direction have noticed a weakening of the magnetic field along with movement.  Is this something to worry about? Dustin Gibson and Tony also discuss smart telescopes along with computers designed to run imaging equipement. Winter is a great time to see Orion the Hunter, let's talk about that.
February 02, 2022
Terraforming the Moon; Building a Beginner Astrophotography Rig; Amateur Astronomer Discovers Hot Jupiter
Can we terraform the Moon?  It's a better idea than terraforming Mars believe it or not.  Dustin and Tony discuss putting together an astrophotography rig for beginners and some space news.
January 26, 2022
Narrow Band Filters: What You Need to Know
Imaging with filters can dramatically improve the signal to your camera allowing for much higher quality images.  The question of which filter to use on what object can be daunting.  Dustin and Tony dive into the topic of filters, specifically narrow band filters to give you insight on what they are, what you can get from using them and what to look for in a good filter.
January 12, 2022
Thoughts on The James Webb Space Telescope
At long last, the launch of the next big NASA flagship telescopes: JWST is ready for launch, sitting atop its rocket and awaiting good weather.  This telescope marks the pinnacle of ambition for NASA as it is doing something that has never been done before.  Launching a telescope of this size is a first for the human race and promises to bring us insights about our place in the universe like nothing that has come before. Humanity will look farther into the universe than ever and JWST, the most technically advanced and capable telescope ever built, will collect light from a time when the very first stars and galaxies were born. In this episode, Dustin and Tony talk about this amazing telescope, and we answer a listener question about getting Stellina or eVscope for an astronomy club.
December 22, 2021
All About Astronomy Filters
Using filters in amateur astronomy can be confusing, but once you get through some of the basics, they can really enhance your sessions under the stars - either visually or photographically.  In this episode, Tony and Dustin go through filter basics, what they can do for you visually and when imaging, as well as offer advice on which ones to get and why. We also go over filter wheel options and strategies for using all of this amazing optical gear.
December 01, 2021
Getting Started in Astronomy Imaging
Taking images through your telescope has never been easier.  What used to be complicated, time-consuming and expensive is now accessible to people who've never used a telescope before.  Getting started in taking pictures of the night sky is orders of magnitude simpler than it was decades ago when film reigned supreme. Now, with modest equipment budding astrophotographers can achieve amazing results right out of the gate, but navigating all that gear can be overwhelming.  In this episode of Space Junk Podcast, we'll explore strategies and gear to get you off to a roaring start taking images that will please your family, friends and all your social media followers.
November 24, 2021
Building a Backyard Observatory: What You Should Know
Building your own observatory is a great way to enhance your enjoyment of getting out under the stars.  Whether it's a simple cover for your tripod-mounted telescope, an easy to build roll off roof on a shed, or a beautiful clam-shell dome with all the bells and whistles, having an observatory can increase the amount of time using your equipment while decreasing your stress level. In this episode Dustin and Tony discuss all options for creating a personal observatory to house your equipment and offer advice and tips for making your observatory easily and with minimal mistakes.
November 17, 2021
Beginner Astronomy: Where to Go and What to Bring
It's good to be back!  To get things started again, we are talking about the beginning - the beginning of getting started in the hobby of amateur astronomy.  We've also brought some gear to check out.  The links are here: (pre-order)
November 10, 2021
Faster Than Light Phenomena and the Story of APOD w/ Robert Nemiroff
There are things we can see, supported by mathematics, that appear superluminal.  In a new book by Robert Nemiroff, we explore some of these and since the author also happens to be the co-founder of the Astronomy Picture of the Day website, well, we talk about that too!
June 22, 2021
JWST Sees More Delays; NASA Going to Venus; Jeff Bezos Tries to Win Billionaire Space Race - Astronomy News from SJP
It's no surprise, but JWST will be delayed again.  Now we're looking at a November (at the earliest) 2021 launch thanks to problems with the Ariane 5 rocket.  NASA has selected two missions to go to Venus and Jeff Bezos will get into his own rocket.
June 11, 2021
Advice for Getting Your Astronomy Images Published
Have you ever wondered what it takes to get your astrophotos into major distribution outlets?  What makes a high-quality astronomy image?  In this episode, Dustin and Tony talk with some of the best astro imagers in the world: Rogelio Bernal Andreo, Bray Falls and Chuck Ayoub and get their advice.  Listen to their stories and learn from the best.
June 02, 2021
Studying Dark Energy: Astronomers Now Have 230 Million Galaxies
The Dark Energy Survey has released it's latest catalog of over 200 million galaxies to help study dark energy.  How do they do it?  What equipment is involved?
May 29, 2021
JWST Gets Ready For Launch - Astronomy News from Space Junk Podcast
Welcome to our first segment of Astronomy News from Space Junk Podcast.  The successor to Hubble is finally getting ready for launch.  This month the mission team at Northrop Grumman are putting the final touches on the telescope and testing is almost complete.  Soon, the telescope will be placed on a ship to French Guyana where it will hopefully launch in October.
May 21, 2021
AAPOD2: Showcasing Amazing Images in Amateur Astronomy
We've all heard of the Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA, but there is another website showcasing amazing photos from the amateur community: The Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day.  Our guests Charles Lillo and Jason Matter tell us the story of how they got AAPOD going and what you can win if you submit your images for consideration!
May 17, 2021
Telescope and Observatory Automation: What You Need to Know
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?
May 05, 2021
Visualizing Space w/ NASA's Brian Day
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.
April 19, 2021
Streaming the Skies with TagBackTV
TagBackTV is a popular gaming streamer on YouTube who has incorporated his love of astrophotography into his streams, introducing a new audience to amateur astronomy
April 12, 2021
The Growing Problem of Light Pollution w/ Kelly Beatty
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.
April 05, 2021
Alcohol in Space and Going to Mars w/ Chris Carberry
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.
March 29, 2021
Shooting the Moon w/ Lunar Expert Robert Reeves
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:
March 22, 2021
Backyard Professional Astronomy w/ Asteroid Hunters
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.
March 15, 2021
Meet the Next Generation of Amateur Astronomers
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.
March 08, 2021
Don Pettit: The Adventures of an American Astronaut & Amateur Astronomer
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.
March 01, 2021
AstroBin w/ Salvatore Iovene: A New Website Dedicated to Astrophotography
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.
February 22, 2021
Using Passion for the Stars to Improve Science Literacy w/ Rachel Freed
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.
February 15, 2021
The Language of Astronomy w/ Brian Fulda
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!
February 09, 2021
What's It Like to Work In Professional Astronomy?
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.
February 01, 2021
Beginners Guide to Your New Telescope
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.
January 25, 2021
The End of 2020!
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.
January 01, 2021
Scanning the Skies with Molly Wakeling
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.
December 23, 2020
Primaluce's Tom Bramwell: The Astronomer Next Door
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.
December 14, 2020
The Great Binocular Episode
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.
November 24, 2020
All About Telescope Mounts
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.
November 05, 2020
All About the Radian Raptor 61 APO Refractor w/ Astrobackyard
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.
October 29, 2020
Observing Solar Max w/ Lunt Solar Telescopes
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.
October 05, 2020
Wide Field Telescopes w/ David Rowe
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!
October 01, 2020
Ultimate Astro-Camera Episode Pt 2
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.
September 21, 2020
Ultimate Astro-Camera Episode Pt 1
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!
September 07, 2020
Stellina and eVscope: A New Class of Telescopes for Amateur Astronomy
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.
August 28, 2020
Amateur Astronomers, Professional Results: Tracking NEO's w/ Asteroid_Hunters
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.
August 18, 2020
The Lure of Astronomy w/ Abigail Bollenbach
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.
August 11, 2020
Radian Telescopes: Born to Solve Problems
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.
July 29, 2020
Mars: The Worst Place to Live w/ Fraser Cain
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.
June 27, 2020
Finding Life on Other Planets With Astrobiologist Graham Lau
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!
June 17, 2020
Questioning Reality - The Philosophy of Astronomy
This week Dustin and Tony go deep and talk about the nature of reality, what knowledge is and how we can colonize the stars.  
June 05, 2020
Reaching for the Sky with Skye Schwartz
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.
May 27, 2020
Installing HUGE Telescopes with Matt Dieterich
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.
May 13, 2020
Jumping Into DSLR Astrophotography with Nico Carver
There are so many ways to get into astrophotography!  Nico Carver is primarily interested in imaging nebulae and uses simple equipment, join us to learn all about getting started
April 29, 2020
Social Distancing with the Space Junk Podcast
The show must go on!  Tony and Dustin are back talking about all the latest stuff happening at OPT, Deep Astronomy and our new social media endeavors.  
April 09, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
March 04, 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
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.  
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.
February 03, 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.
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.
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.
January 06, 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).
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.
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.  
December 03, 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.
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.
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.
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...
November 04, 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.
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!
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!
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. 
October 03, 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.  
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.
September 01, 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.
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.
August 16, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
June 05, 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.
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?"
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. 
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.
May 06, 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.
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.
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.
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
April 02, 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: YouTube: Instagram: @galactic.hunter
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.
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?
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.
March 07, 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
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.
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.
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.
February 05, 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! :-)
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.
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.
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.
January 09, 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.
January 03, 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.
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.
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.
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.
December 05, 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.
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.
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.
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.
November 06, 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?
October 29, 2018