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Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion

Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion

By The Cosmic Companion
The latest astronomy and space news from around the world. PLUS casual interviews with astronomers and other scientists seeking to understand the cosmos. All delivered in an easy-to-understand style with a dash of humor.
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Interview with Dr. Thea Kozakis of the Carl Sagan Institute - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast May 19, 2020

Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion

Interview with Dr. Thea Kozakis of the Carl Sagan Institute - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast May 19, 2020

Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion

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Kilonova Explosions and Magnetars - Dr. Wen-fai Fong interview - The Cosmic Companion Nov. 24, 2020
This week, we welcome Wen-fai Fong of Northwestern University to the  show, talking about her work studying kilonova explosions and collisions  of neutron stars.   But first, we will look at new findings showing the Universe is getting  hotter, and we will examine the mysterious Blue Ring Nebula. Next, we  will journey back in time to the ancient solar system, when a massive  megaflood ravished the surface of Mars. Finally, we will bid a sad  farewell to one of the greatest telescopes in the world, as the Arecibo radio Telescope is slated for demolition.   Watch the video version of this episode: https://youtu.be/sqYE1AX-E9A Please subscribe to this podcast for weekly episodes. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit https://thecosmiccompanion.net or http://thecosmiccompanion.com.
26:40
November 24, 2020
Designing Soil for Farming on Mars - Laura Fackrell Unv. of GA - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Nov. 10, 2020
This week, we welcome Laura Fackrell, geochemist at the University of  Georgia, to the show. We will be discussing her work developing soil for  farms on Mars, capable of growing crops to feed interplanetary  colonists. We will also journey out beyond our solar system, where Voyager 2 hears from NASA for the first time in months. We examine a tiny asteroid  traveling through space along with Mars that is a near-perfect geological match for our Moon. Finally, we will explore the Solar System from our own back yards, as all seven planets visible in the sky can be seen this week from most places on Earth.
27:54
November 10, 2020
See All Seven Planets in the Night Sky This Week! - The Cosmic Companion Week of Nov. 9, 2020
Amateur astronomers have a rare treat this week, as all seven planets  visible in the sky can be observed over the course of a single night.  Here's how to find every planet in the sky visible to amateur  astronomers any night this week.    Subscribe to this channel and never miss a story!
04:55
November 8, 2020
Modeling the Cosmic Web - Dr. Oskar Elek UC Santa Cruz - The Cosmic Companion Nov. 3, 2020
This week, we are joined by Dr. Oskar Elek from the University of  California, Santa Cruz. We will be discussing his work seeking to  understand the Cosmic Web – the largest structures in the Universe –  through computer modeling and humble slime mold.    We'll also take a look at the future of farming on Mars, as a new study  examines how to turn Martian topsoil into a fertile growing medium for  Martian colonists of the future. We will examine the origin of water on  planets, and find clues to the chemistry of the early Solar System in a  Martian meteorite. And, in the dark recesses of the early solar system,  we see an ancient ice planet that may have forever shaped our family of  planets before heading out to the void of space.
29:30
November 3, 2020
Water on the Moon - And it's not Just in the Shadows! - Astronomy News with the Cosmic Companion Special Report Oct. 27, 2020
Water on the Moon has been seen before in dark craters. Now, a new study finds water in a crater exposed to sunlight. We explore the finding, and SOFIA - the airborne telescope that made the discovery.  Learn more at https://thecosmiccompanion.net/water-on-the-moon-isnt-just-hiding-in-the-shadows
06:59
October 27, 2020
Looking at Betelgeuse in a New Light - Dr. Meridith Joyce ANU - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion October 27, 2020
Dr. Meridith Joyce of Australian National University joins us on the  show, talking about her new finding showing that the red giant star Betelgeuse is both smaller and closer than we believed.    We'll also take a look at the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which touched down  last week on the surface of the asteroid Bennu. We examine a  new study identifying 1,000 worlds where extraterrestrial astronomers  could – theoretically –  easily see signs of life on Earth. Also, one  exoplanet the size of Neptune is found orbiting far too close to its  parent star. And we take a look at findings from the ALMA network of  radio telescopes, revealing the role volcanoes play in forming the  atmosphere of Io, one of the largest moons of Jupiter.
21:34
October 27, 2020
Roberto Gilli - Finding Six Galaxies Orbiting an Ancient Black Hole - The Cosmic Companion October 20, 2020
This week, we are joined by Dr. Roberto Gilli from the National  Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, speaking with us from Italy.  We will talk about his recent discovery of six galaxies huddled around a  supermassive black hole in the early Universe.    But first, we take a look at the massive red giant star Betelgeuse,  finding it's not as big –or as close to exploding – as we thought.  Speaking of exploding stars (because, why not?) we take a look at a pair  of massive stars doomed to end their lives in a dramatic fashion. And,  we will take a look up at our night sky, and learn how to see a meteor  shower happening this week.
24:57
October 20, 2020
What's the Glitter Around the Black Hole in M87? - Maciek Wielgus - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Oct. 13, 2020
This week, we are joined by Dr. Maciek Wielgus, astronomer at Harvard  University, speaking to us from Gdansk, Poland. We will discuss his work  revealing glittering around the supermassive black hole at the center  of the M 87 galaxy. But first, we look at a new study identifying 24 exoplanets that appear  to be even friendlier to life than Earth. We also see how superflares –  powerful eruptions from stars – behave, and learn how they might affect  life on other worlds. Then, we take a look at OSIRIS-REx, NASA's first  attempt to collect material from an asteroid, as the revolutionary  spacecraft readies to touch the surface of the asteroid Bennu.
24:19
October 13, 2020
Amanda Karakas and Chiaki Kobayashi - All the Gold in the Universe - Astronomy News with the Cosmic Companion Oct 6, 2020
This is a very special global episode on Astronomy News with The Cosmic  Companion, as we talk with Dr. Amanda Karakas of Monash University,  speaking from Melbourne, Australia, as well as Dr. Chiaki Kobayashi,  from the University of Hertfordshire, joining us from London. These  researchers were at the heart of the new study showing how much of the  gold in the Universe was produced by a particular type of supernova  explosion.   But first, we examine a stunning glitter seen around a supermassive  black hole. We also journey to Mars, where the Mars Express Orbiter  finds three more salty lakes beneath the surface of that world. The Red  Planet is also an easy find in the sky this week, and we will take a  look at how to find it. We will also journey back in time, where (and  when!) we will see six galaxies huddling around an ancient quasar, and  learn how the largest structures in the Universe were formed.
25:07
October 6, 2020
Six Galaxies Seen Orbiting Ancient Black Hole - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Special Report
Astronomers recently found six galaxies orbiting a distant quasar from  the early age of the Universe. What can this tell us about the formation  of supermassive black holes? Dr. Roberto Gilli from the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy will join us October 20 to talk about this discovery.  
07:12
October 2, 2020
Can We Find Alien Life from Phosphorus? Natalie Hinkel SwRI - The Cosmic Companion Sept. 22, 2020
This week, we are joined by Dr. Natalie Hinkel, planetary astrophysicist  at the Southwest Research Institute. We will talk about her work showing how we might look for phosphorus around other stars in the  search for extraterrestrial life.   We will also talk about the discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus, and what that means in the search for life on other worlds. We will learn about a new study showing how much of the gold in the  Universe was formed, and we take an in-depth look at how phosphorus in  the space around stars could help astronomers find life on planets in  nearby solar systems.
26:42
September 22, 2020
Intermediate-Mass Black Holes and Gravitational Waves - Christopher Berry, NW Unv., Unv. of Glasgow - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Sept. 15, 2020
This week, we welcome Dr. Christopher Berry to the show. He is an astrophysicist who recently helped discover the first intermediate-mass black hole ever seen by astronomers. We will also look at an ancient galaxy that looks normal, and talk about why that's so  unusual. We learn of an active environment around the asteroid Bennu, and we see how our ideas of dark matter may change, due to an unexpected bending of light. Video version of this episode: https://youtu.be/vMGk_k93IKA
32:38
September 15, 2020
Is Life on Mars Hidden Underground? Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Sept. 8, 2020
This week, we welcome Dr. Dimitra Atri to the show. He is an astrophysicist from New York University Abu Dhabi, and we will be discussing his work showing how life might survive just beneath the surface of Mars, aided by galactic cosmic rays. We will also look at how astronomers found a type of black hole they always expected to find as well as one thought impossible. We examine the most detailed images ever recorded of the Sun, taken by astronomers at Europe's largest solar telescope. Lastly, we will journey to the Moon, where investigators recently found hematite – a mineral which forms from water and free oxygen – both of which are rare on the lunar surface.
24:40
September 8, 2020
Did a Supernova Cause the Devonian Extinction? Brian Fields of the Unv. of Illinois - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Sept. 1, 2020
This week, we are joined by Dr. Brian Fields of the University of Illinois. He recently headed a study showing how the Devonian extinction which took place on Earth 359 million years ago, may have been triggered by the supernova explosion of a nearby star. We also look at a new experiment showing how life might survive a trip aboard an asteroid traveling from Mars to Earth, and we discuss new ideas showing how Earth may have been a water world since soon after its formation. Finally, we gaze out to the nearby galaxy, Andromeda, as the Hubble Space Telescope reveals a massive halo of ionized gas surrounding the massive collection of stars.
27:18
September 1, 2020
Why Did Betelgeuse Dim? Andrea Dupree Center for Astrophysics - Astronomy News w/ The Cosmic Companion 08/25/20
This week, we are joined by Dr. Andrea Dupree, senior astrophysicist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She recently carried out a study showing why the red supergiant star Betelgeuse recently dimmed, a sight seen by millions of amateur astronomers worldwide. We also look at how the development of life on Earth may have been shaped by a nearby supernova explosion, and we take a look at a new study suggesting the Sun may have once had a stellar companion, with whom it was born billions of years ago. Meanwhile, NASA charges batteries on the first helicopter ever headed to another planet.
23:54
August 25, 2020
Did the Sun Have a Twin? - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Special Report Aug 20, 2020
A twin star of the Sun, formed billions of years ago as the Solar System took shape, might help explain movements of bodies at the outer reaches of our family of planets, researchers suggest. Astronomers from The Center for Astrophysics believe that if a ninth planet is discovered beyond the orbit of Pluto, its movements could help us better understand how the Sun and our planetary neighborhood formed billions of years in the past.
04:58
August 20, 2020
Using Hubble to Look at Earth - Allison Youngblood UC Boulder - Astronomy News w/ The Cosmic Companion 08/18/20
This week, we are joined by Dr. Allison Youngblood of the University of Colorado Boulder. She recently used the Hubble Space Telescope to look at the atmosphere of Earth during a lunar eclipse, testing methods to find life on other worlds. In addition, we talk with Professor Jane Charlton of Penn State University about last week's virtual Astrofest. Also on this episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we take a look at the lone dwarf planet in the inner solar system, Ceres, as new evidence comes to light revealing a vast ocean beneath its frozen surface. We will learn about a possible answer to the great mystery of why the star Betelgeuse recently dimmed for several months, and talk about the Perseid meteor shower and spotting shooting stars in the late summer skies. Video version of this episode: https://youtu.be/CjmO0vV_9_k
27:15
August 18, 2020
Interview with Steven D'Hondt on finding 100-million-year-old life - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast Aug. 11, 2020
Hello everyone: This week, we are joined by Dr. Steven D'Hondt of the University of Rhode Island. He recently co-led a study reviving microorganisms that laid dormant under the ocean floor for over 100 million years. His work could re-write much of what we know about life.Also in this episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we take a look at the discovery of a world much like Saturn orbiting a nearby star, and we see how storms on Jupiter alter the atmosphere of the largest planet in our solar system. Finally, we talk about a unique study that used the Hubble Space Telescope to examine the atmosphere of Earth during a lunar eclipse, testing methods to find life on other worlds.Listen to the podcast above, or watch the video version of this episode:This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.Coming August 18: Dr. Allison Youngblood, astronomer with the University of Colorado Boulder. We will talk about her recent study using the Hubble Space Telescope to study the atmosphere on Earth, testing methods to find life on other worlds.If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube, Facebook Video, or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
22:43
August 11, 2020
Interview with Laurent Montesi of the University of Maryland on the Volcanoes of Venus - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast Aug. 4, 2020
Hello everyone! This week on Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we are joined by Dr. Laurent Montesi of the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland. He recently developed new models of Venus revealing recent volcanic activity on that world. We also take an up-close look at our other planetary neighbor, Mars, as new findings uncover additional secrets of The Red Planet. We watch the launch of Mars 2020, NASA's latest mission to Mars, and we also look at the potential for life under the surface of the Red Planet.My apologies that this podcast is late - technical difficulties kept us from uploading this episode until today. Work-around figured out. :) Watch the video version of this episode: This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers. Coming August 11: Dimitra Atri of New York University Abu Dhabi, talking about his study showing microbes may live beneath the surface of Mars, aided by galactic cosmic rays. If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube, Facebook Video, or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
25:15
August 7, 2020
Interview with Lina Necib of Caltech on her discovery of Nyx stars from beyond the galaxy - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast July 28, 2020
Hello everyone! This week, we are happy to be joined by Dr. Lina Necib of Caltech, talking about her discovery of a group of stars here in the Milky Way, that came from beyond our galaxy.But first, we learn about active volcanoes on Venus, we take a look at the first picture ever taken of a multi-planet system orbiting a Sun-like star, and we study a pair of type Ia supernovae seen erupting in flashes of ultraviolet light.Watch the video version of this episode:This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.Coming August 4: Dr. Laurent G.J. Montesi, talking about his recent discovery of active volcanoes on Venus!If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube, Facebook Video, or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
23:02
July 28, 2020
Interview with Kathryn Zurek of Caltech on the Search for Dark Matter - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast July 21, 2020
Hello everyone! Hello and welcome back to The Cosmic Companion. This week, we are happy to be joined by Dr. Kathryn Zurek, Theoretical Physicist at Caltech, talking about how dark matter may be detected here on Earth by looking for subatomic particles called magnons.But first, we look up at Comet NEOWISE visiting the Earth this month, and we say hello to stars from another galaxy which moved into the Milky Way billions of years ago. We hear the story of astronomers scrambling to view a short radio burst from the ancient Universe before it disappeared, we examine the origins of water here on Earth, and look at the closest pictures ever taken of our Sun.Watch the video version of this episode:Dr. Kathryn Zurek of Caltech talks about dark matter on Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion.This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.Coming July 28: Dr. Lina Necib, Post-doctoral Researcher at Caltech, who recently discovered Nyx stars – visitors from outside the Milky Way.Coming August 4: Dr. Laurent G.J. Montesi, talking about his recent discovery of active volcanoes on Venus!If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube, Facebook Video, or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
18:22
July 21, 2020
Interview with Scott Lambros of NASA, on the James Webb Space Telescope - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast July 14, 2020
Hello everyone!This is a special episode, as it marks both the first show to begin our third season, and this installment is the first partly recorded in our new studio. Most special of all, we take an inside look at the James Webb Space Telescope. Scott Lambros, NASA's Instrument Systems Manager for this revolutionary telescope, joins us this week, giving us his first-hand story of this next-generation space telescope.We also look up at the sky at Comet NEOWISE, visiting evening skies in the northern hemisphere this week. Plus, a new finding showing high concentrations of metal on the Moon could suggest our best theories of the origin of our planetary companion may need revision. We will also look at an exposed planetary core, and we find the gravitational center of the solar system.Watch the video version of this episode:Scott Lambros of NASA, Instrument Systems Manager on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) talks to The Cosmic Companion. This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.Coming July 21: Dr. Kathryn Zurek, Theoretical Physicist at Caltech, talking about how dark matter may be detected here on Earth by looking for subatomic particles called magnons.  July 28: Dr. Lina Necib, Post-doctoral Researcher at Caltech, who recently discovered Nyx stars – visitors from outside the Milky Way! If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube, Facebook Video, or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
27:12
July 14, 2020
Interview with Tyler Gorda of the University of Virginia - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast June 23, 2020
In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we are pleased to be joined by Tyler Gorda from the Department of Physics at the University of Virginia, talking about his work discovering the newest state of matter – quark matter, which could make up much of the material in neutron stars. But first, we look at a new NASA study showing that oceans may be common on planets orbiting other stars, we examine a new study measuring the expansion rate of the Universe, and a mysterious repeating radio signal from space continues for more than 18 months. We will also examine how dark matter – the unseen “something” which makes up more than 80 percent of all matter in the Universe, might be detected here on Earth.Incidentally, this episode had a technical difficulty that appears me from appearing for most of the show. But, stay tuned to the end, when you’ll see the first original animation ever made for the program (animation is going to be a thing next season). Watch the video version of this episode:Dr. Tyler Gorda, physicist at the University of Virginia, talking about his work developing a theory of dark matter, and leading viewers on a dive through a neutron star. This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.June 30 and July 7: NO EPISODES, as we move into a larger, permanent studio and upgrade equipment. SEASON THREE BEGINS JULY 14 with an inside look at the James Webb Space Telescope, with Scott Lambros, NASA’a Instrument Systems Manager for this revolutionary instrument, called the successor to Hubble. If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube, Facebook Video, or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
20:58
June 23, 2020
Interview with Matija Cuk, research scientist at the SETI Institute - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast June 16, 2020
In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we look at a new study suggesting the Universe is expanding faster than it should be, we travel to a solar system with four very different worlds, and we explore how dust on alien worlds can affect the development, as well as the discovery, of extraterrestrial life.Finally, we interview Dr. Matija Ćuk, a research scientist at the SETI Institute, discussing his recent discovery that Mars may have been accompanied, from time to time, by systems of rings.Watch the video version of this episode:Matija Ćuk, research scientist at the SETI Institute, discussing his recent discovery that Mars may have been accompanied by systems of rings in the distant past.This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.Coming June 23: Tyler Gorda from the Department of Physics at the University of Virginia, talking about his work discovering the newest state of matter – quark matter, which could make up much of the material in neutron stars. June 30 and July 7: No shows, as we move into a larger, permanent studio and upgrade equipment. (We had technical difficulties with this week’s episode including damage to the camera a day after placing an order for a new camera). If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube, Facebook Video, or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
20:55
June 16, 2020
Interview with Anna Ho of Caltech - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast June 9, 2020
Hello everyone:In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we look at quark matter, a bizarre state of matter which could make up a large percentage of some neutron stars. We will travel out to the Kepler-160 planetary system, where we will examine a planet and star much like the Earth and Sun. Next, we find evidence that may help answer one of the mysteries of planets around other stars – if they are as common as they now seem, why do some stars travel through space alone? Then, we learn how Mars, typically known as the Red Planet, may have also once also been the ringed planet, as well.Finally, we welcome astrophysicist Anna Ho to the program, to talk about her work on discovering a previously-unknown form of supernova explosion.Watch the video version of this episode:Anna Ho of Caltech, talking about her new study of FBOT’s - a newly-discovered type of supernova explosion. This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.Coming June 16: Dr. Matija Ćuk of the SETI Institute, on the possibility that Mars may have been orbited by rings in the distant past.  If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
19:50
June 9, 2020
Interview with Professor Seiji Sugita of the University of Tokyo - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast June 2, 2020
Hello everyone:In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we watch the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket, lifting a pair of astronauts to the International Space Station. We also learn about a newly-discovered type of supernova, we travel to a solar system much like our own family of stars, and we find how a world roughly the size of Earth has been confirmed around the nearest star to our solar system. Then, we travel back 66 million years, to the end of the age of dinosaurs, learning how an asteroid larger than Mount Everest changed life on Earth forever.And, in a special interview from Japan, we talk to Professor Seiji Sugita from the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of Tokyo, researcher on the Hayabusa2 mission currently exploring the asteroid Ryugu.Watch the video version of this episode:This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.Coming June 9: Anna Ho of Caltech, who studies Fast Blue Optical Transients (FBOTs), a newly-discovered type of massive explosion seen in distant galaxies. If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
22:39
June 2, 2020
Interview with Dr. Alejandro Soto of the Southwest Research Institute - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast May 26, 2020
Hello everyone:In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we look at volcanoes of mud on Mars. We also see how life on Earth may have been shaped, at the genetic level, by cosmic rays from space. We explore collisions between black holes and ultra-dense neutron stars, and we take a look at the Wolfe Disc, an ancient galaxy that grew much faster than expected. Finally, we look at a pair of findings about galaxies, each from the same network of radio telescopes. Plus, in a fun, informative interview, we talk to Dr. Alejandro Soto of the Southwest Research Institute, who recently released a study showing how microscopic lifeforms may be affected by salty deposits of water on Mars.Watch the video version of this episode:This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers.Coming June 2: Professor Seiji Sugita from the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of Tokyo, researcher on the Hayabusa2 mission currently exploring the asteroid Ryugu.  If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider.For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
19:25
May 26, 2020
Interview with Dr. Thea Kozakis of the Carl Sagan Institute - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast May 19, 2020
Hello everyone:In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we talk about Comet SWAN, which could soon grace our skies as the brightest comet in years. We will delve deep into small pockets of water, trapped in the crust of Mars, where salty water may be too harsh for life. And, finally, we will learn about the rhythms of stars, and what it can teach us about the nature of these thermonuclear furnaces.And, in her first interview since earning her doctorate in astrophysics and astrobiology last week, we talk with Dr. Thea Kozakis, who recently led a study exploring planets around dead stars, looking for life.Watch the video version of this episode:This podcast is also available from all major podcast providers. Coming May 26: Alejandro Soto of the Southwest Research Institute, talking about water on Mars, and how salty conditions there could affect exploration of the Red Planet.  If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit: thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
19:00
May 19, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast May 12, 2020
Hello everyone: In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we take a look at a new idea about dark matter, we learn about new images of the asteroid Ryugu taken by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, and we delve deep under the atmosphere of Jupiter, studying one of that world's most familiar features, the Great Red Spot.Watch the video version of this episode:On May 19, we will talk with Thea Kozakis, a graduate student at the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University. Ms. Kozakis is a pioneering researcher on how to study the atmospheres of worlds around other stars, looking for signs of life.If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
04:28
May 12, 2020
Interview with Dr. Ann Virkki of Arecibo Observatory - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast April 28, 2020
Hello everyone:This week on Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we welcome a very special video guest as Dr. Ann Virkki, head of planetary radar studies for Arecibo Observatory, joins us on the show. She is an astronomer who recently made the news with her discovery of an unusual “face mask” on the asteroid 1998 OR2. Join us as we talk about asteroids, and the dangers our planet faces from near-Earth Objects.In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we also learn about the unfortunate fate of Comet Atlas, which recently shattered as it approached the Sun, quashing dreams of what could have been a magnificent celestial spectacle. Next, we will learn how temperatures seen on worlds orbiting alien stars are, often, lower than theories predict, and we will discuss a new model that could, potentially, explain these strange findings. We also take a look at how a new range of instruments, both on Earth and in space, could help us search for life around white dwarfs – the corpses of dead stars that were once the size of the Sun.Watch the video version of this episode:On May 19, we will talk with Thea Kozakis, a graduate student at the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University. Ms. Kozakis is a pioneering researcher on how to study the atmospheres of worlds around other stars, looking for signs of life. If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
17:51
May 5, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast - Interview with Dr. Steven D'Hondt April 28, 2020
Hello everyone:This is a very special week for Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, as we welcome out first-ever video guest to the show. To kick things off, we have a special guest, as I interview Dr. Steven D’Hondt, of the University of Rhode Island. He led the first two drilling expeditions ever designed specifically to search for life under the ocean floor. A new study suggests his work could show us what to look for in the search for life on Mars. In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we also learn that Earth will soon be visited by an asteroid the size on Manhattan – but don't worry – it's wearing a face mask! Next, we solve the mystery of a missing planet, and we learn how studying oceans on alien worlds would make for a high-pressure environment.Watch the video version of this episode:Next week (May 5), we are fortunate enough to talk to Dr. Anne Virkki, head of Planetary Radar at the Arecibo Observatory. This accomplished astronomer discovered the “face mask” on asteroid 1998 OR2, which will safely pass Earth on April 29.If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
17:16
April 28, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast - Interview with Dr. Nahum Arav April 21, 2020
Hello everyone:In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we discuss the birth of a giant space cigar, and look at a planet that may look like home but which is found in dangerous territory. We will examine a pair of satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, and learn what they can teach us about dark matter. Finally, we will see how astronomers can learn about the history of exoplanets through resonances in planetary orbits..I also interview Dr. Nahum Arav, astronomer at Virginia Tech, who discovered the most powerful quasar tsunamis ever seen anywhere in the Cosmos. Watch the video version of this episode (interview in podcast only):Next week (April 21), The Cosmic Companion talks to Dr. Steven D’Hondt, geomicrobiologist from the University of Rhode Island, who led a 2010 expedition collecting core samples from beneath the seafloor of the South Pacific, research that could help researchers today, looking for signs of life on Mars.If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit thecosmiccompanion.net or thecosmiccompanion.com. Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
13:02
April 21, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast - Interview with inventor Alan Adler
Hello everyone:In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we dive deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, and see how bacteria living inside rocks could change our studies of life on Mars. We will undertake an immense journey through the Universe, looking at jets emanating from distant quasars, and we will feel the wind of failed stars. Finally, we will look back 50 years ago, when the world watched transfixed as the crew of Apollo 13 struggled for survival.I also interview Alan Adler, inventor of the Aerobie flying ring and disk, as well as the Aeropress coffee maker. We talk about the science of flight as well as the science of brewing coffee. Watch the video version of this episode (interview in podcast only):Next week (April 21), The Cosmic Companion talks to Dr. Nahum Arav of Virginia Tech, talking about his new discovery of quasar tsunamis – the most energetic outpouring of material of this type in the Cosmos. If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit thecosmiccompanion.net.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
29:02
April 14, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast - Interview with Pedro Bernardinelli April 7, 2020
Hello everyone!This week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion features a new method of imaging black holes, and we discuss how lunar and Martian colonies could be constructed from human urine. Finally, we will journey back 14 centuries to ancient Japan, when a giant, glowing, red pheasant was seen hovering in the skies above that island nation.I also interview Dr. Pedro Bernardinelli of The University of Pennsylvania, lead researcher on a study which found 316 minor planets beyond Neptune.  Recently, 316 minor planets were discovered beyond Neptune. The Cosmic Companion talks to the astronomer that headed this historic study. Image credit: Martynan/Adobe Stock. Watch the video version of this episode (full interview in podcast only):Next week on Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we talk to Alan Adler, Inventor of Aerobie flying discs, and the Aeropress coffee maker. (Watch his interview on Good Morning America). If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit thecosmiccompanion.net.Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing! - James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
16:52
April 8, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast - What is Comet Atlas? March 31, 2020
This week's podcast episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion is a special look at Comet Atlas, which is shaping up to (potentially) become the greatest comet seen from the northern hemisphere in over two decades. We will discuss everything we know (so far) about Comet Atlas, and learn when and where to look for this new visitor from the outer solar system. We also interview Dr. Joe Burchett of the University of California Santa Crux about his work modeling ribbons between galaxies, using yellow slime mold. Learn how —and why— his team developed and carried out this unique study. Comet Atlas could, possibly, become as bright as Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. Image credit: Giuseppe Donatiello. Watch the video version of this episode (full interview in podcast only):On next week's podcast episode of Astronomy News with the Cosmic Companion (April 7), I interview Dr. Pedro Bernardinelli of The University of Pennsylvania, lead researcher on a study which found 316 minor planets beyond Neptune.  .If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit thecosmiccompanion.net. Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
22:56
April 1, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast March 17, 2020
In this week's podcast episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we look at new findings concerning the physics of stars, and we look in on a newly-discovered exoplanet where it rains iron. Next, we will examine a new method of learning about massive ribbons of galaxies by examining humble slime molds. Finally, a group of researchers believe they may have found a method by which the intense heat of Mercury could help form ice on the innermost planet in the Solar System.We also interview Dr. Emily Levesque of the University of Washington. She is one of the lead researchers on the study examining the possibility that a massive cloud of dust surrounding Betelgeuse may be responsible for dimming seen around that star at the end of 2019. Phenomenon seen on the surface of stars may be explained by new findings about the behavior of plasma beneath their luminous shells. Image credit: NASA/GSFCThe behavior of plasma in stars, including the Sun, is still largely a mystery, despite hundreds of years of study. One question perplexing astronomers is how much the movement of plasma in stars is affected by currents rising up from beneath, compared to the effects of rotation of the star. A new study of a diverse group of more than 200 stars shows convection, like the bubbles of boiling water, plays a far greater role than rotation in shaping stellar activity.Astronomers recently discovered a distant exoplanet called WASP-76B, continually scorched by its local star on one hemisphere, while the other half of the world is pelted with iron rain. Metals are vaporized on the hot side of the planet, and these vapors are transported to the other side of the planet, where it condenses before falling as a metallic rain. This world, 390 light-years from Earth, was discovered with the ESPRESSO instrument connected to the European Space Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.Researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz have recently modeled massive ribbons between galaxies using a common slime mold. Networks created between the unicellular members of Physarum polycephalum are similar to massive ribbons of gas which tie strings of galaxies together over hundreds of millions of light years. In an earlier experiment, researchers placed food in positions reminiscent of cities around Tokyo, and the slime mold grew into a pattern similar to the Japanese railway system.|Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, and temperatures on that world can run hotter than an oven. But, a new study from Georgia Tech suggests this intense heat could help form ice. As protons stream out of the Sun, some are drawn to the surface of Mercury by the weak magnetic field of that world. These particles may hit hydroxyls, molecules of one atom each of hydrogen and oxygen, forming water. Intense heating from the Sun can then drive these molecules off the surface, and some of these land in craters that never see light, creating deposits of water ice which persevere despite scorching temperatures.Watch the video version of this episode (full interview in podcast only
15:26
March 17, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast March 10, 2020
In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we look at a massive white dwarf that may be the product of an ancient collision between stars. We also examine a new idea of dark matter – the mysterious mass holding galaxies together – before heading to Mars for a new discovery – as well as a stunning image of the Martian landscape – from the Curiosity rover. Finally, we wrap up the show with a look at Betelgeuse, and new studies looking at whether or not this red giant star is on the verge of exploding as a supernova.The Curiosity rover recently returned its most-detailed panorama ever of the Martian landscape (click here for full photo). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS A team of astronomers from the University of Warwick have discovered an ultramassive white dwarf surrounded by a carbon-rich atmosphere. The star was first found in data from the Gaia space telescope, and the atmosphere was examined using the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands.This behemoth of a white dwarf, they determined, is the product of the collision of a pair of smaller white dwarf stars. This finding could lead to a new understanding of white dwarfs and how they form and evolve over time.Dark matter cannot be seen, but it makes up a far larger portion of the Universe than all stars, planets, gas clouds, and black holes combined. It is because of dark matter that galaxies do not fly apart as they spin. Still, astronomers know little about the ultimate nature of this mysterious mass. A new study from the University of York suggests strange subatomic particles called d-star hexaquarks may have formed in the early Universe as it cooled, and is now affecting objects in a manner that we interpret as dark matter. Protons and neutrons which make up the nucleus of atoms are each composed to three quarks. This newly-postulated particle would consist of six quarks, providing its unusual properties.The Curiosity rover on Mars has found organic materials on the Martian surface which may have been produced by ancient lifeforms. The material, called thiophenes, are usually produced by life on Earth. This is not proof of ancient life on Mars, as further studies must still be carried out to determine if these thiophenes are the product of biological or chemical processes.NASA also recently released a new image of Mars, as seen by Curiosity. This stunning Martian landscape is composed of 1,000 separate images of Mars taken by the eight-year-old Martian laboratory.Betelgeuse, one of the best-known stars in the sky, dimmed significantly over several months at the end of 2019, leading to speculation as to whether or not the star is about to explode as a supernova. Several astronomers and astrophysicists are studying the star, attempting to determine if Betelgeuse is on the verge of a massive eruption. One of these new studies shows the star is warmer than would be expected prior to a supernova, suggesting a cloud of dust coming off the star may be the
04:28
March 10, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast March 3, 2020
In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we examine findings from the InSight lander, which has returned its first data from Mars. We will also learn about 2020 CD3, an asteroid that recently entered orbit around the Earth as a second moon, and we talk about the composition of exoplanet K2 18b and what that means for the possibility of life on that world. This week’s stories end with a bang as evidence for the largest explosion since the Big Bang is seen by astronomers.PLUS - This week’s podcast features a full interview with Sofia Sheikh of Penn State University, a graduate student leading a new study searching for extraterrestrial civilizations who may have already found life on Earth. Video version of this podcast (full interview in podcast only):After almost 10 months since landing, the InSight lander on Mars sent its first findings to Earth. The spacecraft revealed that tremors are common on Mars, although they are not severe. The Martian laboratory has also found a greater degree of magnetization of the crust than was expected, and sent a report on wind conditions to researchers on Earth. The robotic laboratory was designed to study the interior of Mars, attempting to understand the history of that planet and other worlds in our solar system, including our home world.An asteroid as large as a car has just been discovered orbiting the Earth. This object, dubbed 2020 CD3, was captured by the gravitational field of the Earth, and entered orbit around our world roughly three years ago. This second Moon is far to dim to see with the naked eye, however, and is located in an unstable orbit that will likely fling CD3 back into interplanetary space in April of this year.In the fall of 2019, astronomers announced the discovery of water vapor in the atmosphere of the exoplanet K2 18b. This world is located in the habitable zone around its cool, dim star, where water could accumulate into ponds, lakes, and oceans. This new study shows K2 18b is likely either a water world covered in ice, or a gaseous planet like Neptune, where temperatures would be too hot for life as we know it to exist.Astronomers have found evidence of the largest-known explosion since the Big Bang. Triggered by a supermassive black hole in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, this eruption produced a crater 15 times wider than the Milky Way Galaxy in a plasma cloud surrounding the cluster. This event took place at a safe distance of 390 million light years from Earth, and hundreds of millions of years in the past.Did you like this episode? Subscribe to The Cosmic Companion Newsletter! Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion is also available as a weekly video series. Or, add this show to your flash briefings on Amazon Alexa.See you around the Cosmos!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
13:02
March 3, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast February 25, 2020
In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we take a look at aurora seen around a star for the first time, a new super-Earth is discovered just 100 light years from Earth, and Penn State researchers search for alien civilizations that may have already found life on our own world. Video version of this podcast:Aurora on Earth are best known on as northern and southern lights, but they can also occur between a pair of planetary bodies, such as Jupiter and its innermost large moon, Io. Now, for the first time, astronomers have detected aurora taking place between a star and planet. The star, known as GJ 1151, is closely orbited by an earth-sized world. Interactions between that planet and the star create changes in the magnetic field of GJ 1151, producing an aurora. The system sits just 27 light years from Earth.The discovery of an exoplanet in a star system less than 100 light years from our home planet has now been confirmed by astronomers using the Habitable-zone Planet Finder in Texas. This super-Earth, dubbed G 9-40b, is roughly twice as large as our home planet, and significantly more massive. The world orbits close to its cool red parent star, orbiting that body once every six days. First found by the Kepler spacecraft as the planet passed in front of its star as seen from Earth, this is the second-closest planet yet found using this technique.A new search for alien civilizations is looking at planets which may be able to find life on our own world. As planets orbit their sun, some of these exoplanets can be seen passing in front of their parent star as seen from Earth. Astronomers are able to deduce significant information about such exoplanets, including evidence of life. A new study from the Breakthrough Initiative is searching worlds that would see the Earth pass in front of the Sun as seen from the perspective of an extraterrestrial. After examining 20 such worlds, no radio signals were detected, but the search is only beginning in the hunt for extraterrestrial civilizations.On Tuesday, March 3rd, I will interview Sofia Sheikh of Penn State University, lead researcher on this study. A preview of the interview will be available on the video version of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion that week, and the full interview will be available on the podcast version of this show, available wherever you get your podcasts.Did you like this episode? Subscribe to The Cosmic Companion Newsletter! Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion is also available as a podcast from all major podcast providers. Or, add this show to your flash briefings on Amazon Alexa.See you around the Cosmos!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
04:25
February 25, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast February 18, 2020
In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we meet the first European space telescope designed to study the Sun, and a massive young world is found in our galactic neighborhood. We also take a look up at Betelgeuse as one of the most familiar stars in the night sky may be preparing to explode, and we examine an odd radio signal from space which repeats every 16 days, leaving astronomers baffled.I also interview Dr. Gillian Wilson of the University of California, Riverside about her discovery of XMM-2599, a galaxy that lived fast and died young in the early Universe. Full interview in podcast only. Video version of this podcast:On February 10, the Solar Orbiter from the European Space Agency lifted off from Cape Canaveral on a mission to explore the Sun. This vehicle carries 10 instruments, each designed to study a different characteristic of our parent star. This is Europe's first mission to the Sun, and the spacecraft will work with NASA's Parker Solar Probe, attempting to understand solar activity which produces space weather that can affect Earth.A massive young planet has been discovered by astronomers just 330 light years from Earth. This world, known as 2MASS 1155–7919 b, is roughly 10 times larger than Jupiter, and orbits its parent star at a distance 600 times greater than the distance between the Earth and Sun. Just a handful of planets this size are known to astronomers, and this world is the closest yet found to our home world.On February 25th, I will interview Annie Dickson Vandevelde of the Rochester Institute of Technology about her discovery of this unusual planet. Listen to this full interview next week on the Astronomy News with the Cosmic Companion podcast.For several months, the normally bright star, Betelgeuse, seen in the constellation of Orion, has been noticeably dimming. This has led many astronomers, both professional and amateur, to speculate that this massive red giant star may be about to explode as a supernova. New observations by astronomers at the European Southern Observatory show this star is also changing shape, becoming more elongated. It is uncertain what is causing this, or if the star will be seen erupting in the immediate future, although chances of such an eruption seem slim at this time.Radio astronomers in Canada have recently discovered a source of radio waves from space which turns on and off on a 16-day cycle. Roughly once an hour for four days, the source emits a radio signal, which is then followed by twelve days of silence. Astronomers are uncertain what could be causing this unusual phenomenon, but the CHIME radio telescope in Canada which found the source uses technology which could help uncover its nature. This signal appears to be a unique type of fast radio burst, which were first discovered in 2007. Remember to rune in next week when I interview Dorothy Dickson-Vandervelde of the Rochester Institute of Technology about her discovery of 2MASS 1155–7919 b, the massive young exoplanet in our galactic neighborhood. Did you like this episode? Subscribe to The Cosmic Companion Newsletter! Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion is also available as a podcast from all major podcast providers. Or, add this show to your flash briefings on Amazon Alexa.See you around the Cosmos!- James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
14:01
February 18, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast February 11, 2020
In this week's episode of The Cosmic Companion, we look at how the smallest subatomic particles could be responsible for all the matter in the Universe, the icy heart of Pluto could control the climate on that world, an ancient galaxy is discovered that lived fast and died young, The CHEOPS Space Telescope takes its first image, and the Cocoon Galaxy is found to have a rare double core.Video version of this podcast:When matter first formed in the early Universe, theories suggest antimatter should have been created in the same, identical proportions. These two families of particles should have completely annihilated each other long ago, according to current theories. However, the Universe consists almost entirely of matter.This may be explained if neutrinos, which only rarely interact with matter, changed just one in a billion particles of antimatter into matter, a new study suggests. This process may have produced gravitational waves which could be visible to a new generation of observatories. Finding such waves could prove this new theory, researchers suggest.---An artist's impression of CHEOPS in space. Image credit: ESA/ATG Media LabThe first space telescope from the European Space Agency dedicated to studying planets around other stars has returned its first image. The CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite, or CHEOPS, was launched on December 18th, on a mission to study exoplanets discovered by other telescopes. This first image was created to test systems on the spacecraft and on the ground, and further testing on the orbiting observatory will the carried out over the course of the next two months.---A giant heart-shaped feature on Pluto, named Tombaugh Regio, may play a significant role in driving climate on that world, a new study reveals. As the Heart of Pluto warms during the day, nitrogen is driven into the atmosphere. At night, this gas cools, falling back to Pluto as frozen nitrogen, in a regular cycle similar to a heartbeat, altering the climate of the dwarf planet.---Astronomers believe the cocoon galaxy and its smaller companion galaxy, called NGC 4485, are the products of an ancient collision between a pair of small spiral galaxies. Now, Iowa State astronomers have recognized a second galactic core within the larger galaxy. One of the cores is seen in visible light and has long been known to astronomers, while the newly-recognized second core is obscured by clouds, and is only visible in radio wavelengths.---An ancient galaxy recently discovered by astronomers apparently lived fast and died young. This family of stars thrived just one billion years after the Big Bang, experiencing a period of active star formation. Just 800 million years later, star production had ceased, leaving behind a dead galaxy. Researchers are uncertain why this galaxy, known as XMM-2599, died so quickly or what became of this stellar grouping after star production ceased. ---On February 18th, I will interview Dr. Gillian Wilson of the University of California Riverside, about her work on the recent discovery of this fast-living galaxy. Ma
05:07
February 11, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast February 4, 2020
In this installment of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we examine the opening of two new observatories — one on the ground, and the other in space. We will also learn about a new study showing how artificial intelligence can be fooled in the search for extraterrestrial life, and we will remember the crew of the space shuttle Columbia, lost 17 years ago when their vehicle disintegrated on re-entry while returning home to Earth.An artist’s impression of the CHEOPS observatory in space. Image credit: ESA/ATG Media LabThe first public video of the Sun taken by the new Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii reveals the solar surface in unprecedented detail. The groundbreaking telescope features a primary mirror measuring four meters in diameter, as well as design capabilities capable of observing our parent star with stunning clarity.Solar activities drive space weather, which can adversely affect electronic devices on Earth, hindering communications. By better understanding activities on the Sun, researchers hope to better refine predictions of weather in space.Astronomers searching for signs of extraterrestrial life need to comb through vast amounts of data in order to find patterns in seemingly chaotic data. Over the last few years, many researchers are starting to use artificial intelligence to examine data, looking for patterns that could reveal the presence of life.However, a new study shows that artificial intelligence will sometimes recognize patterns where none exist. Images of a bright spot of ice and salt on the dwarf planet Ceres show a bright white marking, shaped like a square, but computerized analysis also reported a dark triangle surrounding that feature, where no such structure exists. This study suggests that both human and computerized analysis of data will be needed in the search for a life on other worlds.The CHEOPS space telescope from the European Space Agency is now in orbit, and ready to study planets around other stars. The orbiting observatory was launched December 18th and a cover protecting the optics has now been retracted.The infrared telescope will search other star systems known to have at least one planet, gathering detailed information on the target. Mission planners expect to release the first images from CHEOPS in the next two weeks.February 1st marked 17 years since the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on reentry into the atmosphere of the Earth.The first-ever reusable crewed spacecraft broke up over the southwestern United States, killing all seven crew members. The work the astronauts carried out on this mission helped to develop the skills of long-term habitation of space, but the accident was one of the major events responsible for ending the space shuttle program.Video version of this podcast available at: http://bit.ly/Astronomy-News-Cosmic-Companion-Feb-4-2020Did you like this episode? Subscribe to The Cosmic Companion Newsletter! Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion is also available as a podcast from all
04:33
February 4, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast January 28, 2020
Hello everyone! This week, we look at the origins of the building blocks of life on Earth, as well as how an ancient impact may have set the stage for the proliferation of life on our world. The origin of complex chemistry on one of the moons of Saturn is uncovered, and Mars may have one been home to salty oceans like those found on Earth, new data reveals.Follow Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion on any major podcast provider! Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
05:48
January 28, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Podcast January 21, 2020
Hello everyone! This week, we look at a new theory which could explain a mysterious glow of gamma radiation from deep space, and we will see how the Solar System may have once been divided by a barrier, altering the formation of planets. We will also examine new findings about dark matter, while the discovery of strange objects near the core of the Milky Way perplexes astronomers. New simulations provide evidence that a massive asteroid was the major factor leading to the extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago, and dead galaxies from the early age of our Universe provides clues about the evolution of families of stars like The Milky Way.Follow Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion on any major podcast provider! Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
05:10
January 21, 2020
Astronomy News with the Cosmic Companion Podcast January 14, 2020
Happy New Year! For the first podcast of 2020, we will discuss how astronomers may find life on distant exoplanets, and we examine the deaths of stars and the formation of black holes. One black hole may not be as large as was originally measured, while another may not be there at all. The TESS spacecraft finds a planet orbiting a pair of stars, and a massive exoplanet is seen spiraling toward its sun. Water is seen leaving Mars at a far greater rate than expected, and new calculations shed new light on the deaths of stars. Follow the Cosmic Companion on any major podcast provider!James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
09:29
January 14, 2020
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion December 10, 2019
Welcome to the latest episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion!This week, we look at a new method for determining whether or not planets orbiting other stars have atmospheres, we see how starquakes could help us determine the age of the Milky Way, and a new guide to atmospheres of exoplanets could assist in the search for life on other worlds.My apologies for the crackling noise - I was trying new equipment and couldn’t get it to work just perfectly, exactly right. :) An artist’s concept of what the surface of Proxima b may look like, although details are uncertain. Image credit: ESO/M. KornmesserKeep checking back at: thecosmiccompanion.com for more space and astronomy news, and add Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion to your flash briefing on Amazon Alexa!View the video version of each week’s episode on my YouTube channel, or get advance copies of the video episodes with any paid subscription.Give a gift subscription starting at just $5 a month or $50 a year!Or, if you enjoyed this episode, you can buy me a cup of coffee - I LOVE coffee!Thanks!James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
04:28
December 10, 2019
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Dec. 3, 2019
This is black hole week on The Cosmic Companion, featuring discussion of the first serious ideas of planets orbiting black holes, we hear how astronomers may have uncovered the secrets of powerful regions of radiation around these objects, and the largest stellar-mass black hole ever seen is spotted in our home galaxy. An artist’s conception of a black hole, surrounded by gas. Image credit: Gerd Altmann | PixabayKeep checking back at: thecosmiccompanion.com for more space and astronomy news, and add Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion to your flash briefing on Amazon Alexa!View the video version of each week’s episode on my YouTube channel, or get advance copies of the video episodes with any paid subscription. Give a gift subscription starting at just $5 a month or $50 a year! Or, if you enjoyed this episode, you can buy me a cup of coffee - I LOVE coffee!Thanks!James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
04:01
December 3, 2019
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Nov. 26, 2019
This week, we take a look at how astronomers and astrophysicists are perplexed by different values obtained when measuring the expansion rate of the Universe, one of the most important numbers needed to determine the past and present behavior of the Cosmos. We also examine how the angle at which planets spin could affect their chances of developing life, and the discovery of a complex sugar inside an asteroid may help explain how life developed on Earth. Dr. Lucy Ziurys, professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, and Dr. Tom Zega of the Lunar and Planetary LaboratoryIn addition, on this podcast of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, I also interview Dr. Lucy Ziurys, professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, and Dr. Tom Zega of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory about their recent discovery showing how C60, or buckyballs, can form in space. Hear them tell the story about how they used a microscope to simulate conditions around a dying star, and what it could mean for the search for life around other stars.Keep checking back at: thecosmiccompanion.com for more space and astronomy news, including my new video series of this podcast!Watch each episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion on YouTube, or get advance copies of the video episodes with any paid subscription. Just $5 a month or $50 a year.Or, if you enjoyed this episode, you can buy me a cup of coffee - I LOVE coffee!Thanks!James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
22:41
November 26, 2019
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Nov. 19, 2019
In this episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we take a look at NASA’s planned Artemis program, designed to bring humans to the Moon, and see how the new technology compares to Apollo. We will also look at new research showing how complex structures called C60, or buckyballs, can form in space around dying stars. Next week, The Cosmic Companion interviews Dr. Lucy Ziurys, professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, and Dr. Tom Zega of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory about their recent discovery showing how these odd spheres of carbon can form in space.Hear them tell the story about how they used a microscope to simulate conditions around a dying star, and what it could mean for the search for life around other stars. Keep checking back at: thecosmiccompanion.com for more space and astronomy news, including my new weekly podcast!View the video version of each week’s episode on my YouTube channel, or get advance copies of the video episodes with any paid subscription. Just $5 a month or $50 a year.Or, if you enjoyed this episode, you can buy me a cup of coffee - I LOVE coffee!Thanks!James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
02:54
November 20, 2019
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Nov. 11, 2019
In this episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we examine what hydrothermal vents on Earth can teach us about alien life, questions are raised about a spherical Universe, and NASA opens Apollo rock samples preparing to return humans, once more, to the lunar surface.Keep checking back at: thecosmiccompanion.com for more space and astronomy news, including my new weekly podcast!View the video version of each week’s episode on my YouTube channel, or get advance copies of the video episodes with any paid subscription. Just $5 a month or $50 a year.Or, if you enjoyed this episode, you can buy me a cup of coffee - I LOVE coffee!Thanks!James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
03:05
November 11, 2019
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion November 4, 2019
In this episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we examine new ideas about the magnetic field of the Sun, look at how massive worlds orbiting near their sun interact and collide with each other, and the discovery of a new exoplanet was due to an amateur astronomer and Albert Einstein.Keep checking back at: thecosmiccompanion.com for more space and astronomy news, including my new weekly podcast!View the video version of each week’s episode on my YouTube channel, or get advance copies of the video episodes with any paid subscription. Just $5 a month or $50 a year. Or, if you enjoyed this episode, you can buy me a cup of coffee - I LOVE coffee! Thanks! James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
02:56
November 4, 2019
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Oct. 28, 2019
Hello everyone! Here’s the second (and newest) episode of the new podcast, Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion. This week, we explore evidence that Mars was once home to large salty lakes, take a new look at the expansion rate of the Universe, and consider the idea that an asteroid broke up before hitting Earth 12,800 years ago, triggering the Younger Dryas extinction.Sneak previews of the video version of this show are available to all paid subscribers! Let’s take off! - James Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
02:36
October 28, 2019
Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion
October 20, 2019In this first-ever Cosmic Companion podcast, we look at yhe first all-female spacewalk, a new look at the search for life on Mars by the Viking landers, growing crops in space, and searching for rocky planets in alien solar systems by looking at the corpses of dead stars!Keep checking back at: thecosmiccompanion.com for more space and astronomy news, including my new weekly podcast! Get full access to The Cosmic Companion at thecosmiccompanion.substack.com/subscribe
03:01
October 23, 2019