Urban Astronomer https://www.urban-astronomer.com Making sense of the universe one page at a time Mon, 20 Jan 2020 07:41:25 +0000 en-ZA hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/constellationonline.net/media/UrbanAstronomer/cropped-uastronomersquare-32x32.png Urban Astronomer https://www.urban-astronomer.com 32 32 The Urban Astronomer podcast is the audio version of the popular Urban Astronomer website, which has been sharing news and information about space science and astronomy since the year 2009. The website has undergone several facelifts, and changes in editorial style and focus over the years, but it's always stayed true to its principles of honest science presented simply, without oversimplifying.<br /> While Urban Astronomer is not the largest or most popular astronomy website on the internet, we've managed to retain a small, loyal following who have stuck with us through both good times (Allen won a special commendation in a science journalism award ceremony), and bad (when output slowed to about one new posting per month, thanks to increased family and work pressure). <br /> This podcast is the next chapter in the Urban Astornomer story, and features News, Science, Interviews, and the occasional rant on the role and perception of science and astronomy in the modern world.<br /> We at Urban Astonomer expect to become one of South Africa's leading science and astronomy podcasts within the year. If we think we deserve that position, you can help us by simply listening the the episodes, and sharing them with your friends. And if we don't meet your standard, we're definitely open to criticism.<br /> <br /> Thanks for listening! Urban Astronomer clean episodic Urban Astronomer podcast@urban-astronomer.com podcast@urban-astronomer.com (Urban Astronomer) Allen Versfeld and Constellation Online Media. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ Because you don't have to live in the country to appreciate the universe Urban Astronomer http://www.urban-astronomer.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/UrbanAstronomerPodcastLogo_web.jpg https://www.urban-astronomer.com TV-PG South Africa Twice monthly Support the podcast 110638654 Carnival of Space #647 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/carnival-of-space-647/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/carnival-of-space-647/#respond Mon, 20 Jan 2020 07:41:17 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9840 Welcome to the 647th Carnival of Space! The carnival which brings together the latest space and astronomy news from specialist websites around the globe! The carnival which, true to its name, drifts between audiences, pitching its tent on the front page of a different website every week. This week it’s here, at the home of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, and features items from Universe Today, Space in Africa and The Hill. Universe Today Balloon-Based Cosmic Ray Observatory is Now on Continue reading →

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Carnival of Space #643 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/carnival-of-space-643/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/carnival-of-space-643/#respond Mon, 23 Dec 2019 10:24:26 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9830 This Carnival of Space is the second-last carnival of the year. There’s a range of holidays and festivals happening right now, so whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, the solstice, or just some time with family and friends, we hope you have the best possible week. It can be a stressful time of year, with last-minute preparations for festivities or trying to finish work before year-end deadlines, so hopefully our weekly list of space science and astronomy news will give you Continue reading →

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CosmoQuest Hangout-a-thon https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/cosmoquest-hangout-a-thon/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/cosmoquest-hangout-a-thon/#respond Sat, 21 Dec 2019 10:08:52 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9826 Quick last-minute announcement time! If you follow my twitter account, you’ll have seen a lot of mention made of my appearance on the CosmoQuest Hangoutathon tonight. If you’ve never seen one of these, here is how the organisers decsribe the event: This weekend, December 21-23, 2019, we will be having our CosmoQuest Hangoutathon. For 40 straight hours, our team will be bringing you guests, science and fun live on our Twitch channel. We are raising money to pay for our team Continue reading →

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Star colours and what space is like https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/star-colours-and-what-space-is-like/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/star-colours-and-what-space-is-like/#respond Thu, 05 Dec 2019 10:45:29 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9815 The Urban Astronomer Podcast's season 2 finale examines the colours of stars, and ponders what it's actually like out in space

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https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/star-colours-and-what-space-is-like/feed/ 0 The Urban Astronomer Podcast's season 2 finale examines the colours of stars, and ponders what it's actually like out in space So here we are, at the final episode of the Urban Astronomer Podcast's second season. As per the schedule, it's a Question/Answer episode, and you'll get to hear two new science explainy bits! These questions are a little more deep than the usual, because we wanted to save something special for the end of the season. After this, things are going to be a bit quiet while the good folks at Constellation Online Media get to work lining up fresh guests and writing new scripts for Season Three, which should air in the next few months.



Why do stars seem to have the same colours?



2:18



A few months ago when I was polling my twitter followers for questions they'd like to hear answered in this show, I got this very interesting question from a science journalist I've known for a few years. I save it for the very end of this season because I love this question so much. I love it because it challenges the sorts of assumptions that are taught to us as astonomers from the very beginning of our training. She asked why it is that all the stars appear to be the same colour, and yet when I go out myself at night and look up, they quite plainly are not the same colour at all. What's going on?



What's it like in space?



14:15



A few months ago, my dear wife and friend Cathrine turned to me and asked "What's it like out there, though?". When I asked her what she was talking about, she said "You know, space. What's it like?"



So that's the final science explainy bit question for this season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast. What is it like out there, in the depths of space?




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Carnival of Space #639 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/carnival-of-space-639/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/carnival-of-space-639/#respond Mon, 25 Nov 2019 18:59:19 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9805 The 639th Carnival of Space features articles from Universe Today, The Hill, the Chandra X-ray Telescope and The Daily Caller

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Interview with Nicole Thomas https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/interview-with-nicole-thomas/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/interview-with-nicole-thomas/#respond Tue, 19 Nov 2019 08:57:21 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9799 In this episode, we interview Nicole Thomas, a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape with an interest in the evolution of galaxies, and the super-massive black holes that lie within. We recorded this conversation only a week ago, and I really enjoyed speaking to her. I found her childhood interest in how the universe worked very relatable, and especially her need to understand what’s going on underneath it all. Sadly, this is the final interview with a Continue reading →

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https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/interview-with-nicole-thomas/feed/ 0 In this episode, we interview Nicole Thomas, a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape with an interest in the evolution of galaxies, and the super-massive black holes that lie within. We recorded this conversation only a week ago, In this episode, we interview Nicole Thomas, a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape with an interest in the evolution of galaxies, and the super-massive black holes that lie within. We recorded this conversation only a week ago, and I really enjoyed speaking to her. I found her childhood interest in how the universe worked very relatable, and especially her need to understand what's going on underneath it all. Sadly, this is the final interview with a real astronomer of this season of the Urban Astronomer podcast, but I'm especially happy with this one so I hope you'll enjoy it.



Nicole Thomas



Nicole is a PhD student at the University of the Western Cape, and the Square Kilometer Array. She recently completed a stint at the department of Astrophysics as Oxford university, thanks to the UK-SA Newton Exchange Fund



Links



* Nicole on Twitter* Astro Molo Mhlaba * Cosmic Soundscapes - a website containing audio recordings derived by NASA scientists, from radio signals detected by Solar System objects
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Guns in Space and Why Venus is so Hot https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/guns-in-space-and-why-venus-is-so-hot/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/guns-in-space-and-why-venus-is-so-hot/#respond Wed, 06 Nov 2019 21:24:40 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9792 Episode 10 of Season Two answers listener questions: What happens when a spaceship shoots its gun in space, and why is Venus so hot?

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https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/guns-in-space-and-why-venus-is-so-hot/feed/ 0 Episode 10 of Season Two answers listener questions: What happens when a spaceship shoots its gun in space, and why is Venus so hot? I love these podcast episodes where I get to give you a double dose of science explainy bits! In this episode, the two questions I answer were both asked by people who've previously been featured the Urban Astronomer. Kerneels Mulder wanted to know what happens when a space ship fires a gun backwards. Sibusiso Biyela wanted to know why Venus is so incredibly hot. If you have questions of your own that you'd like me to answer, why not mail them to me at mailto:podcast@urban-astronomer.com



What happens when you fire a gun backwards in space?



1:33



Kerneels Mulder had a friend back in 2013 who was developing a video game which involved space combat. He wanted to get the physics right, so he asked what would happen if a moving spaceship fired its guns backwards. I originally answered this question in an article on this website, but it's such a fun topic that I thought it would be worth revisiting.



Why is Venus so Hot?



15:48



Sibusiso Biyela wants to know why Venus has such a high temperature. The short answer is that it's the greenhouse effect. In fact it was astronomers trying to answer this question back in the 1960's and 70's who first figured out the processes which now have us so worried about climate change. Incidentally, if you think that anthropogenic climate change is some sort of conspiracy cooked up by well-connected liberals who want to make the world a better place for no reason at all, you're gonna hate this segment!



Links



* Interview with Kerneels Mulder* Interview with Sibusiso Biyela* Carl Sagan's 1971 paper, The Trouble with Venus* Original article about what happens when a spaceship fires its guns in space
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Carnival of Space 635 – 636 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/carnival-of-space-635-636/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/news-and-updates/carnival-of-space-635-636/#respond Mon, 04 Nov 2019 07:38:23 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9785 It’s an unusual day here at Carnival of Space HQ. Many of our usual hosts have unavailable this week, leaving us with a gap in our schedule. So, we’re hosting a double feature today – the 635th AND 636th carnival in one place at the same time. Double the fun! But this means that we have an opening. If you’d like to bring extra space fans to your website or blog, why not talk to us about becoming a regular Continue reading →

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Interview with Dr Tana Joseph https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/interview-with-dr-tana-joseph/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/interview-with-dr-tana-joseph/#respond Tue, 22 Oct 2019 11:41:20 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9780 This is episode 9 of the 2nd season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, featuring an interview with Dr Tana Joseph.  It’s been an interesting two weeks since the last episode – I’ve settled further into my new home and adjusted from rural to suburban life. What I gained in access to basic utilities and saving several hours off my commute has been paid for with a loss of the sky – not to light pollution, but to a canopy of Continue reading →

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https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/interview-with-dr-tana-joseph/feed/ 0 This is episode 9 of the 2nd season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, featuring an interview with Dr Tana Joseph.  It's been an interesting two weeks since the last episode - I've settled further into my new home and adjusted from rural to suburban life... Urban Astronomer Podcast, featuring an interview with Dr Tana Joseph.  It's been an interesting two weeks since the last episode - I've settled further into my new home and adjusted from rural to suburban life. What I gained in access to basic utilities and saving several hours off my commute has been paid for with a loss of the sky - not to light pollution, but to a canopy of trees shading the entire property!

Regular listeners would be expecting this episode to feature Nicole Thomas. Unfortunately, for the second time this season, my recordings of the interview that we made months ago, are unusable. I made the recording within Skype and downloaded it within the 30 day period. But when I tried to import it into this episode, I found that it was an empty file. Now I've been a loyal user of Skype for over a decade, but it just isn't good enough for me anymore. All my serious technical problems with interviews have been Skype related. In future, I'll be using different technology. But for all the Nicole fans out there, don't worry. She will be back in a future episode.
Dr Tana Joseph
Dr Joseph is an astrophysicist with a special interest in extra-galactic X-ray binary star systems. She is also the founder and owner of AstroComms, a STEM consultancy and communications company. I found her very easy to speak to, but unfortunately the sound quality isn't so great. Again, thank you Skype!

You can find Dr Joseph on Twitter here, and you can learn more about AstroComms here.
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Why did I defend the geocentric model? https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/why-did-i-defend-the-geocentric-model/ https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/why-did-i-defend-the-geocentric-model/#respond Tue, 08 Oct 2019 11:20:24 +0000 https://www.urban-astronomer.com/?p=9768 In this eighth episode of the second season, I defend my defense of the Ptolemaic geocentric system of crystal spheres! I hadn’t even realized till I started recording that this is our 50th ever episode. I really should be so blown away that I’ve kept things going this long, but I’m not, somehow? Perhaps it’s just become a habit, and I stopped noticing milestones! But anyway, 50 episodes, I think that’s pretty amazing and I’m very proud to have made Continue reading →

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https://www.urban-astronomer.com/podcast/why-did-i-defend-the-geocentric-model/feed/ 0 In this eighth episode of the second season, I defend my defense of the Ptolemaic geocentric system of crystal spheres! I hadn't even realized till I started recording that this is our 50th ever episode. I really should be so blown away that I've kept ... Why I defended the Geocentric system
2:30

Today's science explainy bit is not a question that anybody specifically sent to me. Rather, it's something that people are generally quite curious to know: How am I, tireless crusader for the truth, able to justify my constant apparent defense for the old Ptolemaic system of a universe made from crystal spheres centered on the Earth? I think I make a pretty good argument, and you'll find it in this episode.
Announcements
28:20

I didn't want to stop this story with Copernicus because I think things get REALLY interesting when Galileo uses a telescope to properly disprove the geocentric model. He is a total heel about it, and the Church, desperately trying to protect itself from the reformation, sees Galileo as another troublemaker. As we all know, they tried hard to suppress him... it's all just too fascinating, especially when you look more carefully and learn just how complicated Galileo's relationship with the church and the elites really was! I don't really have space to fit this in this season, unfortunately, but if enough of you mail me at podcast@urban-astronomer.com to ask for it, I'll record it as a special bonus episode!

Last episode, I mentioned that we're trying out a new community on the Flick app. It's kind of like a social media network centered around podcasting. To me, it feels a lot like a classic web forum. To try it out, click the link at the bottom of the sidebar on urban-astronomer.com. Use the "urbanastronomer" join code. You'll see existing conversations for each episode. There's another one to introduce yourself, or you can start your own! It's still early days, but the team behind Flick are working extra hard to build this thing, but even at this stage it feels like a great place for me to meet and chat with each one of you. It's completely free, it is uncluttered with non-podcasty stuff, and I look forward to seeing you there!]]>
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