This is episode 62 of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, our first release of 2022. Happy New year! In this episode, we’re doing something a little different. Traditionally we alternate between interviews and Science Explainy Bits, but the second segment here is a bit more philosophical than usual, and ran a bit short, so I’ve added something a bit more topical – some astronomy news! Impossible exoplanet As covered previously on this website, the science media were very excited to report … Continue reading →
This episode features an interview with Dr Julia Healy, from ASTRON, where she works as part of the MHONGOOSE survey team. When this interview was originally recorded early last year, she hadn’t yet submitted her PhD thesis, but has since graduated and earned the title “Dr”. Julia completed her Bachelor of Science, specialising in Astrophysics and Physics, at the University of Cape Town in 2013. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Science Honours in Physics in 2014 and … Continue reading →
This is episode 60 of the Urban Astronomer podcast! Is that a milestone? Sure, but we’ll save the party hats for episode 75. Today we’ll just get on with the job at hand, and bring you a science explainy bit. Today’s question: How can astronomers be so certain about what things in space are made from? On Earth it’s relatively easy to send geologists out to different places with their hammers, and have them collect samples from interesting rock formations … Continue reading →
This episode of the Urban Astronomer Podcast features an interview with Dr Imogen Whittam, an astrophysicist at Oxford University
It’s another Science Explainy Bit episode, and today we answer a question asked by another podcaster while interviewing us for their show. The host wanted to know how the view of southern skies compares to that of the northern hemisphere. I gave a quick answer before we moved on to another topic, but I would have liked to give a more detailed and complete answer. Which brings us to this episode, in which I describe how there really isn’t a … Continue reading →
The Urban Astronomer interviews noted South African amateur astronomer Carol Botha about her science outreach work. Carol has become quite well known on Slooh, the robotic telescope and astronomy service which I know quite well because I’ve provided a few video streams of eclipses and the like for them over the years.
Be warned though, this is a long episode so make some popcorn and find a comfortable seat before you start!
Today’s episode is the first Science Explainy Bit of the season, and it’s another basic, classic topic: Leap Years. As a reminder, I love looking at the questions that seem simple because we think of them as the sorts of things that children ask their parents, but the thing about these questions is that they never are simple. These are things that took humanity centuries or longer to figure out, and that most of us still don’t really understand because … Continue reading →
At long last, the third season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast has kicked off! We thought the last season went so well that we’ve decided to keep things much as they are, with perhaps the occasional news segment added in whenever something interesting has happened. So for the most part, that means twelve episodes, alternating between interviews with people who have some sort of a connection to South African astronomy, and science explainy bits where I answer the questions that … Continue reading →
This is just a short note to let you know that we’re still here, and that the new season launches next week! Long-time listeners have been waiting for this since February, but I don’t think there’s anybody left on Earth who couldn’t guess which world-changing event caused our schedule to slip! Still, after eight weeks in lock-down, it’s time to start delivering on our promises. Tune in next week to hear the first exciting episode of the new season of … Continue reading →
Since our last episode aired, in early December last year, I’ve had people ask me when the third season will begin. Well the good news is: Soon! Guests have been booked, interviews will be recorded over the next few weeks, and science explainy bits… well. That’s where you come in! If you’ve got questions you’d like to hear answered in one of the Urban Astronomer Podcast Patented Science Explainy Bits then why not put them in an email and send … Continue reading →
The Urban Astronomer Podcast’s season 2 finale examines the colours of stars, and ponders what it’s actually like out in space
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 →