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The Skyentists

Science Podcasts

"The Skyentists" are astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez (Australian Astronomical Optics, Macquarie University) and Kirsten Banks (University of NSW) coming at you once a fortnight with astronomy topics and a general "nerd out" session!

"The Skyentists" are astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez (Australian Astronomical Optics, Macquarie University) and Kirsten Banks (University of NSW) coming at you once a fortnight with astronomy topics and a general "nerd out" session!

Location:

Australia

Description:

"The Skyentists" are astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez (Australian Astronomical Optics, Macquarie University) and Kirsten Banks (University of NSW) coming at you once a fortnight with astronomy topics and a general "nerd out" session!

Language:

English

Contact:

+61293724898


Episodes

040 - Exotic little beasts

2/18/2021
In today's episode of The Skyentists, astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez talk about exotic stellar objects: white dwarf stars, neutron stars, pulsars, magnetars, and stellar black holes! They summarise what are the nature and origin of each of these exotic little beasts as well as discuss their differences. For "Space News", Kirsten announces that she is now the official "Tiktoker" of SpaceAustralia.com and that she's having a lot of fun with it. Ángel talks about the 3rd Data...

Duration:01:05:09

039 - The 2020 Great Conjunction

12/18/2020
After a long break, The Skyentists, astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, are back! We start our Season 4 with a special episode with two main topics: the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn happening on Monday 21st of December 2020 (that is actually our "What's up!") and summarising some of the most important astronomy news that have happened in 2020 while we were away (our extended "Space News" for this episode). We talk about the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020, merging black...

Duration:01:11:27

038 - Always was, always will be

6/17/2020
038 - Always was, always will be In today's episode of The Skyentists, astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez talk about Australian Aboriginal Astronomy. Kirsten provides a general overview of the importance that Astronomy has always had on Earth's longest-living culture: Australian Aboriginal people. In particular, she discusses how Aboriginal Australians draw constellations in the sky: connecting stars (as usually done in Western civilisations), using just single, bright stars...

Duration:01:01:40

037 - Migrating Planets

6/3/2020
For this episode The Skyentists, astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, bring not 2 but 9 "Space News" (actually, 10 including the last one briefly mentioned at the end of the episode). Of course, some of them are (unfortunately) just mentioned, others will be explored deeper in future episodes. Kirsten discusses the news about the discovery of the "FBOTs" or "Fast Blue Optical Transients", while Ángel explains what FRBs or "Fast Radio Bursts" are and how combining optical and...

Duration:01:00:35

036 - Spiral density waves

5/20/2020
After a long hiatus consequence of the very unusual times we all are living, The Skyentists, astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez, are back to action. In addition to provide some quick comments about how their work and science communication activities have been affected during the last couple of months they also talk about recent astronomy news: the bright comet C/2020 F8 (Swan), the non-pink, non-super moon, and the apparent disintegration of exoplanet Fomalhaut b "Dagon". For...

Duration:01:09:39

035 - Astrophotography gear

3/11/2020
In this episode of The Skyentists astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks talk about the basics of astrophotography: what is the equipment you need for getting stunning photos of the sky, what other tricks do you have to use, and what you should consider if you want to start doing astrophotography. It is not the same taking photos of the Moon and the planets than getting deep sky objects! Ángel is very excited about all of this as he got his new equipment working well, resulting in...

Duration:00:53:14

034 - Globes full of stars

2/26/2020
That is the literal meaning of "Globular Clusters", which is the main topic of this episode of The Skyentists. Astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez describe the main properties of globular clusters and why they should not be confused with open clusters or with dwarf elliptical galaxies. Some interesting curiosities about them are also discussed, as well as they explore the origin of these very old, very "metal-poor", giant stellar systems. For "What's Up!" they talk about M 13,...

Duration:00:58:17

033 - #IncludeHer

2/12/2020
In this special episode of The Skyentists astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks celebrate the "International Day of Women and Girls in Science". They provide their own thoughts about why having women in Science is important and why society (particularly girls) needs role models for this. Prominent women in Science, like Marie Curie, Henrietta Leavitt, Cecilia Payne, Emmy Noether, Rosalind Franklin, Margaret Hamilton, Jocelyn Bell, or Vera Rubin should be included in textbooks,...

Duration:00:59:39

032 - Bye, bye, Spitzer!

1/29/2020
In this episode of The Skyentists astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez provide an overview of the many astronomical achievements obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope (NASA), which mission is ending today, 30th January 2020. This small space telescope (its main mirror has a size of only 85 cm!) has observed the Universe in infrared light, providing astronomers astonishing views of star-forming regions, galaxies near and far, stars, exoplanets, diffuse cold gas and dust in...

Duration:00:56:12

031 - The cycle of life in stars

1/16/2020
Despite what you might have read or heard during the last weeks, Betelgeuse is not going to explode as a supernova... yet... For explaining this in a bit more detail our Skyentists, astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, provide an overview of what we know about stellar evolution. Stars are born from cold clumps in molecular clouds. Then they spend the majority of their life burning hydrogen into helium in the so-called "main sequence". However, depending on the original mass of...

Duration:01:12:05

030 - Solar Circumnavigation 2020

1/1/2020
Happy New Year! In this episode our Skyentists, astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez, provide a summary of the main celestial events during 2020... including some infamous "Supermoons", lunar and solar eclipses, planets ephemeris, and meteor showers. For "Space News" Kirsten updates about the very first interstellar comet 2I/Borisov and Ángel discuss the first results of the GALACTICNUCLEUS survey that studies the building-up of the Milky Way obtaining deep infrared images of...

Duration:00:43:47

029 - Do not believe in climate change

12/19/2019
Australia, NSW, and Sydney are on fire! During the last month we are suffering the most dramatic bushfires in more than a decade. They are releasing plenty of smoke that is extremely dangerous for our health, and indeed Sydney has been the city with the most polluted air in the world these days. Is all of this a consequence of climate change? In this episode our Skyentists, astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, talk about global warming, climate change and the huge difficulty to...

Duration:01:09:49

028 - A tale of galactic cannibalism

12/4/2019
And we are back for Season 3! For this episode of The Skyentists astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez first provide a very broad summary of our Season 2. This is the "Space News!" section for this episode, as in the last few months there have been some very interesting news that can be connected with the topics we discussed in Season 2. However, the star of the episode is our very own Kirsten, who has not only submitted her Honour Thesis (yeah!) but has been also accepted to do...

Duration:01:14:28

027 - Cosmology 101

6/19/2019
The Universe is Big, so Cosmology, that is the branch of Astronomy that studies the big picture of the Universe (creation, evolution and fate of the Cosmos, as well as of the stuff it contains) is also BIG. For this episode our Skyentists, Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, try to provide a general overview of the Cosmology: the discovery of the expansion of the Universe, the Hubble–Lemaître law, the Lambda-CDM model, hierarchical galaxy formation, the cosmic background radiation, the...

Duration:01:06:09

026 - Twinkle, twinkle, little satellite

6/6/2019
In this episode of The Skyentists astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez talk about artificial satellites: what are they, where are they, how many are there, what they usually do, and more. Of course the reason of talking about satellites is discussing Space X Starlink satellite constellation, as plenty of conversations have happened in the last couple of weeks about how these objects might affect the view of the night sky for everybody and how they will affect to both amateur and...

Duration:01:25:56

025 - A Sip of Science

5/30/2019
This a very special episode as our Skyentists, Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, participated as MCs in one of the Sydney venues of the international science communication festival "Pint of Science". They actually recorded the Astronomy event "Enter the Dead Star!" on Wednesday 22nd May using... wait for it... a mobile phone! Here we present a summary of the event, the highlights of the talks, the trivia, and their impressions about the festival and the night. We don't have space news,...

Duration:01:39:39

024 - Astro Bookworms

5/15/2019
For this episode of The Skyentists, astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez talk about books, more precisely about astro-books, providing a list of 13 interesting books to learn and enjoy Astronomy and Space Science. This topic was recently suggested as a feedback question, so we are very pleased to answer it in a full episode. Besides this, we heard a couple of minutes of the amazing TEDxYouth@Sydney talk given by Kirsten last month. For "Astro News" Kirsten talks about the...

Duration:00:56:46

023 - A shadow of darkness

4/18/2019
After a long hiatus because of a combination of professional and personal reasons, The Skyentists, Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, are back. This is a kind of special episode as it is all focused in just one main topic: the amazing image of the "shadow" of the super massive black hole in the center of giant elliptical galaxy M 87 (aka M87*, but it is not a star) obtained with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). Space News is this. The main topic is this. The feedback is this. And...

Duration:00:47:19

022 - Harvard Computers

2/21/2019
In this episode of The Skyentists, Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez talk about women in astronomy and, in particular, the fundamental and still not well known work that a group of women, the "Harvard Computers", made between late 19th Century and early 20th Century. They provide an overview and summary of the achievements that Williamina Fleming, Antonia Mauri, Annie Cannon, Henrietta Leavitt and Cecilia Payne got in Astronomy and how, in some way, they provided the key ideas for the...

Duration:00:45:36

021 - Pursuing New Horizons

2/7/2019
In this episode our Skyentists, Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, describe NASA's New Horizons spacecraft: the first mission to the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt, in the outskirts of our Solar System. They summarize the main objectives of the mission, the instruments on board of New Horizons, and the results that this small spaceship has provided so far. These include amazing surprises in Pluto and Charon (Pluto's largest moon) and the recent flyby of the transneptunian object 2014...

Duration:00:55:47