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The Star Spot

Science Podcasts

The Star Spot, with Justin Trottier, is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature news and interviews with guests of wide-ranging background: scientists, engineers, artists, politicians, and entrepreneurs. Topics are broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began to why humans explore.

The Star Spot, with Justin Trottier, is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature news and interviews with guests of wide-ranging background: scientists, engineers, artists, politicians, and entrepreneurs. Topics are broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began to why humans explore.

Location:

Toronto, ON

Description:

The Star Spot, with Justin Trottier, is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature news and interviews with guests of wide-ranging background: scientists, engineers, artists, politicians, and entrepreneurs. Topics are broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began to why humans explore.

Twitter:

@TheStarSpot

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 179: Dreams of Floating Cities, with Geoffrey Landis

3/1/2020
Feature Guest: Geoffrey A. Landis When we think of terraforming, we probably envision turning the Red Planet blue. But Mars isn’t the only world in our solar system that ambitious scientists have considered transforming. Imagine a network of floating cities in the clouds of Venus, or sailing ships plying the oceans of a newly thawed moon in the outer solar system. Today we’re going to dream here at The Star Spot with NASA scientist and award-winning science fiction author, Geoffrey...

Duration:00:28:04

Episode 178 Sibling Rivalry at the Centre of the Galaxy, with Smadar Naoz

2/2/2020
Feature Guest: Smadar Naoz We’ve long known that most galaxies contain at their core a supermassive black hole that can be millions of times the mass of the sun. But now researchers are discovering galaxies with more than one supermassive black hole at their centre. To understand the implications of this discovery and what it could mean about the history of the Milky Way, should our own galaxy be among this collection, today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by astrophysicist Smadar...

Duration:00:42:43

Episode 177: The Case of the Missing Dark Matter, with Guo Chi

1/19/2020
Feature Guest: Guo Qi Dark matter vastly overshadows ordinary matter in our universe. Wherever astronomers turn their telescopes they find galaxies dominated by dark matter. But all that changed recently with the first discoveries of dwarf galaxies suspiciously deficient in dark matter. To make sense of this baffling finding and how it relates to our Milky Way’s own local dwarf galaxies, today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by study lead Professor Guo Qi from the Chinese Academy of...

Duration:00:33:55

Episode 176: Second Genesis, with Jay Melosh

1/5/2020
Feature Guest: Jay Melosh If we should find creatures crawling around Titan or swimming under the ice sheets of Europa or Enceladus, they will almost certainly turn out to be the result of a second genesis, those creatures truly alien in the most profound sense. That startling conclusion follows from a series of groundbreaking simulation that found it exceedingly unlikely that life can be successfully transferred between the worlds of our solar system. To unpack the significance of this...

Duration:00:43:53

Episode 175: The Truth is Out There (at the University of Manitoba)

12/22/2019
Feature Guest: Shelley Sweeney The University of Manitoba has just acquired the largest collection of UFO related material. Prominent Canadian ufologist Christ Rutkowski has made a donation of over 30,000 documents, photos, artifacts and government reports, including files relating to the famous 1967 Falcon Lake Incident, involving a purported physical contact with a mysterious craft. Whether you’re intrigued by the phenomenon of belief or you believe in the phenomenon, the extraordinary...

Duration:00:41:45

Episode 174: Fuzzy Dark Matter, with Lachlan Lancaster

11/24/2019
Feature Guest: Lachlan Lancaster Quantum mechanics is strange. Until recently we could comfort ourselves with the belief that its odd properties were safely confined to the world of the microscopic. But what if quantum mechanical effects were suddenly magnified to cosmological scales. Imagine the quantum mechanical interference pattern spread across clusters of galaxies. That’s a possibility, according to a new theory of dark matter known as fuzzy dark matter, which imagines dark matter...

Duration:00:33:20

Episode 173: Discovering an Ancient Oasis, with William Rapin

11/10/2019
Feature Guest: William Rapin Welcome to Sutton Island, here in the middle of a beautiful and rugged landscape consisting of shallow lakes filled with salts and minerals. It’s a common vista on this world, and while the world in question is not our home, ancient Mars may well have been someone’s home. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by William Rapin, with reports from the latest discoveries of the Mars Curiosity rover and why one of the Principal Investigators of NASA’s Viking...

Duration:00:43:42

Episode 172: The Hubble Not-So Constant

9/15/2019
Feature Guest: Sherry Suyu The Hubble constant, which measures the expansion rate of the cosmos, may not be a constant after all, and if that’s true it means we’re missing something big in our understanding of the universe. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Sherry Suyu, who leads the aptly named H0LiCOW project which uses the phenomenon of gravitationally lensed quasars to measure the expansion rate of the universe. Current in Space Tony reports on a fascinating yet...

Duration:00:34:02

Episode 171: Ploonets: When Moons Go Rogue, with Jorge Zuluaga

9/1/2019
Feature Guest: Jorge Zuluaga Astronomers have yet to confirm a single detection of an exomoon, that is a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system. Now it turns out at least part of the explanation is that we may have been looking in the wrong place all this time. Introducing ploonets. No, I did not just mispronounce the word planet. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Jorge Zuluaga, whose team coined the name to describe a moon that has gone rogue, and while it may sound...

Duration:00:41:47

Episode 170: The Mystery of Fast Radio Bursts, with Vikram Ravi

8/18/2019
Feature Guest: Vikram Ravi They come to us from deep space. They last a tiny fraction of a second. They contain as much energy as the sun’s total output in 80 years. Yet we still haven’t figured out what causes these so-called Fast Radio Bursts or FRBs. I don’t want to say it’s aliens, but... no, it’s probably not aliens. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Professor Vikram Ravi whose team is quickly zeroing in on the origin of these bizarre FRBs. Current in Space Amelia and Tony...

Duration:00:42:23

Episode 169: Science at the Limits (Part 2)

8/4/2019
Feature Guest: Dan Falk Scientists are finding themselves increasingly squeezed between academics sounding the limits of science and a public increasingly taken in by pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. Today we conclude our review of science under attack with science writer Dan Falk. Current in Space NASA is looking to make space exploration a little greener, and Joseph and Tony report on their latest invention: an environmentally-friendly spacecraft fuel that may eventually replace...

Duration:00:46:51

Episode 168: Celebrating Apollo + Science at the Limits (Part 1)

7/21/2019
Feature Guest: Dan Falk Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by science writer Dan Falk. We’ll start today’s interview with a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the landing of humans on the moon and the internationalism of that critical moment. But then, 50 years after this triumph of science, we’re going to confront head on a set of old and new challenges to the scientific enterprise itself. All the fascinating research and discoveries we share at The Star Spot rests on basic...

Duration:00:38:20

Episode 167: Current in Space + The Best of The Star Spot: Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt

7/7/2019
Feature Guest: Brian Schmidt Today we offer a best of from our vault here at The Star Spot. We dug back to a fan favourite, our December 2014 interview with Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt, who won the biggest prize in science for discovering the accelerating universe. The 1929 discovery of the expanding universe by Edwin Hubble forever changed our picture of the cosmos and our understanding of our place in the universe. In 1998 we learned that wasn’t the only surprise. That’s when two teams...

Duration:00:31:29

Episode 166: Nanodiamonds are Forever, with Jane Greaves

6/9/2019
Feature Guest: Jane Greaves Remember that nursery rhyme, “Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky?” Well they were on to something, because it turns out diamonds - albeit nanodiamonds - are ubiquitous across the Milky Way galaxy. So-called diamond dust is even here in our own solar system. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Professor Jane Greaves, whose team made the discovery that unexpectedly solved a long standing astronomical mystery. Current in Space Simon explains...

Duration:00:28:06

Episode 165: Landing on Europa, with Cynthia Phillips

5/26/2019
Feature Guest: Cynthia Phillips In the 1970s, the Viking landers performed historic experiments aimed at detecting life in the Martian soil. The results were disappointing although to this day still not entirely conclusive. Now over 40 years later a new lander with a next generation set of life detection equipment is under assessment by NASA. This time the target is not the Red Planet, but the ocean moon Europa, which has emerged as a prime candidate in the search for life in the solar...

Duration:00:52:32

Episode 164: Jupiter's Ancient Odyssey, with Simona Pirani

4/28/2019
Feature Guest: Simona Pirani The planet Jupiter occupies a position today that is far from its home 4.5 billion years ago, a destination resulting from a primeval migration that started way out around the current location of Uranus. Like the god for which it was named, Jupiter enjoys the company of thousands of followers, the so-called trojan asteroids, which have remained by its side all these years, and they now offer a window into the murky origins of the gas giant. Today we’re joined...

Duration:00:33:29

Episode 163: The Ring Worlds of Saturn, with Bonnie Buratti

4/14/2019
Feature Guest: Bonnie Buratti The spacecraft Cassini went out in spectacular fashion, travelling through Saturn’s rings for a final death dive into the gas giant. Even in its final heroic moments, Cassini was relaying back data shedding light on the bizarre worlds known as the ring moons of Saturn. The origin of these small bodies, which manage to maintain orbits within the turbulent environment of Saturn’s rings, pose a a puzzle for scientists. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by...

Duration:00:40:51

Episode 162: The End is Nowhere Near Nigh, with Fred Adams

3/17/2019
Feature Guest: Fred Adams If you thought the far distant future of our universe was going to be bleak, dreary and dark, well, you’d be right. But remember, the universe is still just a baby and it has many new experiences ahead of it. Over the many trillions of years of its unimaginably long life, new processes will take over, new forms of galactic structure will emerge and types of stars that have never existed will come to populate the galaxy. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by...

Duration:00:36:41

Episode 161: The Boom Time of the Universe, with Rosemary Wyse

3/3/2019
Feature Guest: Rosemary Wyse The universe is past its prime, by about 8 to 10 billion years. Sorry if you missed it. From the rate of star formation to the frequency of galactic mergers, the cosmos just isn’t what it used to be. Yet remarkably all is not lost, for there’s an astronomical archeology available to us. It turns out stars retain a memory of their ancient origins and galaxies hold clues to their own violent histories. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Professor Rosemary...

Duration:00:32:23

Episode 160: Boom to Bust Part 1: Before the Beginning, with Katrin Heitmann

2/17/2019
Feature Guest: Katrin Heitmann The Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto, hosted its annual signature symposium event on Friday, February 15th, 2019. This year’s theme was “Boom to Bust,”with three keynote speakers covering, in turn, the birth, life and death of the cosmos. Once again The Star Spot was privileged to be on location to cover the event. And now in a special three episode series, we’re joined by each fascinating speaker as...

Duration:00:32:21