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The Star Spot

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The Star Spot is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature interviews with guests of wide-ranging backgrounds: scientists, engineers, educators, artists, politicians, and business people. Topics are similarly broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began, from why humans explore space to how we can make space exploration economical. The show also includes a short news segment called Current in Space, bringing you reports on the latest happenings and developments that may be of interest to the space enthusiast.

The Star Spot is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature interviews with guests of wide-ranging backgrounds: scientists, engineers, educators, artists, politicians, and business people. Topics are similarly broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began, from why humans explore space to how we can make space exploration economical. The show also includes a short news segment called Current in Space, bringing you reports on the latest happenings and developments that may be of interest to the space enthusiast.
More Information

Location:

Toronto, ON

Description:

The Star Spot is a space themed podcast and radio show focusing on all aspects of astronomy and space exploration. Episodes feature interviews with guests of wide-ranging backgrounds: scientists, engineers, educators, artists, politicians, and business people. Topics are similarly broad, from the latest space mission to how the universe began, from why humans explore space to how we can make space exploration economical. The show also includes a short news segment called Current in Space, bringing you reports on the latest happenings and developments that may be of interest to the space enthusiast.

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 142: Jupiter Transformed, with Scott Bolton

2/18/2018
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Feature Guest: Scott Bolton It’s our cosmic backyard, and yet our own solar system is still full of surprises. Now it turns out we were “totally wrong” when it comes to just about everything we thought we knew about Jupiter. That’s not me speaking, it’s Scott Bolton, principal investigator for the NASA Juno mission to Jupiter. From its magnetic field and atmosphere down to its very core, Jupiter is being rediscovered and transformed. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Dr. Bolton to...

Duration:00:39:14

Episode 141: The Mysterious Origin of Superpowerful Radio Blasts, with Jason Hessels

2/4/2018
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Feature Guest: Jason Hessels The one thing we thought we knew about fast radio blasts was that these mysterious one-off phenomena must be associated with some of the most cataclysmic events in the universe. Then everything changed with last month’s announcement of the first ever detection of a source of repeating fast radio bursts. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by co-discover Jason Hessels to rule on an important question: are scientists back to the drawing board or did they just...

Duration:00:33:05

Episode 140: How Humans Are Healing the Ozone Hole… and Might Just Solve Other Environmental Problems, with Susan Strahan

1/21/2018
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Feature Guest: Susan Strahan While human activity is what created the ozone hole, scientists just announced direct evidence that human activity is now responsible for healing that damage. That makes the Montreal Protocol, which banned the emission of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, along with other ozone depleting substances, the most successful international environmental agreement to date. Today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Dr. Susan Strahan, who lead a team that studied the reduction of...

Duration:00:33:05

Episode 139: Can Alien Life Hitch a Ride on Space Dust?, with Arjun Berera

1/7/2018
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Feature Guest: Arjun Berera Many of you are familiar with the idea of panspermia, the theory that life spreads itself throughout the galaxy by travelling from one world to another. We often think of big objects like asteroids, comets or spacecraft. But a new idea has emerged, and it’s must smaller: dust. Astronomer Arjun Berera joins me here at The Star Spot to discuss his new study, which considers whether alien life can hitchhike between planets on streams of space dust and if life on...

Duration:00:29:33

Episode 138: Making Contact, with Jill Tarter

12/10/2017
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Feature Guest: Jill Tarter Alien hunting pioneer Jill Tarter often says the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is a way for us to hold a mirror to ourselves. Now in a recently released biography, that statement takes on personal significance and reveals the intimate connection between SETI and the life of its most famous icon. Today we’re honoured to have Jill Tarter return to The Star Spot to discuss her life; the tragedies and triumphs of youth, the moment when the alien...

Duration:00:53:51

Episode 137: An Alien Asteroid in Our Solar System, with Alan Stern

11/26/2017
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Feature Guest: Alan Stern There’s an intruder in our solar system. This fall we were invaded by the first interstellar space traveller, an elongated, cigar shaped alien asteroid. The mysterious object was ejected from its distant and unknown home, travelling for millions or billions of years before coming to pass between the Earth and the sun. On today’s episode of The Star Spot we’re joined by Dr. Alan Stern, principal investigator for the New Horizons mission to Pluto, to explain how the...

Duration:00:26:57

Episode 136: So You Want to Become an Astronaut?, with Cordell Grant

11/12/2017
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Feature Guest: Cordell Grant On June 17, 2016, the Canadian Space Agency launched the nation’s fourth astronaut recruitment campaign. 3,772 applications were received. One year later only two were chosen. Candidates have described the grueling selection process as the greatest challenge of their lives. To understand how we identify the best of the best, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by Cordell Grant, who neared the finish line and was among the top 72 candidates to become Canada’s...

Duration:00:44:45

Episode 135: Studying Cosmic Alchemy with Gravitational Waves, with Michael Landry

10/29/2017
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Feature Guest: Michael Landry The alchemists never did succeed in turning elements into gold and silver, and now we know why. It takes the merger of two neutron stars to produce these and other precious metals. That was the headline just two weeks ago when astronomers reported the first ever detection of gravitational waves from this so-called kilonova event. With this discovery we enter a new era. Today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Dr. Michael Landry, head of the LIGO observatory...

Duration:00:43:29

Episode 134: Searching for Aliens All-Sky All-the-Time, with Bill Diamond

10/1/2017
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Feature Guest: Bill Diamond The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, is undergoing a revolution. There was once a time when the search for alien signals involved an exhausting and painstaking point by point search of each and every possible location in the sky, one at a time. Now with a new project called Laser SETI we have the first-ever all-sky all-the-time search. And today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by SETI Institute President Bill Diamond to discuss the promise...

Duration:00:49:16

Episode 133: Discovering an Asteroid Family Unchanged Since the Birth of the Solar System, with Marco Delbo

9/17/2017
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Feature Guest: Marco Delbo The main belt asteroids are among the most ancient of all bodies in the solar system. This summer astronomers announced the discovery of what’s being called a primordial asteroid family. These asteroids are so old that their formation predates the migration of Jupiter, which may have passed through the asteroid belt while travelling to its current location in the solar system. Today the discovery team leader Marco Delbo joins us here at The Star Spot to explain...

Duration:00:45:04

Episode 132: Does Titan Harbour the Building Blocks of Life?, with Ravi Desai

9/3/2017
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Feature Guest: Ravi Desai It was recently reported that Saturn’s moon Titan harbours complex chemistry the likes of which we’ve never before seen in our solar system. On today’s episode of The Star Spot, the leader of the discovery Ravi Desai explains the implication of discovering these building blocks of life on a world that many are now calling the most habitable location beyond Earth. Current in Space Good news from Tony. The ocean worlds of Europa and Enceladus will be prime targets...

Duration:00:34:35

Episode 131: Heavy Metal Explosion: The Rockstars of the Supernova World, with Matt Nicholl

8/20/2017
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Feature Guest: Matt Nicholl If you thought a supernova was powerful, time to meet its bigger brother, the superluminous supernova. They’ve been described as the rockstars of the supernova world and if one were to go off in our galaxy it would outshine the full moon. Yes, you heard that right. Now until recently we thought such stupendous events were confined to fantastically distant dwarf galaxies, far off and unusual parts of our universe. But now a remarkable new discovery has changed...

Duration:00:30:39

Episode 130: There Are How Many More Comets!?, with James Bauer

8/6/2017
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Feature Guest: James Bauer A team of astronomers studying long-period comets has just reached a startling conclusion. The solar system is home to seven times more of these large icy bodies than we previously thought. This according to team lead James Bauer, who joins us here at The Star Spot. How does this discovery affect our understanding of solar system formation? Were there once supermassive ancient comets which broke apart? And did we just massively increase the chance of a cometary...

Duration:00:32:09

Episode 129: Building on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, with Danny Steeghs

7/23/2017
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Feature Guest: Danny Steeghs Gravitational wave astronomy was born less than 2 years ago when scientists made the first ever detection of gravitational waves coming from the merger of two distant massive black holes. To build on the emergence of this revolutionary new science, a new project has just come online. Meet the Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer, or GOTO. This array of intelligent autonomous telescopes is now standing by and at the first sign of gravitational waves...

Duration:00:36:08

Episode 128: A Shocking Theory About the Multiverse, with Dan Falk

7/9/2017
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Feature Guest: Dan Falk What if everything we see in our universe is not all that there is. The concept of the multiverse has captured the imagination of both physicists and cosmologists, but for very different reasons. According to the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, every quantum event triggers the creation of new parallel universes. Meanwhile many cosmologists studying the beginning of the universe have come to believe that inflation is an eternal process forever...

Duration:00:46:50

Episode 127: When Day Becomes Night, with Dan Falk

6/25/2017
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Feature Guest: Dan Falk They once portended the collapse of civilization. Well the solar eclipse visiting North America this summer probably won’t spell the end of days. But as our guest Dan Falk will explain astronomers and lay people alike are in for an unforgettable experience on August 21st, when day literally turns to night. Current in Space Data dump? Oh yes just another 200 or so alien worlds discovered by Kepler. About Our Guest Dan Falk is an award winning science journalist...

Duration:00:45:10

Episode 126: SpaceX: A New Paradigm for Space Exploration, with Chris Prophet

6/11/2017
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Feature Guest: Chris Prophet SpaceX has blasted into the aerospace world, seemingly overnight, bringing with it a new low cost model for accessing space. But this paradigm shifting company has set its sights much higher, with a promise to send humans to Mars, to live, colonize and even terraform the red planet. And behind it all stands Elon Musk. The visionary futurist claims he will not stop until he’s broken through the government inertia and overwhelming technological challenge in his...

Duration:00:41:59

Episode 124: The Best Candidate for Life, with Jason Dittmann

5/14/2017
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Feature Guest: Jason Dittmann Just last month, April 2017, astronomers announced the discovery of an extrasolar planet that has the best shot at harbouring life outside our solar system. To find out what makes LHS 1140b so special and what steps are planned to learn more about this potential alien home, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by the discovery team’s leader Dr. Jason Dittmann. Current in Space The famous nearby star Epsilon Eridani harbours a solar system eerily similar to...

Duration:00:29:16

Episode 123: Dark Matter Bridging the Galaxies, with Michael Hudson

4/30/2017
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Feature Guest: Michael Hudson If you’re like most people you probably think of galaxies as islands of stars, separate and isolated cities of our universe. But it turns out these cities are connected through a vast web of highways known as dark matter bridges. To help us understand the origin and role of this cosmic scaffolding today we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Professor Michael Hudson. Current in Space Astronomers have discovered a pulsar that’s coming back from near death,...

Duration:00:31:09

Episode 122: What if the Sun had a Sibling?, with Quinn Konopacky

4/16/2017
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Feature Guest: Quinn Konopacky The 14th annual Expanding Canada’s Frontiers symposium was hosted on January 27th, 2017 by the Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, a student group based at the University of Toronto. This year’s unique theme was “What Ifs: Is the Impossible, Possible?”! In this special three episode series, we’re joined here at The Star Spot by the event’s keynote speakers as we explore three provocative questions at the cutting edge of astronomy. How would things be...

Duration:00:30:52

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