Brad (@btucker22) tells us about his research using the Keppler Space Telescope and how its successor TESS is generating great science already. He tells us how astrophysicists use a variety of tools to measure how the universe is changing over time. He explains how remote observing has radically changed the way astronomy is done around the world and how we now use telescopes with 100 times the light collecting area of the Hubble telescope and use lasers to correct for disturbances in the atmosphere. If you thought your 12 inch Dobbie was big, and it is, consider that researchers are now building telescopes with 25 to 30 metre mirrors.
In our regular segment for astrophotographers and observers, Dr Ian ‘Astroblog’ Musgrave presents ‘What’s Up Doc?’. In this episode he tells us about the planets, the Geminid meteor shower and comets currently visible to the naked eye.
Now here’s some more good news.
This episode features our short formal interview with Brad.
But he also took us on a grand tour of the Mt Stromlo observatory and the new National space test facility. he showed us the monster satellite vacuum test chamber, the extreme heat/freeze satellite test chamber and the test bed that simulates the forces that satellites experience on launch. If satellites as small as cubesats and as large as 3m by 3m pass these extreme tests, they are certified to launch into space.
We kept the recorder rolling during this great tour with Brad, and we will publish this astonishing episode early in our 2019 season.
Till then, enjoy the holiday break and have a very happy and safe festive season.
Finally, a special thank you to the 26 astrophysicists, researchers and astrophotographers, and especially Dr Ian Musgrave, who gave their time, knowledge and experience so generously this year to bring you the Astrophiz podcasts.
See you early next year!
In the News:
.1. Dr Brad Tucker & team find a unique Type 1A Supernova. Brad, the star of this episode, excuse the pun, is one of the lead researchers who used the Kepler space telescope in coordination with ground-based telescopes to witness the first moments of a supernova exploding and dying in unprecedented detail.
Using Keppler to look back in time 170 million years, along with an array of high-powered telescopes detected the light emanating from the supernova SN 2018oh.
“Kepler—in its final days before running out of fuel and being retired—observed the minute changes in brightness of the star’s explosion from its very beginnings, while the ground-based telescopes detected changes in colour and the atomic make-up of this dying star,”
.2. Australian Home for our National Space Agency announced. Adelaide in South Australia, home of the Woomera Rocket Range that first launched. At its peak, the complex had an area of 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi), Australia’s first satellite, WRESAT was launched from Woomera in 1967. A couple of things to note with some embarrassment. 50 years after our first launch into space we have allowed our capability to evaporate and our Space agency has a $26M government investment over 3 years. To put that into perspective, our government has committed $50 million to a memorial to Captain Cook, the Englishman who first interacted with our indigenous population. On top of that, current legislation prevents any launch from Australian soil from going beyond 100Km into space. So yeah, we have a space agency.
.3. the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aimed three of its science instruments toward asteroid Bennu and began making the mission’s first observations of the asteroid….. and found water. Life as we know it, loves water, so watch Bennu & OSIRISs REx, their could be a feast in store!
.4. China’s Chang’e 4 Launched to the far side of the moon.
.5. Virgin Galactic had a successful Space flight, paving the way for space tourism.
.6. Weeks after NASA’s Parker Solar Probe made the closest-ever approach to a star, the science data from the first solar encounter is just making its way into the hands of the mission’s scientists.
.7. Japan’s JAXA Minerva II-1 rovers have sent back 200 photos in the search for a suitable landing site on asteroid Ryugu. The rovers were dropped by the unmanned Hayabusa2 spacecraft onto Ryugu, about 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth, in September to collect data and surface information prior to landing, collecting samples and returning back to earth with them.
.8. NASA’s Insight lander is sending home some great selfies as it prepares to drill 5 metres down into Mars to check its pulse with seismograph readings
.9. Do a simple search on the internet for ’the sound of martian winds’ Thank’s to Insight, it’s the first time we have eavesdropped on the breath of another planets winds. It’s pretty eerie.
.10. And finally, our Parkes Telescope and the NASA/CSIRO DSN at Tidbinbilla have conformed that Voyager II has sailed beyond the heliosphere, not quite interstellar space, but close enough for many to celebrate another milestone in our quest to understand our universe.