Meeting MIRI and Detecting Dark Matter
Can a mid-infra red view reveal the universe’s secrets? In this month's Naked Astronomy, we meet MIRI, the Mid Infra Red Instrument set to launch on the James Webb Space Telescope. It should give us a glimpse of the very first galaxies and examine the clouds of hydrogen gas spread throughout the universe. We’ll also find out how distorted galaxies can shed light on the distribution of dark matter, discover El Gordo - a newly discovered galaxy cluster.
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Gravitational lensing is allowing us to detect things we otherwise wouldn't be able to see. Oxford University’s Dr Lance Miller explains to Andrew Pontzen how we can use distortions caused by the gravitational pull of dark matter to explore its distribution...
06:42 - Why are there two high tides each day?
Dear Naked Scientist!
I live in Jersey, Channel Islands, where we have some of the highest tides in the world. Sometimes 12 metres on a spring tide.
I can understand the reasons for the tides; the influences of the sun and the moon but one thing that has escaped me is why the...
08:51 - Are the laws of physics the same everywhere?
Firstly, I love the podcast. It's the right blend of basic facts blended with complex concepts which keep the amateur astronomer and scientist like me entertained, educated and never patronised. Thanks for all the ear candy for the last year and more I've been listening.
Robert Massey returns with a roundup of news from the Royal Astronomical Society. This month; The history of astronomical imaging, Near Earth Objects and Auroras above northern Britain...
El Gordo, or "ACT-CL J0102-4915" as it's officially known, is the largest, most distant galaxy cluster ever discovered. At over seven billion light years away, it's extremely distant, but extremely interesting....
The date has been set for the next leap second – June 30th 2012. Leap seconds help to keep our incredibly accurate atomic clocks in line with the varying length of the Earth day. But there is debate around whether we need them at all…
35:57 - Are galaxy distribution maps correct for right now?
Do maps showing galaxy distributions of the universe correct for where they are now. ie an image of a Galaxy 3.5 billion yrs has had 3.5 billion yrs to move to its actual position at this instant in time. How would this affect the maps produced. ?
37:20 - Why do galaxies come in a range of colours?
I have been classifying galaxys on galaxy zoo and I was amazed by the colours of the galaxys. I saw galaxys in bright blue, deep red, yellow and white; why are they such different colours?
40:32 - How does a solar system form?
Given a start point of the gas and bits of dust left over from a supernova, or from a primoridal source - how does a solar system form?
Once planets are formed, how do they get into stable orbits?
45:37 - Did the universe expand faster than light?
If as I believe the universe was many millions of miles across a tiny fraction of a second after the big bang, how does that square with the notion that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light ?
The Mid Infra Red Instrument, or MIRI, is due to fly on the James Webb Space Telescope, and will observe distant galaxies and cold gas and dust. It can observe light with a wavelength of 5 to 27 microns, which is virtually impossible on Earth, where it is absorbed by the atmosp...