Naked Astronomy

Naked Astronomy episode

Sat, 25th Feb 2012

Naked Astronomy AstroFest Special

Kepler 16-b - the planet with two suns (c) NASA/JPL-Caltech

Is an asteroid impact more likely than winning the lottery?  What can Moon rock tell us about the Earth?  And how did a biology teacher discover a new astronomical object?  In this Naked Astronomy AstroFest special, we'll ask if the Kepler observatory is ushering in a new scientific revolution, meet Hanny van Arkel, who discovered Hanny's Voorwerp on citizen science project Galaxy Zoo and find out why one former MP thinks we should be concerned about being hit by an asteroid...

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In this edition of Naked Astronomy


  • Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska  The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, shines above Bear Lake (c) Photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang

    01:29 - Understanding the Aurora

    Not only are the aurora beatiful to behold, they're also scientifically interesting. Paal Brekke from the Norwegian Space Agency explains how the aurora have fascinated people throughout history, and can inform us about both the Sun and our own atmosphere...

  • Johannes Kepler, c. 1610 (c) Unknown artist

    06:20 - The New Keplerian Revolution

    The Kepler observatory is named after Johannes Kepler, who first devised the laws of planetary motion, paving the way for Newton's laws of gravity. Launched in 2009, it's now providing data for a new Keplerian revolution...

  • Active Galactic Nucleus (c) NASA/ESA

    14:55 - Explaining AstroFest

    AstroFest is an annual celebration of space science, and this month's Naked Astronomy podcast features interviews with just a handful of the speakers at the 2012 event. Ian Ridpath explains more...

  • Hanny's Voorwerp and IC 2497 taken by Wide Field Camera 3 of the Hubble Space Telescope. (c) NASA, ESA, W. Keel (University of Alabama), and the Galaxy Zoo Team

    20:57 - Hanny's Voorwerp & Citizen Science

    How can you discover a new astronomical object in your spare time? Hanny van Arkel, biology teacher and discoverer of Hanny's Voorwerp, explained how citizen science projects like Galaxy Zoo can expand your horizons...

  • 26:32 - Looking to the Moon to Understand the Earth

    How can rocks collected from the Moon give us a window into Earth's past? Noah Petro, lunar geologist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, explains...

  • The Andromeda Galaxy (c) John Lanoue

    34:13 - What's Happening in Andromeda?

    Is our galaxy normal, or are we unique? to answer this question we need to study other galaxies, and where better to start than our nearest neighbour, Andromeda?

  • VLT Image of Intriguing Object near Young Brown Dwarf (c) European Southern Observatory

    38:37 - Better Understanding of Brown Dwarfs

    Brown Dwarfs bridge the gap between the largest planets and the smallest stars - but what are these enigmatic objects? David Pinfield explains more...

  • Gaspra Asteroid (c) NASA

    47:18 - Being Prepared for Near Earth Objects

    How should we prepare for catastrophic asteroid impact? And what are the odds? Why could our fate be tied up with the Oort Cloud? Lembit Opik sheds some light on some worrying questions...

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