Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 22nd Feb 2009

International Year Of Astronomy

The Milky Way (c) Chris Dick @ Flickr

On this week's stellar Naked Scientists we're staring out into space.  We find out how technology developed to see inside your body can give a whole new dimension to pictures of deep space, we celebrate the launch of the International Year of Astronomy and discover a new type of dwarf galaxy formed from ancient primordial gas clouds.  Also in the mix, overcoming peanut allergies, fat dinosaurs and disguised meningitis bacteria. Plus, we answer Sir David Attenborough's Question of the Week and Ben and Dave build a telescope!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 12:52 - Meningitis in Disguise

    The bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, which is behind the most common form of meningitis, actually wears a disguise to stop itself from being detected by our immune system. Professor Susan Lea explains more...

  • 17:43 - Seeing further - DIY telescope

    Dave builds a makeshift telescope from a pair of magnifying glasses - but be careful not to get dizzy - the image it produces is upside down!

  • 20:42 - How long does it take for heat to reach us from the sun?

    How long does it take for heat to reach us from the sun? It’s about 8 minutes, the distance between the sun and the Earth because light travels at about 1 billion km/h and the sun is about 150 million km away from the Earth.

  • 21:25 - Celebrating the International Year of Astronomy

    We're celebrating the International Year of Astronomy - 400 years since Galileo first made his astronomical observations - but what's going on, and what should we expect to see in the night sky?

  • 28:45 - MRI Scanning the Stars

    Often, technology designed for space travel gives us benefits down here on Earth. This is one example of the opposite - technology developed for interpreting MRI scans gives a whole new dimension to astronomical observations...

  • 35:23 - Dwarf Galaxies from Primordial Clouds

    The universe surprised us recently when NASA's GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) discovered a new dwarf galaxy forming in the Leo ring, without the usual dark matter that would precipitate it's creation...

  • 41:10 - Science of Stargazing & Telescope Technology

    After Dave had built a rudimentary telescope from a pair of magnifying lenses, we asked Dr Carolin Crawford for her opinion, and how it compares to real telescopes...

  • 51:06 - Why do leaf shapes vary so much?

    If you look at trees, often closely-related trees, growing in exactly the same ground in exactly the same climate they have different-shaped leaves. Why? People will say, “it’s the airflow over it in different particular circumstances or the way that the water drips off it,” th...



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Hey, I can't say how much i love your podcast/show! I LOVE all the random questions which have facinating answers and you've inspired me to do my Chemistry/Biology Revision!! Thanks!! Mike - Northwich, Cheshire Michael Perry, Sun, 22nd Feb 2009

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