Science Podcasts

Naked Astronomy episode

Tue, 24th May 2011

The Birth of Sunspots and Black Hole Collisions

Sun Spots (c) SiriusB

How are sunspots born?  What does a black hole collision look like?  How long does it take to make a full-size galaxy?  This month on Naked Astronomy, we find out why people searching for pulsars might spot colliding black holes in their data, how galaxies may form quicker than predicted, and where in the sun sunspots first arise.  Plus, news from gravity probe B, why there’s no more space on the moon for craters, and how as many as half of all hot Jupiters may be spinning the wrong way.

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In this edition of Naked Astronomy

Full Transcript

  • 01:21 - Results from Gravity Probe B

    Results from Gravity Probe B test and support Einstein's theories of relativity - and have only been 50 years in the making! The results confirm that massive objects really do warp spacetime, even dragging it along as they spin...

  • 04:17 - Orbiting the Wrong Way

    Up to half of all hot Jupiters may orbit their parent star contrary to the star's direction of rotation. New models suggest that they may be flipped by interaction with another body in the solar system...

  • 08:36 - Topology of the Moon

    Data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has given us a unique insight into the "roughness" of the moon's surface, telling a story of meteor bombardment throughout lunar history...

  • 11:36 - Molecular Gas from Galaxies

    Molecular gas streaming away from galaxies has been spotted by the Herschel Telescope. This gas could be responsible for limiting galactic growth, and streams out at such speed that it raises important questions about where its energy comes from...

  • 14:23 - Io's Magma Middle

    Jupiter's moon Io is known to be highly volcanically active - now, data collected by the Gallileo craft looking at the interaction between Io and Jupiter's magnetic fields suggests that there's a global magma ocean in Io’s interior...

  • 18:03 - Colliding Black Holes in Pulsar Data

    Pulsar hunters search for tell tale repeated signals in masses of data - and sometimes they spot something unusual. Evan Keane, from the Max Planck Institute in Bonn, Germany, explains how he's spotted a signal that may originate from colliding black holes, but unless we can ge...

  • 24:23 - Fact Impact - Mars

    Fact Impact: A high-speed run-down of facts about Mars...

  • The Andromeda Galaxy (c) John Lanoue

    26:44 - How fast do Galaxies Grow?

    How quickly galaxies form and evolve is still something of an unanswered astronomical question. New evidence suggests that some of the most massive objects in the universe stopped growing around 7 billion years ago, challenging the assumption that growth through galactic merger...

  • Sun Spots (c) SiriusB

    31:38 - Birth of a Sunspot

    Using the Solar Dynamics Observatory, researchers have watched a sunspot being born over the course of eight hours, giving us an unprecidented view of how sunspots form and evolve. Stephane Regnier, from the University of Central Lancashire, explains how sunspots are created, a...

  • 38:17 - Why is the Sun yellow?

    Why is the Sun yellow?

  • 40:26 - How are the spectra of different elements discriminated in starlight?

    Hello naked astronomers!   my question is regarding spectroscopy, since the light coming to earth from the stars is coming in "one go", how do we separate the different materials composing that star? lets say that the absorption light spectrum of oxygen and carbon put 'one on t...

  • 45:15 - What gravitational waves would you expect from a black hole merger?

    I love your podcasts! Keep up the good work. I have a question as to what sort of gravitational wave signal would be expected from (say) the merger of two black holes; would it be a single pulse (a soliton wave) or would you expect something like an earthquake, which rings for...

  • 49:29 - Do black holes rotate?

    I am helping my son with his science project. A lot goes over my hear but with black holes I have this question. If the gravity of a Black Hole is as strong as it is, does it rotate? And if it rotates does it create a magnetic field like the one Earth has, creating those jets of...

  • 52:13 - Would two grains of sand attract and collide in an empty universe?

    I actually have more questions that you'd like me to ask, but one of them I tried to figure out on my own, and failed. Imagine, for a moment, an empty universe, to avoid interference. We then place two grains of sand, or something else if you wish, a great distance apart, say...

  • 53:57 - Why don't we site telescopes in Antarctica?

    I listen to the Naked Astronomy podcast all the time, and have a question no one has yet addressed that I have heard. Since Antarctica is so dry, a desert actually, if cold, and is suppose to be with the highest average elevation, why do we not put telescopes on one or more of i...

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Interesting show.

I would note that you oversimplify the rotation of the planets somewhat.

Venus and Uranus have a retrograde spin, although it doesn't really change the overall conclusions.  Several moons also have retrograde rotation, but perhaps those are captured moons.

CliffordK, Fri, 27th May 2011

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