Science Podcasts

Naked Astronomy episode

Mon, 24th Oct 2011

Blue Stragglers and the Polarised Universe

Image of NGC 6397 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, with evidence of a number of blue stragglers. (c) NASA

What are the mysterious blue straggler stars?  In this month’s Naked Astronomy we’ll find out why some stars stand out from the crowd, as well as investigate the polarity of the universe.  Plus, we hear the latest news from the Royal Astronomical Society, and take on your questions on rocket stability, detecting dark matter and our place in the universe.

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In this edition of Naked Astronomy

Full Transcript

  • 14:27 - How the Milky Way killed off its satellites

    Models suggest the Milky Way should have far more dwarf galaxies orbiting it than we see - known as the the "missing satelites" problem. New evidence suggests a powerful blast of UV radiation my be to blame...

  • 18:01 - Will the Sun consume Earth before our galaxy collides with Andromeda?

    What will come first Andromeda crashing into the Milky Way or our sun becoming a red giant and consuming our planet? Where is the August and September Naked Astronomy? I am having withdrawal symptoms

  • 20:53 - Why do sunbeams appear to spread out?

    Distance of sun from Earth. I was out, walking my dog this morning, just as the sun came up. There was a thin cloud cover, but the sun's rays were coming through. I noticed that the light rays came in a fanned pattern. If I trace the rays back to a point of origination, I dete...

  • 23:59 - The Origins of Blue Stragglers

    Blue Stragglers are strange stars that don’t seem to fit the standard picture of stellar evolution. New research helps to shed light on their origins...

  • 34:25 - Why are rockets stable?

    Here's my question:  Why are rockets stable? If I try to balance a pencil or a broomstick on my finger, it takes a lot of movement to keep the pencil/broomstick balanced. But rockets, from the space shuttle to model rockets to water rockets, take off without problems.   At spee...

  • 37:43 - Could we terraform the moon?

    I have a question that has been bugging me for a few months and I wondered how would someone go about Terra-forming a planet or our moon? I have only seen different bits and pieces about it on different documentaries but there isn't much information around. Yours sincerely, K...

  • 41:50 - The Polarised Universe

    If you've seen a recent 3D film, you'll know that studying polarised light can be really helpful. The Cosmic Microwave Background is just the same - observing the polarity can tell us about the history of the universe...

  • 47:29 - How do we know the exact position of Earth in the galaxy?

    I am not a scientist, so I hope my questions are not too trifling. I have wondered for years just how anybody knows where the earth, or even our sun for that matter, is located in the Milky Way. Apparently, the earth is located in an outer spiral arm some distance (many light ye...

  • 53:13 - Why are things fundamental to the universe so hard to detect?

    Hi, I enjoy listening to your podcasts very much and am always looking out for them. Alas, the astronomy and archeology do not seem to come any more. Will they resume or have they simply passed away? On another issue, I would like to raise the matter of dark matter and dark...

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