Science Podcasts

Naked Astronomy episode

Sun, 24th Jun 2012

Plant Pathogens Observed From Orbit

Shark Bay, Western Australia (c) NASA

What can farmers learn from physicists?  This month in Naked Astronomy we’ll find out how satellite imaging can help to understand and control crop diseases, as well as how precisely timed pulsars point to gravitational waves.  Plus, a roundup of space science news and the answers to your astronomy and cosmology questions.

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In this edition of Naked Astronomy


  • Potato with Blight (c) Rasbak at nl.wikipedia

    01:31 - Studying Crop Diseases from Space

    A new project uses satellite imagery to find patterns and spectral changes that can identify crop disease outbreaks, helping prevent the spread of disease...

  • The distant exoplanet TrES-2b, shown here in an artist's conception, is darker than the blackest coal. (c) David A. Aguilar (CfA)

    09:00 - Exoplanets Around Low Metallicity Stars

    Analysis of Kepler data reveals some suprising statistical results about the sorts of planets found around stars of different metallicities...

  • Artists impression of NuSTAR (c) NASA/JPL-Caltech

    13:13 - NuSTAR - a New X-Ray Telescope

    This month saw the launcg of NuSTAR, a new x-ray telescope that should detect "hard" x-rays, from some of the most violent events in the universe...

  • 17:39 - If the Earth stopped spinning, would things get heavier?

    Hello! I know that the rotation of the Earth creates centrifugal force that counteracts the force of gravity. If the Earth stopped spinning, how much heavier would things become? Would we all be crushed by the force of gravity? Thanks so much!!! Regards, Rex

  • 19:24 - Does Mars have a magnetic field?

    Since Mars has no magnetic field, does it have no iron core? If we had the capability and were attempting to terraform Mars, how could we artificially create a robust magnetic field to protect against cosmic rays, etc. Bryan Chapla Southbend, Indiana

  • Jupiter's Great Red Spot (c) NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab

    24:29 - News from the RAS

    Robert Massey brings us the latest news from the Royal Astronomical Society, including a new trick to see the earliest stars, and the occultation of Jupiter coming up on July 15th...

  • 33:45 - How do galaxies collide in an expanding universe?

    Hi Chris, I enjoy listening to you here in South Africa, on Redi's Friday show. If I may ask; I have read several articles forecasting the "imminent" collision of our Milky Way galaxy with that ofAndromeda. I've never been able to understand how galaxies can collide in...

  • Ripples (c) Image * After

    37:07 - Pulsars Point to Gravitational Waves

    Precisely timed pulsars can help to find gravitational waves left behind by massive interactions such as colliding black holes...

  • 47:42 - How will SETI confirm a finding?

    SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has been scanning the heavens for decades and so far have found no hits. Here's the question: if they ever do receive an irrefutably "intelligent" signal, how can they be sure it wasn't either an error (i.e., a signal from earth th...

  • 51:53 - Does lightning happen elsewhere in the universe?

    Hi chris, I have another science question for you and your team to crack. Does lightning happen anywhere else in the universe? And if so, is there any significance? Thanks, Ahmed

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