Science Podcasts

Naked Astronomy episode

Sun, 25th Aug 2013

Mapping out the Milky Way

The Gaia spacecraft (c) European Space Agency

This autumn, the Gaia spacecraft will be launched on a mission to find out where the Milky Way's stars came from. I catch up with two of the astronomers at the Lund Observatory who've worked on designing the spacecraft, and with one of the astronomers who's hoping to use data from the spacecraft to calculate where and when the stars of our galaxy formed.

Plus, I hear about a new technique which is being used to work out what the atmospheres of planets around other stars are made of, and about observations of a recent gamma ray burst which are helping us to unravel what triggers these strange cosmic phenomena.

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In this edition of Naked Astronomy

Full Transcript

  • 01:11 - Planets around other stars

    Astronomers are starting to glean some first clues as to what the atmospheres of planets circling around other stars are like

  • 08:36 - Mapping the Milky Way

    The Gaia spacecraft, scheduled for launch by the European Space Agency this autumn, will make the most detailed map of our galaxy ever made.

  • 41:07 - Is dark matter failed stars or black holes?

    While you do a great job most of the time, sometimes questions remain unanswered. For example, last week, the questioner asked whether someone would either explode or freeze when exposed to space. You said "they will not explode" but you really meant "they will not explode qu...

  • 46:56 - Doing archaeology in the Milky Way

    By dating stars and looking at how they're moving, astronomers are trying to work out where the stars of the Milky Way came from.

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