Comet ISON is coming!

25 October 2013
Presented by Dominic Ford


Path of Comet ISON across the sky, mapped using chocolate stars


As Comet ISON draws near to its close approach with the Sun in November, much uncertainty remains over how brilliant it will be. Dominic Ford speaks to Matthew Bishop at the Lowell Observatory to find out more. He also talks to Apostolos Christou from the Armagh Observatory about a group of asteroids which closely follow the orbit and Mars, and appear to fragments of a much larger pair of asteroids which collided. Tamela Maciel from the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge reports on the lonely exoplanet which doesn't seem to have a parent star, and Kirsten Gottschalk from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research reports that the non-detection of gravitational waves by radio astronomers is starting to rule out some theories of how black holes grow.

In this episode

Comet P1 McNaught, taken from Swifts Creek, Victoria, Australia at approx 10:10 pm.

01:07 - Update on Comet ISON

Comet ISON will pass within two Sun radii of the Sun's surface in November. But astronomers remain unsure how brilliant it will be.

Update on Comet ISON
with Matthew Knight, Lowell Observatory

Transcript to follow.

The asteroid Gaspara

15:01 - Asteroids following Mars's orbit

A group of asteroids following Mars's orbit may be fragments from the collision of much larger asteroids.

Asteroids following Mars's orbit
with Apostolos Christou, Armagh Observatory

Transcript to follow.

 What University of Warwick researchers think the aftermath of a large star being consumed by a black hole at the center of a galaxy 3.8 billion light years distant may have looked like. The event blasted jets of energy from the black hole, one of...

22:47 - How do black holes grow?

When black holes merge, they emit gravitational waves. But no such waves have yet been detected, ruling out some ideas about how they merge.

How do black holes grow?
with Kirsten Gottschalk, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

Transcript to follow.


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