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The February episode was posted yesterday and features an interview with NOAO astronomer Letezia Stanghellini about her research on Buckyballs in planetary nebula, titled Buckyballs in Space. Buckyballs are unique molecules made out of pure carbon that would look like a soccer ball if you magnified them. They are very strong with a lot of unique properties and potential applications in medicine.I am working on the March edition today...stay tuned for more!
The Mercury Messenger spacecraft is just about to go into orbit in March. It's has taken years to get to this point. Messenger has already done a couple of flybys of Mercury, but it has a lot of time to kill while getting line up for its orbital insertion.
In November, Messenger turned its cameras outward to look at the other planets in the solar system. They just released the image today. Here it is.
You can see all the planets except Uranus and Neptune. The positions of where they would be are marked (sorry Pluto, you don't count in this one). Messenger is not exactly in the plane of the solar system (the ecliptic) so it had to point its camera slightly up or down to see all the planets resulting in that curved shape. If you look closely between Neptune and Mars, you can see the Milky Way!Every time we see our solar system from a new perspective, it gives us a little better idea of our place in the universe. I just love when NASA takes the time to let their craft capture these unique images!
I have been busy but want to get back into the habit of more frequent blogs again. I will kick that off by posting something I have meant to for a long time: the science and tech podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. Some of these are tech, some science, some specifically astronomy. I know there are a lot of great shows out there and I can't listen to them all so feel free to add your favorites in the comments. All of these are free subscriptions so there is no excuse not to try them if you think they look interesting!
I am putting these in alphabetical order since that's the way they display on iTunes!
Are We Alone : AWA as it is known is a weekly podcast from the SETI Institute. Seth Shostak, Molly Bentley and the gang tackle a different topic each week in a lighthearted, humorous manner, interviewing a wide variety of scientists in the process.
Astronomy Cast : Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain take you on a weekly facts based journey through the cosmos in the form of an informal conversation. If I ever go back to teaching, I would love to use this series instead of a textbook for an introductory astronomy course. Yes, it's that good.
Buzz Out Loud : BOL is a daily podcast "of indeterminate length" about developments in the tech world. Quirky, funny and informative. You will be hooked after you hear your first "Molly rant".
Geologic Podcast : Not quite a hard science/tech podcast but I think it belongs here anyway. Skeptic/musician George Hrab, well how to describe it. He can talk passionately about music, science, skepticism and any other weird thing that happens to him that week. Careful if you listen to it in the gym...I don't want anyone dropping weights on themselves from laughter!
IT Conversations : IT Convserations is a channel dedicated to information technology. I found them carrying the series Tech Nation with Dr. Moria Gunn. There is much more here as they carry talks from TED and many annual meetings including the O'Reilly Emerging Media Conference, Web 2.0, Where 2.0, Emerging Telephony and many others. I don't listen to every show in this feed because there are so many and lots of them are very technical in areas outside my areas of interest (although I imagine others would love them). Still there are a lot of gems in this feed.
Naked Astronomy : Monthly podcast on astronomy news with typical British humor.
The Naked Scientists : Weekly science podcast with British wit (this week: What makes mucas green?)
Nature Podcast : Weekly podcast from the journal Nature, one of the big names in science journals.
Science Friday : NPR's weekly podcast with Ira Flatow that covers current science stories.
The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe : "Your Escape to Reality" starts each show. SGU takes on pseudoscience, medical quackery, and doomsday nonsense every week. They will feel like old friends after a few weeks.
Skeptoid : Brian Dunning's short (~10 minutes) weekly podcast takes on a different topic each week. Well researched and entertaining.
This Week in Science : "The Kick Ass Science Podcast" is the tag line. They do their best to live up to it with fun and interesting conversations on the latest science news.
This Week in Tech : A long and leisurely review of the week's tech news with Leo Laporte and friends.
WNYCs Radio Lab : Radio Lab is a very well produces series that explores different topics in science. My big complaint is that they don't air episodes more frequently, but they put a lot of time and effort into each show.
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast : Originally conceived for the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, it just keeps going. Each day features about a 10 minute podcast on a different topic produced by professional and amateur astronomers from around the world. I am producing one a month for the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (we have the 17th of each month), work on the Dark Skies podcasts we produce and do some on topics of personal interest as well.
As you can tell, I listen to a lot of podcasts while running, at the gym, commuting and at home. With all the free content out there presented in different styles, there is no excuse not to be well informed (oh, and I listen to things OTHER than science podcasts as well, but that is another blog!)
Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.
From HOT Government UPDATE on the pending elimination of Cable Access Racine / CAR 25 (aka Belle TV.) The Finance and Personnel Committe...