Podcast: Explosions in Space

by Astronomy Cast on December 13, 2012

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We’ve all seen the classic science fiction space explosions, full of flames and loud sounds. Beautiful on the screen but, totally lacking in any kind of… science. What’s wrong with science fiction? What would chemical and nuclear explosions really look like? What would we hear? And what are some natural explosions that nature detonates in space?

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“Explosions in Space” on the Astronomy Cast website, with shownotes and transcript.

And the podcast is also available as a video, as Fraser and Pamela now record Astronomy Cast as part of a Google+ Hangout:

tenstripe December 14, 2012 at 1:15 AM

I think there could be a sound if explosive gasses came into contact with me, but I would not take off my helmet to find out. If I were an astronaut near an explosion.

Zoutsteen from Holland December 14, 2012 at 10:15 AM

things that go boom …. but not quite a Big Bang. Is Dark Energy the lazy brother that didn’t felt the Big Bang the way Baryonic matter did and just kept on moving where Baryonic matter thought that Gravity had won this round? I know one answer to what is normally considered lazy … its inertia.

Torbjörn Larsson December 14, 2012 at 5:48 PM

No, dark energy is constant, not particulate.

Inertia is not “lazy”, but resistance to change, i.e. setting up a reactive force. As it equals massenergy, it has many contributing mechanisms (strong force, Higgs field, gravity, …)

Torbjörn Larsson December 14, 2012 at 5:46 PM

The setting of this topic always makes me laugh. Even if you make one part of a movie compatible with science, the whole concept of a movie with artificial viewers, cuts and even non-causally placed sequences is entirely non-compatible. Any explosion can very well be thought of as been heard by a microphone (observer) separate from the camera (another observer), or added for effect. That is _the whole point_ of the movie, to tell a subjective story.

Beautiful in theory but, totally lacking in any kind of… movie sense.

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