Podcast: The Life of Other Stars

Betelgeuse is a red giant star easily visible in our night sky. Betelgeuse is actally a red super-giant, meaning it has enough mass that it will end as a supernova, rather than as a white dwarf with a planetary nebula. Image credit: Hubble Space Telescope

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Last week we looked at the complete life of the Sun, birth to death. But stars can be smaller, and stars can get much much larger. And with a change in mass, their lives change too. Let’s start the clock again, and see what happens to the smallest stars in the Universe; and what happens to the largest.

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The Life of Other Stars – Transcript and show notes.

Podcast: Running Out of Gravitons and Hitting the Brakes at Light Speed

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Another week, another roundup of your questions. This week listeners asked: if forces are communicated through particles, can we run out? If you were traveling at light speed, when would you know to stop? And there’s even more. If you’ve got a question for the Astronomy Cast team, please email it in to [email protected] and we’ll try to tackle it for a future show.

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Running Out of Gravitons and Hitting the Brakes at Light Speed – Transcript and show notes.

Podcast: The Life of the Sun

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We’ve talked about the Sun before, but this time we’re going to look at the entire life cycle of the Sun, and all the stages it’s going to go through: solar nebula, protostar, main sequence, red giant, white dwarf, and more. Want to know what the future holds for the Sun, get ready for the grim details.

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The Life of the Sun – Transcript and show notes.

Podcast: Questions Show – Light speed, Andromeda Galaxy, Dark Matter and Black Holes

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Another week, another roundup of your questions. This week listeners asked: will reaching light speed destroy the Universe? When is Andromeda going to look really, really cool with the unaided eye? Why didn’t dark matter all turn into black holes? And there’s even more. If you’ve got a question for the Astronomy Cast team, please email it in to [email protected] and we’ll try to tackle it for a future show.

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Questions Show – Light speed, Andromeda Galaxy, Dark Matter and Black Holes show notes.

Podcast: Nucleosynthesis: Elements from Stars

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Look around you. Breathe in some air. Everything you can see and feel was formed in a star. Today we’ll examine that long journey that matter has gone through, forged and re-forged in the hearts of stars. In fact, the device you’re using to listen to this podcast has some elements formed in a supernova explosion.

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Nucleosynthesis: Elements from Stars show notes.

Podcast: Black Hole Surfaces, Magnetic Field Strengths, and the Speed of Gravitons

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As you know, we wanted to answer listener questions regularly, but we found it was taking away from the regular weekly episodes of Astronomy Cast. So we’ve decided to just split it up and run the question shows separately from the regular Astronomy Cast episodes. If this works out, you might be able to enjoy twice the number of Astronomy Cast episodes. So if you’ve got a question on a topic we cover in a recent show, or you just have a general astronomy question, send it in to [email protected] Either by email, or record your question and email in the audio file.

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Black Hole Surfaces, Magnetic Field Strengths, and the Speed of Gravitons show notes.

Podcast: The Search for the Theory of Everything

Einstein and Relativity

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At the earliest moments of the Universe, there were no separate forces, energy or matter. It was all just the same stuff. And then the different forces froze out, differentiating into electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force. Today we’ll look at the problem that has puzzled physicists for generations: is there a single equation that explains all the forces we see in the Universe. Is there a theory of everything?

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The Search for the Theory of Everything show notes.

Podcast: The Strong and Weak Nuclear Forces

Nuclear reactor

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After a quick Dragon*Con break, we’re back to our tour through the fundamental forces of the Universe. We’ve covered gravity and electromagnetism, and now we’re moving onto the strong and weak nuclear forces. We didn’t think they’d really need to be separate episodes, so we’re putting them together. And then we’ll cap the whole series with the quest for the theory of everything.

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The Strong and Weak Nuclear Forces show notes.

Podcast: Advanced Propulsion Systems

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Last week we talked about rockets. How they work and their limitations. This week we’re going to look at the future of propulsion systems. From the ion engines that are already working to explore the Solar System to the prototype solar sails to futuristic technologies like magnetic sails, and bussard ramjets. This is how we’ll travel to other stars.

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Advanced Propulsion System – Show notes and transcript

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