Audio: Binary Wolf-Rayet Stars

Wolf-Rayet stars are big, violent and living on borrowed time. Put two of these stars destined to explode as supernovae in a binary system, and you’ve got an extreme environment, to say the least. Sean Dougherty, an astronomer at the Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics in Canada has used the Very Long Baseline Array radio telescope to track a binary Wolf-Rayet system. The two stars are blasting each other with ferocious stellar winds. This is one fight we’re going to stay well away from.

Listen to the interview: Wolf Rayat Binary Stars (4.2 mb)

Or subscribe to the Podcast:

Audio: Dark Energy Stars

Black holes… you know. Cosmic singularities that can contain the mass of billions of stars like our Sun. Where the pull of gravity is so strong, nothing, not even light can escape their fearsome grasp. They’re the source of much discussion, indirect observation and science fiction speculation. But according to George Chapline from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, they don’t exist. Instead we have dark energy stars, which are connected to that mysterious force accelerating the expansion of the Universe.

Listen to the interview: Dark Energy Stars (5.1 mb)

Or subscribe to the Podcast:

Audio: Sedna Loses Its Moon

Remember Sedna? It’s that icy object uncovered last year in the outer reaches of the Solar System. When it was first discovered, astronomers noticed it rotated once every 20 days. The only explanation that could explain this slow rotation was a moon, but a moon never showed up in any of their observations. Scott Gaudi is a researcher with the Harvard Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics. He and his colleagues have been watching the rotation of Sedna with a skeptical eye, and think it’s only rotating once every 10 hours or so. As for the moon? Easy come, easy go.

Listen to the interview: sedna.mp3 (3.8 mb)

Or subscribe to the Podcast:

More Radio Shows to Listen To

A mentioned a few months ago that I always tune a couple of science radio programs through the Internet: CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, and NPR’s Talk of the Nation Science Friday. Since then, I’ve turned up a few more shows to listen to on a regular basis. One is, which has dedicated streams just for space and astronomy. Another is the science programs on BBC Radio 4 which have been nicely archived for your listening pleasure. And Australia’s ABC has The Science Show.

My new favorite, however, is The Space Show, hosted by Dr. David Livingston. Each program is a 90-minute interview with a space scientist or advocate. I’m astonished and jealous at the caliber of guests Dr. Livingston has been able to get to interview. Give it a listen.

Do you have any other suggestions for radio shows to listen to? Send them in… I’m all ears.

Fraser Cain
Universe Today