Ep. 454: Things We’re Looking Forward To

As we wrap up season 10 of Astronomy Cast, we look forward to all the instruments, missions and science results on the distant horizon. Think astronomy is exciting already? Just you wait.

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This episode is sponsored by:Barkbox

Show Notes

James Webb Space Telescope
WFIRST
LUVOIR Mission
LUVOIR telescope
LUVOIR telescope on Weekly Space Hangout
Parker Solar Probe on Guide to Space

Transcript

Transcription services provided by: GMR Transcription

Pamela: Hi, all. This is Pamela.

It is another wonderful episode that is sponsored by BarkBox.

I love BarkBox. We got a new one in yesterday and, earlier today, I had my dog, Eddie, open it up in the backyard and he dove in snout-first, pulling out a fluffy mammoth toy. This month’s theme is, well, Jurassic Park – except it’s, like, for dogs. And so, it’s Jurassic Park. It’s a good pod and the box included themed toys and snacks and it is awesome.

Each box comes with treats and two toys. And the treats are this combination of something that takes them a few minutes to chew; it keeps them busy for a little while. And then, nice, fairly large treats that you can use when “Hey, I’m getting ready to go. I’m going to trick you into sitting over here and behaving.” And then, there’s just, like, these little, tiny treats that are perfect for – well, I’m still trying to train Eddie to do things other than sit and lay down. And so, I’m getting new trainer treats every month and these are all-natural treats that are made here in the United States and in Canada, which is where my husband is from so I gotta love that.

And this box just brings me more joy than I can possibly articulate because of how much joy it brings my dog. And you can get BarkBox too – and they sponsor Astronomy Cast. And how awesome are all of these things together?

To get your own free extra month of BarkBox, visit barkbox.com/astronomy and subscribe to a 6- or 12-month plan. That’s right. When you get a 6- or 12-month plan, BarkBox will give you one extra month if you go to barkbox.com/astronomy. I hope your dog is as happy as mine and also gets a fluffy mammoth – or something else. There’s lots of coolness.

So, go to BarkBox. Thanks. Bye-bye.

Fraser: Astronomy Cast Episode 454: The Things We’re Looking Forward To

Welcome to Astronomy Cast, our weekly facts-based journey through the cosmos, where we help you understand not only what we know but how we know what we know.

My name is Fraser Cain. I’m the publisher of Universe Today and with me is Dr. Pamela Gay, the director of Technology and Citizen Science at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the director of CosmoQuest.

Ohh, I was so close.

Pamela: You got it. You did get it.

Fraser: I’m not gonna do it again. That’s fine. You know what? It’s just about time for summer vacation. We’re about to take a break. We’re a lot more laid back now. I’m not the absolute perfectionist control freak that I normally am. I’m so not a perfectionist control freak, I think is the point here.

But yeah – hey!

Pamela: Hey!

Fraser: We’re wrapping up another season.

Pamela: We’re wrapping up our –

Fraser: A decade.

Pamela: – 10th – Yeah!

Fraser: Yeah.

Pamela: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of amazing because when we met, your kids were tiny. And they’re now starting to adult.

Fraser: Yeah, they were 3 and 5 when you met them.

Pamela: Right. And they’re very much not. And our careers have gone on and it’s been an amazing ten years. And now, it’s a matter of finding out: Just how wild is the next ten years going to be?

Fraser: Mm-hmm.

Pamela: And that’s the crazy part is astronomy is revolutionizing so fast and our technology has gotten so good that we’re now at the point of: What is the statistical probability, not the “when will they build the tech?”

Fraser: Right.

So, before we get into the actual show part, I want to just give people some – an understanding of what’s going to happen over the course of this summer, when we’re going to be returning and what other stuff is going to be available for them.

So, when we’re recording this on June the 16th, this is the final episode for Season 10. We will then take a break. Typically, we return after Dragoncon; we usually start our next season with whatever thing you record at Dragoncon.

Pamela: But this year, we kind of have this thing called the solar eclipse.

Fraser: Mm-hmm!

Pamela: Where we’re both going to be together, so there may be some surprise episodes coming at you out of that.

Fraser: Yes. When we did the eclipse cruise, we did, I think, four live shows for the fans. So, we’ll probably do the same thing and we’ll generate a bunch of shows and we will deliver them to you probably – I don’t know whether we’re going to do it early or whether we’re going to wait till the actual season starts? We haven’t figured this out yet.

Pamela: See, we need summer to plan the year. And so, the planning has not yet started because it is not yet summer. But this summer, we’re not only planning. One of the big questions we’ve been getting asked is: Will the Patreon Office Hours continue through the summer? And the answer is “yes”.

Fraser: Okay.

Pamela: There will be a one-week break and two weekends while I am in the Netherlands to attend an astronomy conference but, other than when I’m in a foreign country, we’re going to keep going pretty much once a week. And, well, I’m going to be working on plotting things, planning things, building things and sharing that with our patrons for about an hour a week.

Fraser: Perfect.

And we’ve got two more episodes of The Weekly Space Hangout and so, we’ll be wrapping that up at the end of the month. We’re still going to be releasing the Guide to Space and a lot of the other stuff that we’re doing over on my YouTube channel. Obviously, Universe Today will continue. No rest for the wicked.

And then, yeah – we use this summer to organize and refresh and come back at the end of the summer with lots of new content, into Season 11. So, that’s going to be exciting.

Alright. Well, let’s – Now we may begin.

As we wrap up Season 10 of Astronomy Cast, we look forward to all the instruments, missions and science results – We’re looking forward to but – Who wrote this? Think astronomy is exciting already? Just you wait.

So, I guess the point of this episode is, you know, both of us – Well, as a reporter, I am looking at all of the new missions that are upcoming; all the new instruments. And we do a lot of stories about this because I always get so excited about what the future holds.

But you actually worked on the decadal survey, right? So, you actually helped plan some of the missions and instruments and technologies that are going to be coming out, right?

Pamela: It’s true.

So, I think the big thing we have to look forward to is two-fold – but I need to stress this is me speaking as human being who is an academic who worked as a human being on the decadal survey, not as representative of NASA – so, all the caveats in play. These are my personal opinions; my personal, professional opinions. Okay.

So, I think the two coolest things we have in the field of astronomy coming down the pipeline are the James Webb Space Telescope and then, WFIRST.

WFIRST is going to try and figure out what dark energy is. And this is something where, unlike dark matter, we don’t even have a beginning point for. Dark matter – we know it’s stuff; we know it just doesn’t like the electromagnetic force. Dark energy – we don’t know if it’s a pressure, a force, an underlying field; we don’t know. And WFIRST is going to work to, in detail, map out its effects and start giving us the kinds of clues that we got, for instance, from gravitational microlensing about dark matter; the kinds of clues that at least allow us to figure out what domain of physics dark energy belongs to.

Now, beyond that, with the James Webb Space Telescope, unlike WFIRST, it is a completely flexible instrument. It is something that is going to allow people to apply for different kinds of times to do different kinds of science. And it’s going to allow us to get at both what are better images of planets right up next to their stars, as well as what was the formation process of galaxies in the first hundreds of thousands and million years of our universe. So, this combination of being able to see small, in the infrared – and by “small”, I mean small angular resolutions in the infrared – is going to start to give us amazing insights across a whole variety of different aspects of astrophysics.

Fraser: Now, back in the day when this was first proposed, I think it was called the Joint Dark Energy Mission. And so, that really gave you a really good sense. Now it’s the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope. So, that gives you a much better sense of what spectrum it’s going to be directing at, at this wide-field infrared.

Compare this. Is this a super telescope?

Pamela: It’s not so much a super telescope as it, kind of like WMAP – the Ws being coincidental – it’s a highly-focused mission that is aimed at solving a single problem.

And, if you’re like me, you have a variety of tools in your kitchen that you can use for all sorts of different things. But then you have that one potato peeler and that one potato peeler sure does a whole lot better at peeling potatoes than any of the knives you have.

And, by being this highly-focused mission with one goal – just like WMAP was able to so effectively map out the cosmic microwave background; just like Planck was able to follow up and do the same thing at even higher resolutions because it was, again, a highly-focused mission – WFIRST, with its highly-focused goal, it’s tight mission direction, should be able to get us the kinds of answers we need to at least have that starting point.

Fraser: Okay. So, you talked about WFIRST and then, the other one, of course, is James Webb, which is launching next year.

Pamela: We hope.

Fraser: Yeah, we hope.

Do you want to just tell people – I mean, I’m sure people know what James Webb is going to do but you might want to mention, briefly, what its job is.

Pamela: So, James Webb – As I said, it’s an infrared telescope. It can see, at high resolutions, very faint objects, which means that it can look at a variety of different scientifically-interesting things – whether it be exoplanets or stars and galaxies forming at the beginning of the universe. Now, this is a telescope that is big and it’s going to sit out beyond the moon. And so, it’s all on track but, as I’ve said many times in this show before, spacecraft are dead to me until they’re actually launched and working.

And so, there’s always the question of: What happens if somebody’s rockets end up getting grounded or something like that? So, those are the kinds of problems that we –

Fraser: You’re breaking all your rules today, aren’t you? We’re talking about all these future missions.

Pamela: Yes, we’re talking about missions that, as I said, are dead to me until they actually launch.

Fraser: Interesting. You started to crack.

Pamela: Well, yeah, it happens.

So, beyond this, we have continued exploration on the surface of Mars; we have continued exploration of exoplanets using spectrographs here on the Earth, using repurposed spacecraft in orbit. And the thing that has me most excited and terrified – and those emotions can be held mutually – is we’re starting to hit the point, technologically, where we don’t have to listen in radio for intelligent life; we can start looking for free oxygen and other chemical signatures of life. And we don’t know if we’re days, weeks, hours from making those detections.

Fraser: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I love the fact that James Webb will make a lot of these – the observations that Hubble tries to do, using these bank shots; by using the galaxy as a gravitational lens or a galaxy cluster – James Webb will just make directly. It’ll just be able to just power all the way out to the edge of the – almost to the edge of the observable universe and be able to see these newly forming planets and stars and be able to detect the atmospheres of worlds. It should be a phenomenal instrument.

What else have you got?

Pamela: Beyond that, it starts to be: What questions are we able to start answering?

There’s certain science that, in the ten years we’ve been doing this, we can pretty much bet any particular AAS meeting/conference is going to have a press release on. There’s always that new, partially-tidally-disrupted dwarf galaxy. There’s always that new idea on: Why is the corona so hot on the sun? There’s always that press release on “planet like the Earth that was found” that’s really nothing like the Earth.

I’m really hoping we start – Well, we’re always going to keep having new shredded galaxies being discovered. That’s okay. We’ll let those go. But I’m really hoping that we finally get that answer everyone agrees on, on why is the corona so hot, and that we start getting actual Earth-like planets being found with the right mass, the right distance, the right measurable atmosphere. And maybe someone comes up with a theory of planetary formation that actually, like, works – and people agree on.

Fraser; So, less of a specific mission, but also just – Like, you think that that theory is around the corner.

Pamela: I want scientific consensus.

Fraser: Here’s what I am really excited about. There are two things I’m really excited about. One is the Event Horizon Telescope, which is this worldwide collection of radio observatories – has taken their image. And so, its job is going to be to take an image – the direct observation of the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way’s super-massive black hole. It has directly imaged the event horizon of this. And the part that’s kind of hilarious is they’ve had telescopes around the whole world to do it but we have to wait until October for the data because of the data from Antarctica.

So, they have to wait for Antarctica’s summer before they can actually get the scientists out and get the data out, and then normalize it with all of the other data that was taken around the world – which is pretty awesome. So, they couldn’t show the picture until they got the information out of Antarctica. So, in October, we should see the first images of a black hole event horizon.

Pamela: It hadn’t occurred to me that they couldn’t just FTP data from Antarctica.

Fraser: Not that much data. People were wondering – like, you know, they took the pictures, why can’t we see the image? It’s because they haven’t got the data from Antarctica yet.

Pamela: I just assumed it’s hard to combine that much data.

One of my very first paid jobs was actually – part of it was finding fringes in very large space line array sets of data. And there were common things like, “Country X never has their timing right.” And so, we knew that if things didn’t line up in the wave patterns, it was probably Country X where their clock was bad. And it took significant time to align all of the wavelengths to get that amazing interferometric image set.

So, once we have the data from Antarctica, they still have to do all of their fringe finding and everything. Oh, dear. These poor scientists must be going crazy.

Fraser: Yeah, exactly.

What else are you excited about?

Pamela: You know, at a certain point, what starts to excite me is the fact that the universe keeps surprising me. And it’s things like all the worlds we keep finding underwater oceans on. And I’m really hoping that, as we move to having the Europa Clipper get built, launched, hopefully get there safely, that we’ll learn even more about that mysterious rogue hotspot that we just learned about; that, as we keep learning more about extremophiles and uncovering more lava tubes on Mars and uncovering more about water on Mars –

When we started recording the show, it was not yet completely accepted that Mars once had water. And in our next ten years, we could go to finding reservoirs – frozen reservoirs – but reservoirs on Mars. And I want to know the rest of that story. I want to know what surprises and twists are in that story.

It’s sort of like when you’re reading a really good book and you know the author is going to do something unexpected – like, Scott Sigler books do this to me on a regular basis. And you know something’s going to go terribly, terribly sideways.

Well, that’s the story the universe keeps telling us. We weren’t expecting dark energy. We weren’t expecting oceans on moons other than Europa but they’re there. And I want to see what twists the science story has to tell.

Fraser: Now, for people who follow what I do, I would say the mission or telescope that I’m most excited about is the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is going to be a ground-based telescope. They actually just broke ground just in the last couple of weeks down in Chile. And it is a monster. But what is kind of amazing about it is that it will essentially survey the entire night sky that it can see every couple of nights at a very high degree of resolution. So, it’s going to be like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which is this sort of full view of the entire night sky – or that the telescopes can see – but, at the same time, it’s going to do this every couple of days.

And what it’s going to do is it’s going to show us how the universe is changing night after night after night. And so, it’s going to turn up asteroids and comets and supernovae and microlensing events and just all kinds of things that – and back to what you said, right? – these things that we didn’t even know were happening. It’s by watching everything all at the same time is when you discover these events that you weren’t expecting.

And so, this telescope really scratches that itch for me, which is just everything, everywhere, all the time – and then watch for anything to change.

Pamela: I have to admit, there’s so many other telescopes going on.

So, LSST actually had their groundbreaking a couple years ago. So, now I’m trying to figure out what telescope actually had the most recent groundbreaking because –

Fraser: The Thirty Meter, I think, or –

Pamela: So, was it actually the extremely large telescope that had –

Fraser: We just covered this on Universe Today and I don’t remember. Like, I literally just – I will find it. You keep working and I will –

Pamela: Okay.

Fraser: You keep talking and I will find it.

Pamela: And this is the thing is science is advancing so fast and nations are starting to, in some places, withdraw the funding. And this is where it’s so sad to watch, like the Gemini telescopes, because they’ve been struggling with their funding situation with their UK partners.

But, at the same time, the European Southern Observatory is sinking a great deal of resources into building a new, extremely large telescope. There is a consortium that is working to build a Thirty Meter Telescope. It was originally scheduled to be on Hawaii. It looks like it’s probably going to get moved possibly to the Canary Islands.

And so, we have this case where, when I first started as a professional, there was the Soviet 6-meter telescope, there were a handful of 4-meter telescopes; adaptive optics were brand new. By the time I finished graduate school, we were starting to build 8-meter telescopes and then there was the special and weird Hobby-Eberly Telescope that only uses part of the mirror but its mirror was the biggest in the world for a little while.

And now, we’re starting to look at, like, tens of meters.

Fraser: Yes.

Pamela: And this starts allowing us to get the kind of light-gathering power that allows us to do spectroscopy, which doesn’t require the same high resolution as imaging. But it starts to allow us to do spectroscopy on amazingly faint objects. It also – because we are using adaptive optics – it does start to give us the ability to do what Hubble’s doing, but looking at things that are significantly fainter.

Fraser: Now, we actually did an episode of Astronomy Cast about – like, fairly early on, actually – that we called “The Rise of the Super Telescopes” and we talked about a lot of these missions.

I resurrected that concept over on Universe Today and Evan Gough, one of our writers, ran through the new series. So, we put in the Giant Magellan Telescope, the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope, the Thirty Meter Telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the James Webb, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope and then, we just added the LUVOIR Telescope.

Pamela: I don’t know that one.

Fraser: What?! Oh, my God.

So, we had the director of it on The Weekly Space Hangout a couple of weeks ago – Brad Peterson. But it is – it’s a mind-bending observatory.

So, this telescope is going to be – Now, by no means certain, but it’s possible that it will be positioned out, maybe at the Earth-Moon L1 Lagrange point. So, it will be sort of at where the Deep Space Gateway is going to be, right? And then, it will be a 16-meter, visible light telescope space, right?

So, the center – you know, the opening at the middle of the telescope, you could fly the Hubble Space Telescope through it – the whole spacecraft. So, 16 meters.

Now, keep in mind, the Hubble Space Telescope I think is 2.6 meters?

Pamela: It’s the size of the school bus.

Fraser: Yeah. So, this thing will be an absolute – just monster. And to sort of take that – And so, we’re looking at probably the end of 2020, into the 2030s, before this thing actually gets built – if this is what gets built. But this will be the true spiritual successor to Hubble; that monster space telescope that we’ve always known we deserved.

Pamela: Now, what dataset are you most looking forward to?

Fraser: There’s two, right? One is the LSST and then, the other one is this new search that’s going on for primordial gravitational waves.

So, we had that almost-discovery of them a couple of years ago in the BICEP2 research. And then, it was overturned by the Planck research. But the thing is that the two instruments go at different frequencies.

So, now, everyone’s gone back to the drawing board and they’ve developed a multi-frequency analysis – really, really detailed – to go after this question. And so, within the next couple of years, we’re going to see, from probably four or five different, separate experiments all looking for primordial gravitational waves at all these different frequencies. And, if so, then the evidence for inflation becomes overwhelming. And that’s amazing if that happens. It’s Nobel Prizes all around – especially Alan Guth.

Pamela: I hope so. He really deserves one. He’s done a lot of really good stuff over his life and just needs the right set of people to take data. And then, write nominating letters.

Fraser: What about you?

Pamela: For me – you know, exoplanets; it’s completely unrelated to any of my research topics but the diversity of worlds that are being found is so contrary to everything that we expected. The Gaia dataset and its ability to do astrometry: its ability to map out what are the closest stars, what is the actual distance to Cepheids and RR Lyraes, so that we can actually, like, get better error bars on this first rung of our ladder. The Gaia spacecraft, which is already up there – it is not dead to me.

Fraser: Yes.

Pamela: It is a living, breathing spacecraft. Its dataset is going to give us a sense of where things are and how they’re moving in our nearby universe and give us this picture of our place in space. And this picture of where are there transits, where are there exoplanets; that just the diversity of science that we already know will come out of the data. And then, you start realizing that people are going to find even newer things, better ideas, more creative ways to use the data. This is one of those datasets that I can’t wait to see all the publications and see how different it changes our perspective on where we are.

Fraser: Now, we’re going to diverge here. So, I totally agree with you, by the way. I do not disagree with you about the upcoming catalogs of exosolar planets. I can’t wait.

But let’s talk about gravitational waves.

Pamela: So, okay – LIGO is starting to pay for itself. It’s now found – what? Five waves?

Fraser: Three.

Pamela: Three. Okay, maybe it’s sort of starting to pay for itself.

Fraser: Come on! Oh, you grump!

Pamela: I am a grump. It’s a huge sum of money –

Fraser: I know.

Pamela: – for three detections.

Fraser: Yep.

Pamela: I’m a grump.

Fraser: But do you not feel that the ability or sort of the next generation of gravitational wave discoveries is pretty exciting because it gives us a whole new sense to be able to see the universe?

Pamela: So, I have very, very mixed emotions here. And the reason I have such mixed emotions is we have all these other ways of seeing that, yes, gravity waves did, plunk, fill in the space; they will go here because we see the radiation of that gravitational energy in the decay of compact object orbits. There’s a Nobel Prize that already went out. We have a sound theory that traces everything around gravitational waves, out. And this is where the stuff that excites me is where the universe is, like, “Nope. Not gonna give that to you the way you expected it.”

And right now, gravitational waves are just sitting there, behaving nicely, fitting the theory; hopefully, giving the theorists Nobel Prizes. But we haven’t even given Alan Guth his Nobel Prize yet.

Fraser: Well, they haven’t confirmed the discovery of inflation yet.

But here’s the thing – and we’ve got a new episode of the Guide to Space coming out and hopefully, by the time people are listening to this, they can watch the episode – but we are –

You know, once the space observatories go up, like LISA and the Big Bang Observer telescope, which is in development. So, LISA’s going to be three spacecraft flying in formation with, like, a couple of million kilometers – their interferometer legs will be in the millions of kilometers long. The Big Bang Observer is going to be a constellation of 12 spacecraft flying in this formation. In theory, the Big Bang Observer will be able to see past the cosmic microwave background radiation right to the Big Bang, directly, and just look at it. And look at how gravity and how masses were moving and roiling right after the Big Bang.

So, I think – although it’s weird now, talking 20 years, 30 years out, as we watch this unfold – I think that, over time, as astronomers get a better sense of this, that it will turn into an incredibly productive form of inquiry into the universe. So, don’t write it off just yet.

Pamela: LISA is one of these missions that have always been at least ten years off – and when I say that, I’m going back to, like, the 90s. And it’s currently proposed to have a launch date of no earlier than 2030.

Fraser: Anything else that you’re stoked about? Mars 2020 rover, the Phoebe, the mission to go after that metal asteroid, another potential fly-by of Pluto and maybe even a lander, if Alan Stern gets his greatest wish?

Pamela: I don’t think that will happen in ten years, though, because the travel time.

Fraser: The TESS mission is going to be launching.

Pamela: And don’t forget about high-energy astrophysics – the ground-based guys who are doing the detections where we see the neutrino detectors getting upgraded, the dark matter detectors getting upgraded, CERN getting upgraded.

Fraser: Yeah, yeah – Large Hadron Collider with more power.

Pamela: I want to know what dark matter is.

Fraser: Yes.

Pamela: I want specificity that is studied in a particle physics book. I want to know the mass. I want to know the different types. I want my happy, little, standard, model-like grid of characteristics that lets me know how it fits into the grand picture. I want details, Universe!

Fraser: And then, of course, just this revolution in space flight: What’s happening with SpaceX; what’s happening with Blue Origin; and even what’s happening with United Launch Alliance, with some of their interesting modifications to their system.

All of the rocketry companies are bringing down their costs; they’re developing new techniques and technologies. And, over the course of the next ten years, there could be humans on Mars if Elon Musk’s schedule works out – which I don’t think it will. But even if it does, 2024 is, you know, a hundred people sent to Mars. No.

Pamela: Here’s the open quandary: When we recorded our first season, that was the same year that Scaled Composite won the Ansari X Prize. And Burt Rutan did his launch twice, in a very short period of time, and we thought we were three years away from commercial space flight. It’s been ten years.

Fraser: Shall we now watch videos of rockets landing again – on their launch pad? Is that what’s required right now to –

Pamela: So, my question is not: Is Elon Musk going to stop doing truly awesome things? But my question is: Are we going to get FAA certification that allows commercial humans to take off from the United States of America – or someplace else Elon Musk is going to launch from, or Sierra Nevada – or Virgin Galactic? Are they going to be able to start using Spaceport America in New Mexico to launch very rich people into space on their own terms in the next ten years?

Fraser: If they don’t, Blue Origin will. So, someone’s going to be going on a trip to suborbital flight.

Pamela: I really hope that we get there for regular continued journeys instead of just the handful that have flown with the Soviets – Russians. They switched nations in the process.

Fraser: Parker Solar Probe – launching next year to fly really close to the sun. That’s exciting.

Pamela: Yes.

Fraser: We’re going to explore all the things. I think the point is that we’re going to explore all the things, we’re going to go all the places, we’re going to see all the stuff and we hope that you all stick around with us as we get to experience this – as more and more missions become undead to Pamela as they launch and start producing science results and we can do shows on them.

Pamela: I think that sounds amazing.

Fraser: Alright. Well, here’s to ten more years at least. And Pamela and everybody, we will see you in September.

Pamela: See you all in the spring – fall. Fall.

Fraser: Some, we will see you in August when the eclipse happens. But the rest of you, we’ll see you in September.

Alright. Thanks, everybody. And we’ll see you all when we’re back.

Male Speaker: Thank you for listening to Astronomy Cast, a non-profit resource provided by Astrosphere New Media Association, Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay. You can find show notes and transcripts for every episode at astronomycast.com. You can email us at info@astronomycast.com. Tweet us @astronomycast. Like us on Facebook or circle us on Google Plus.

We record our show live on YouTube every Friday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, 4:30 p.m. Eastern or 2030 GMT. If you missed the live event, you can always catch up over at cosmoquest.org or on our YouTube page. To subscribe to the show, point your podcatching software at astronomycast.com/podcast.xml, or subscribe directly from iTunes. If you would like to listen to the full unedited episode, including the live viewers’ questions and answers, you can subscribe to astronomycast.com/feed/fullraw. Our music is provided by Travis Serl and the show was edited by Chad Weber.

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Duration: 35 minutes

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