A weekly discussion of what's new and interesting in astronomy with astronomer Derrick PittsMore from Skytalk »

Most Recent Episodes

Exoplanets in the neighborhood

The twin 10m Keck telescopes at Mauna Kea in Hawaii have identified 100 more exoplanet candidates. One of them is just 8.3 lightyears away ! What country holds the record for the most satellites launched on a single launch vehicle? India! Last Tuesday, the Indian Space Resource Organization launched 104 nano satellites; 3 from India, 13 [...]

Mystery on Mars

We celebrate two giant birth anniversaries this week: Wednesday is the 453rd anniversary of Galileo and Sunday is the 544th anniversary of Copernicus' birthday. Galileo proved by observation what Copernicus suggested as the structure of the solar system. Interestingly, 404 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church censored Galileo to keep him from distributing science truth [...]


February 6th is the 46th anniversary of the first space sport.

Days of Note

Dr. Derrick Pitts and Dave Heller recap some important dates in space exploration this week.

Intergalactic Space not so Spacey?

How is it that the Milky Way's 11 most distant stars are 300,000 light years from Earth, well beyond the spiral arms of the Milky Way? Astronomers now have a better understanding of how streams of stars connect giant galaxies to nearby dwarf galaxies. Researchers at Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have created computer models that [...]

Spin Cycle

Larry Molnar, an astronomy professor at Calvin College, announced last week that he and his students are following a one-in-a-million opportunity astronomy event. They predict that a binary star in the constellation Cygnus is showing behaviors that suggest the two will collide and explode, possibly between 2021 and 2023.

On the Lookout for Life

Dave Heller and Dr. Pitts start by discussing some amazing exoplanet discoveries. In 2017, we can look forward to NASA launching TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). This satellite was designed to search for exoplanets on its two-year mission. Commercial Space test flights continue - Blue Origin says it will conduct crewed flights this year. They have completed 5 flights up to space and back.

Greatest Astronomy Hits of 2016

Join us as we recap the top astronomy-related stories of 2016.


December 25 marks Christmas Day and December mini-moon day! The moon was at apogee, or the greatest distance from Earth (for the month). This week also marks the anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission (Dec. 21- 27 1968) – the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth's orbit, reach the Earth's Moon, orbit it and return [...]

Welcoming Winter

The Winter Solstice arrives on Wednesday at 5:44 am. It marks the northern hemisphere's greatest axial tilt away from the sun, producing the fewest number of hours of daylight. We gain 3 minutes at sunset this week but that's offset by the 3 minutes we lose with later sunrises. So all in all, Wednesday is [...]

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