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

Most Recent Episodes

Astronomical Anomalies

What happens when the gas supply at a Black Hole runs out? - It's "lights out!" Previous evidence suggested that quasar shutoff took tens or hundreds of thousands of years but this one shut down in just seven years - blink of an eye in cosmic time.

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EARTH orbit – 365 days, 2MASS J2126 orbit – 328,500,000 days

Astronomers have found a gas-giant exoplanet named 2MASS J2126 that orbits about 600 billion miles out from it's star, meaning the alien world completes one orbit every 900,000 years or so. For comparison, Pluto orbits 3.6 billion miles from our sun.

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Out-of-this-world produce

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly aboard ISS has had success utilizing available sunlight to grow Zinnias - a prerequisite along the way to planetary exploration that will depend on our ability to grow veggies in space.

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Feelin' the heat on Pluto

NASA's New Horizen's August fly-by over Pluto is revealing several surprises - including evidence of an internal heat source that changes the surface contours.

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2016 Out-of-this-World Highlights

Lots of cool planetary observing this coming spring and summer, as well as two lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses... but the real treat comes as we prepare for NEXT year's total solar eclipse across the US.

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2016 starts off with a (big) bang

2015 was a remarkable year in astronomy and space science highlighted by; the Mars Curiosity mission, New Horizons to Pluto, space movies released last year, talk about earth-like planets orbiting other stars, all playing a major role in rekindling public interest in space exploration.

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2015 Out of this World Highlights

Last week's SpaceX mission was a great success but the real 'heavy lifting' is being done by Scott Kelly during his one full year in space as part of a NASA study to better understand the effects of microgravity and confined living onboard ISS.

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Winter Solstice Tonight

Apollo 8 left Earth on this day in 1968 - it was the first manned circumnavigation of the moon. Arrived at the moon on Christmas Eve. Isaac Newton's 373rd birth anniversary is Christmas Day!

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Geminid Meteor Shower At Its Peak Tonight

Meteors are typically debris from comets, but in this case, the Geminids are debris from asteroid 3200 Phaeton; only the January Quadrantids are also from an asteroid.

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Feel the Wave

The European Space Agency's LISA Pathfinder Satellite will launch soon to advance the goal of detecting the unbelievably small effects of traveling gravity waves.

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