Astronomy: Dancing with the Stars

Weekend Variety Wireless 03/06/2018
Credit: Getty.

Did you know it was now possible for you to explore exoplanets?

NASA has set up a data base where you can flick through a collection of artistic expressions of exoplanets. Their surfaces are based on what would be expected to appear from current knowledge.

Astronomer Dr Grant Christie joins Graeme Hill to talk the latest in astronomy. This week the two also deepen their discussion around the back-to-front asteroid.

This animation shows two clumps of Apollo’s co-orbiting with Jupiter as well as the contrasting rarity in our solar system that goes against the grain.

Gaia Satellite is making ultra-precise measurements of the motion of the stars around the sun. Theorists can now calculate the stars behaviour.

Predictions can currently be made five million years into the future and the past. In time, that should increase to 50 million.

Grant and Graeme also touch on the Magellanic Clouds. The two dwarf galaxies which appear to be gravitationally bound to the Milky Way. How do they interact with our galaxy?

There has been a pulsar discovered that spins on its axis 600 times per second and contains the mass of the sun within a space the size of Auckland.

“It’s equivalent to being able to measure a flea on Pluto”, Dr. Christie says.

The search for life on Mars continues. NASA is releasing Mars 2020 which will be launched to collect and store samples in the hopes of making a discovery.

Lastly, a proposed method of spacecraft propulsion which goes precisely nowhere is discussed.

Listen to the full interview with Dr Grant Christie above.

Weekend Variety Wireless with Graeme Hill, 8pm - midnight Saturdays and Sundays, on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the Rova app on Android and iPhone.