When You Wish Upon a Neutrino

We love antimatter, and we love the matter-antimatter paradox. How come there was just a smidge more matter in the universe than antimatter? Neutrinos, the wispiest of particles, may provide a clue. We also check in on another Earth-like exoplanet, and Jim tackles a sexy stumper, plus space news, astronomy trivia, and more with your friendly neighborhood astroquarks.

Natural Sciences
Published: April 22, 2020, 10 a.m.

Psyche Out: Metal Asteroids and an Irregular Universe

We welcome special guest Dr. Zoe Landsman back to the show to tell us about the metal asteroid Psyche and the eponymous mission to visit it. We get an update on an observational test of one of the central pillars of cosmology, and have some spaceship/asteroid/comet trivia to stump the astroquarks. 

Natural Sciences
Published: April 15, 2020, 9 a.m.

Alien Life and Star Trek Diseases

Professor Mohamed Noor, Star Trek Advisor, Dean of Natural Sciences at Duke University, and author of "Live Long and Evolve", comes back to the show to share his thoughts on extraterrestrial organisms big and small. He also shares some behind-the-scenes activity from the Star Trek Cruise. We also learn about a crazy new validation of the constancy of the speed of light, more space news, and Star Trek trivia. We also answer the question, if underwear is the safest material, why not just wear underwear everywhere?

Natural Sciences
Published: April 7, 2020, 1:33 p.m.

The Importance of Being Gassy

The astroquarks show remarkable restraint by refusing to say that Uranus emitted a big blob of gas. Instead they keep things astronomically professional with the discovery of a plasma bubble near the 7th planet in data collected in 1986 by the venerable Voyager 2. Zooming out even further, a possible explanation for conflicting data about the expansion of the universe may be that we are living in a giant bubble 100 million light years across, give or take. See if you can match wits with Charm and Top in our Greek mythology trivia questions.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 29, 2020, 9:36 p.m.

A Pulsating Star and a Salty Asteroid

The astroquarks take a social distancing break from each other, but not from you, with our first remote recording. We have all the Walkabout goodness to transport you to other worlds and stars, with news of the first discovery of particular kind of pulsating star, discovery of a certain kind of salt in a comet, and fun speculation about an exotic quark star. Join the astroquarks to escape your Earthly troubles for another entertaining walkabout the galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 23, 2020, 7:32 p.m.

It's That Time of the Solar Cycle

Professor Yan Fernandez, Principal Scientist of the Arecibo Observatory, joins Josh and Addie to talk about the unique capabilities of this enormous (300 meters!) radio telescope to study everything from the Earth's atmosphere out to distant pulsars. And speaking of magnetic stars, our dear old Sol seems to be rousing from its latest solar slumber and entering the next 11-year-ish solar cycle. Join us for all the space news and a slew of sci-fi trivia on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 11, 2020, 3:59 p.m.

Gravitational Waves Rumbling Through the Universe

When regular run-of-the-mill black holes spiral into a deathly embrace, a gravitational chirp spreads across the universe, but when the behemoths in galactic centers merge, they cause a low rumble in space-time. Scientists are using nature's free ultra-precise astronomical clocks - pulsars - to hunt for this rumble. Closer to home the Earth has a new very-very-mini-moon, and the astroquarks face multiple energy-related trivia questions.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 2, 2020, 12:06 a.m.

All The Galaxy's a Stage And We Are Merely Astroquarks

In this special Elizabethan episode of Walkabout, we check out the tired, battered, and bruised asteroid Pallas, one of the largest in the asteroid belt, and discuss why its neighbors beat up on it so much. We also take a peek at a new discovery about antimatter and an exotic quirk of quantum mechanics that also lives in the antimatter realm, catch up on space news, time travel shows, and much more.

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 21, 2020, 9:16 p.m.

Things That Go Burst in the Night

We have an interesting new clue about what causes the ridiculously power phenomena known as Fast Radio Bursts (or at least about what doesn't cause them!), and we are joined by astroquark emerita Tracy Becker to tell us about the discovery of a baby moon around a near-Earth asteroid from the Arecibo Observatory. We also have Earth news and Space news and an energy round of trivia. Toss in a little matter-antimatter and it's another episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 16, 2020, 6:56 p.m.


The astroquarks discover their new favorite thing in the universe. They'll tell you all about it and why we all have to hope it's a real thing. Also learn about ridiculous mathematical functions, the latest space news, and a little gravitational blippity-bloop for good measure.

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 9, 2020, 3:39 a.m.

The Mysterious Case of the Dragging Frame

Would you rather go ice fishing on an alien moon or bungee jumping on Mars? Either way, you definitely want to hear about the mysterious way matter twists spacetime with another confirmation of Einstein's general theory of relativity involving a white dwarf and a pulsar. Join the astroquarks for all that plus the discovery of the nearest exoplanet, solar system trivia, and all the latest space and nerd news. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 2, 2020, 3:49 a.m.

The Asteroid versus the Volcanoes

Volcanoes on ancient Earth and not-so-ancient Venus are the main topics for the astroquarks, with planetary trivia, and a giant gassy wave moving through the Milky Way. Catch up on all the different types of numbers, from imaginary to prime, and all the space news  and climate updates on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy. Check out YouTube for the gas-wave shimmy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 19, 2020, 10:33 p.m.

Lucy, TESS, and the Dark Energy Mess

The astroquarks explore our origins with from the ancient fossil Lucy to the upcoming asteroid mission of the same name. They then head for the stars, including a nearby one with a potentially habitable planet, and re-examine the case for dark energy. You're not going to want to miss this one, for the science, the trivia, and a special sponsor message. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 14, 2020, 3 a.m.

Hashtag Fundamental

The title has nothing to do with the episode except what could be more fundamental than simply measuring how far away something is? The astroquarks tackle this deceptively complex question on cosmological scales as well as the origins of meteor showers and archeoastronomy of ancient aurorae. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 6, 2020, 11:32 p.m.

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse

The astroquarks are wrapped up with the passage of time and the aging of the stars, the universe, and themselves as the first annual year of the astroquark comes to a close. We discuss the red giant star Betelgeuse's mysterious year-end fainting (as in the opposite of brightening), and ss this stellar neighbor nears its explosive end, we take a look at the lives of galaxies and the universe as a whole.

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 31, 2019, 3:28 a.m.

Hot Blobs and Magnetic Spots

Walkabout the Galaxy closes out 2019, the first annual Year of the Astroquark, with an episode touching on everything from interstellar comet I2/Borisov to the tiger stripes of Enceladus and the first map of the surface of a freakin' neutron star! As always we share abundant space news, from Starliner to the Mars InSight mole, and embarrassing nerdiness, so wrap up the year with Strange, Charm, and Top, and we'll see you in 2020 for the second annual Year of the Astroquark.

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 22, 2019, 4:32 p.m.

Jim the Asteroid Licker

An asteroid has been observed getting smashed to smithereens by another asteroid! And a medium-sized black hole has been observed, which oddly enough is more interesting than a tiny black hole or a humongous black hole. Find out why, and catch up on nerd news, space news, and special Top quark astro-historical-paradoxical trivia on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 8, 2019, 9:09 p.m.

Would You Like Your Chunky Space with a Swirl?

Strange quark is convinced that the swirls on the Moon are actually 2001 monoliths, and all three of your hosts are eager to go check them out. On the way, will the spacetime they're traversing be smooth or chunky? Top quark explains the difference, along with updates on Europa's ocean, space news, and trivia. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 25, 2019, 1:04 a.m.

Antimatter and Wormholes

An instrument on the International Space Station that can help us understand more about antimatter is getting an upgrade, and we review that old sci-fi staple: the wormhole. Somehow we manage to do this without talking about Star Trek (mostly), but we have nerd news and space updates together with trivia and a new discovery about some of the many moons in our solar system. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 17, 2019, 4:40 p.m.

When a Giant Black Hole Blows a Lot of Gas

Yes, it's just as bad as the title suggests, because when a supermassive black hole in a galactic center really gets going it can shut down star formation in the galaxy by blasting out all the raw star materials also known as atoms. The astroquarks explore galaxies with large and small star formation rates, plus we catch up on space news with Voyager 2 and the return to the Moon, and some throwback Voyager trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 11, 2019, 3:57 a.m.

Astroquark Soup

Some clever detective work has found one of the smallest black holes known. The astroquarks also take a look at the puzzling mess of the Hubble Constant and the disagreement over its value. Plus, the interstellar comet's supply of water seems consistent with our own solar comets, and the Lagrange Points (the musical quintet, not the set of gravitational potential equilibria in an orbiting two-body system, duh!) sponsor our show. Tune in for all that and universal trivia. It's a veritable astroquark soup!

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 3, 2019, 4:38 p.m.

The Vibration Dance and the Mole Shimmy

The astroquarks are joined by Dr. Renee Weber from NASA's Mars Insight mission to bring us the skinny on that spacecraft's mole's struggles to burrow into Mars. We also check in on polluted white dwarf stellar remnants and what they are teaching us, remarkably, about the interiors of exoplanets, plus spacecraft trivia, philosopher wars, and of course yet another sponsor for Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 23, 2019, 7:33 p.m.

Bananas About Brown Dwarfs

The astroquarks are joined by Dr. Adam Burgasser from the Cool Star Lab at the University of California San Diego to talk about the mysterious members of the astrophysical menagerie that lie between planets and stars. Brown dwarfs are lurking in the dark, sometimes closer than we might think. We also have spaceflight history trivia, 20 new moons, and a spot about G.

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 15, 2019, 12:58 a.m.

Lost in Space: Rogue Planets and the Intergalactic Web

The astroquarks spin around the universe, from an ancient tree's rings providing clues to magnetic reversals on Earth to planets wandering among the stars and the first detection of the filamentary structures of hydrogen gas strung between clusters of galaxies. Plus space news, nerd news, and Star Wars Lego trivia! This episode is a veritable Kessel Run.

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 5, 2019, 5:27 p.m.

I've Got My Eyeball Planet on You

The astroquarks welcome Stephanie Jarmak from UCF to discuss the study of gluons, the hilariously named force-carriers that hold quarks together, Trojan asteroids sharing Jupiter's orbit, eyeball planets and snowball planets, and more. All this plus space news, nerd news, and relativistic trivia on the latest episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 29, 2019, 3:54 p.m.

The One From Geneva

Ever wonder what goes on at an international meeting of planetary scientists? Who hasn't?! This special episode of Walkabout comes to you from a hotel room in Geneva Switzerland following the joint meeting of the American Astronomical Society's planetary science division and the European Planetary Science Congress. Josh and Addie are joined by original Top Quark Dr. Tracy Becker and Dr. Bonnie Meinke for a free-wheeling discussion of highlights from the meeting, the solar system's most recent visitor from interstellar space, and new findings about how an ancient asteroid collision helped diversify life on planet Earth.

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 22, 2019, 9:47 p.m.

Moon Water and Galaxy Bubbles

The astroquarks revisit the importance of H2O on the Moon, even if it is tied up inside rocks, before taking a visit to the realm of the Milky Way's gigantic bubbles of plasma emanating, it seems, from the central black hole. Plus, artificial intelligence reaches a milestone, while the astroquark intelligence is just hanging on. Tune in and decide for yourself.

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 8, 2019, 9:11 p.m.

The Podcast of Dorian Hurricane

Hurricanes are regular visitors to the Walkabout Studios at the University of Central Florida, but not to the planet Venus, whose slow rotation makes for rather dull weather. High of 900 degrees is forecast for Venus for the foreseeable future. But there are some mysteries in its upper atmosphere. We'll also talk about the mysteries of quantum gravity, which doesn't exist yet, and the role of supernovae in starting planetary systems and evidence for a bunch of them popping off in our neighborhood recently. Plus space news and hurricane trivia!

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 30, 2019, 2:07 p.m.


Join us for a special musical episode of Walkabout the Galaxy with guest Adam LaMee as we take a look at a nearby giant exoplanet and a very distant supernova of a type that has never been seen before. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 24, 2019, 7:25 p.m.

Will the Sun Burp When it Eats the Earth?

Astronomy and cosmology challenge our perceptions of space and time, make us ponder our place in the universe, and give us wonders from the infinitesimal to the nearly-infinite. Then there's Walkabout the Galaxy, where we attack the question of which is a bigger relative bite: when the Sun in its red giant phase swallows the Earth, or when Jim Cooney in his fishing phase swallows a gnat. For that and the other truly important questions, you can count on the Astroquarks. Walkabout the Galaxy: for the truly important questions in life.

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 14, 2019, 4:42 a.m.

When Light Climbs Out of a Hole

We never get tired of Einstein being right, and once again his general theory of relativity is up to the challenge. The astroquarks take you on a tour to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way for another test of Einstein's theory of gravity, while closer to home the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission has successfully grabbed some more asteroid rubble. Dr. Zoe Landsman, aka Beauty Astroquark, joins Josh and Jim on this walkabout with spaceships being propelled by sunlight, nerd news, and Apollo trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: July 30, 2019, 2:09 p.m.

Where Silence Has Lease

A thousand bonus Trekkie points for getting the reference of the title of this episode, and another 1000 points for connecting it to our main science topic (spoiler alert): voids in space. Space is very empty, and some parts are emptier than others. Giant voids are helping us narrow down the rate of expansion of the universe. NPR's Brendan Byrne, space reporter for WMFE 90.7, joins us to give a peak behind the scenes of NASA's plans to send people to the Moon, plus some physics-y space trivia and much more.

Natural Sciences
Published: July 23, 2019, 2:46 a.m.

The Black Hole Middle Class

Supermassive black holes lurk in nearly every galaxy, and stellar-mass black holes are making news with mergers that we see with our gravitational wave observatories. But what about the black hole middle class? And just how massive are these things anyway? Plus, Hollywood director and astroquark brother K.C. Colwell ("Deep Impact", "The Mummy", "The Wolverine", "The Walking Dead") joins the astroquarks to talk about science and special effects in movies. And we honor the 50th anniversary of the amazing achievement of Apollo 11 with bonus Apollo trivia. 

Natural Sciences
Published: July 16, 2019, 2:27 p.m.

Dragonfly Me to the Moon of Saturn

We're going back to Saturn! NASA has selected the Dragonfly mission to the planet-moon Titan to explore its atmosphere and carbon-rich chemistry with a dual quadcopter capable of flying several km at a time. Work continues on the Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter's own Ocean World. The astroquarks catch you up on these new missions, plus some nerdy sci-fi trivia, Josh mangles French, and, as always, be sure to listen through to the end for a unique and surprising outro to the show. 

Natural Sciences
Published: July 3, 2019, 11:20 p.m.

Left and Right in the Universe

There is no center of the universe, no top or bottom (except for our astroquarks!), but all sorts of things in the universe have a definite handedness, and this includes fundamental particles, whose left-ness or right-ness is captured in a quantum property called spin. Top astroquark Jim Cooney takes us for a spin around new results looking into why there is a preference for certain directions of spin. Closer to home we look into the spin of the early Sun and how it ties into the early evolution of life and rocks on the Moon! So take the universe for a spin with us, and get a tangential trivia and all your space news on Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: June 23, 2019, 11:18 p.m.

The Universe is Running Hot and Cold

The universe began in a hot, dense state, as the song goes, and we can, oddly, see that heat from the thing that we are still in. The universe. Strange stuff. The radiation leftover form the big bang, known as the cosmic microwave background, or CMB, has cooled off, but analysis of measurements of this radiation by the Planck spacecraft point to some odd hot and cold halves of the universe. The astroquarks take a deep dive into the CMB, plus lots of new spaceflight news and of course your Walkabout trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: June 12, 2019, 7:11 p.m.

Forbidden Planets

The astroquarks take a stroll through the extrasolar planetary zoo where there are new members of the close-to-Earth-sized club and a peculiar Neptune-y thingy orbiting super close to its star. Meanwhile there are rapid developments in NASA's renewed focus on sending astronauts to the Moon, and we revisit the strange case of quarks, anti-quarks, and the existence of matter in the universe. Plus a very deep dive into Forbidden Planet-inspired trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: June 4, 2019, 2 a.m.

All About Bob

NASA unveils a new accelerated timeline to get astronauts forward (not back, get it?) to the Moon in 2024 with the new Artemis program. The astroquarks bring you up to speed on the latest space exploration news, and are joined by author Dennis Taylor of the "Bobiverse" trilogy of science fiction novels ("We are Legion", "For We Are Many", and "All These Worlds"). This gets us into Von Neumann machines, the Fermi paradox and the Great Filter, and bonus Bob trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: May 30, 2019, 6:59 p.m.

Moon Quakes and Venus Shakes

The astroquarks discuss news about lunar quakes and Venus... volcanoes. But volcanoes doesn't rhyme with quakes, so I sacrificed alliteration for rhyming. Venus may be volcanically active, at least on relatively recent geological timescales. If only we could go back in time to see! Top quark Jim Cooney will bring us up to date on a new experiment that fiddles with the direction of time's arrow. All that, plus space news and bonus trivia on this episode of Walkabout.

Natural Sciences
Published: May 19, 2019, 7:57 p.m.

Impacts Large and Small and Very Large

From a human-made crater (well, spacecraft-made) on an asteroid, to the Moon-forming impact, to an accelerating pace of black hole merger detections, the astroquarks survey the latest news in astronomical collisions. The asteroid Apophis has a close date with Earth in 2029, and what episode of Walkabout would be complete without some general relativistic frame dragging? Zoe Landsman joins us while Charm quark Addie Dove is off launching things into space! Plus space news and a historical/avengical trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: May 6, 2019, 1:43 a.m.

Is Mars Farting or Burping?

Scientists have been chasing methane on Mars for years. It's a slippery little molecule that doesn't stick around very long and has several biological (as well as non-biological) sources. The armada of spacecraft at Mars have conflicting measurements of the presence or absence of methane in Mars' atmosphere. Fortunately the astroquarks are here to make sense (or fun) of it. Plus, we discuss a cool new way to figure out the rate of expansion of the universe, and bonus methane trivia!

Natural Sciences
Published: April 21, 2019, 1:39 a.m.

I Can See Your Black Hole From Here

We discuss the dramatic first view of a black hole in a special episode recorded in front of a live audience. In addition to the Event Horizon Telescope's image, bonus nerd trivia, and an abundance of space news, we review the latest in space impacts, including the dramatic fossil field in North Dakota revealing the death and mayhem just minutes after the catastrophic asteroid impact that wiped out nearly all life on Earth 65 million years ago.

Natural Sciences
Published: April 13, 2019, 1:31 p.m.

There are Dark Forces at Work in the Universe

Just when you thought Dark Energy couldn't get any stranger, new measurements of the history of the expansion of the universe show an era well after the big bang and inflation but long, long ago when the rate of expansion was different than today. We are running out of dark names for the unknown. Closer to home the astroquarks discuss evidence for rain and water on Mars at a surprisingly recent (well, still a long time ago) epoch. All that plus space news and nerd trivia can be found on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: April 1, 2019, 3:22 p.m.

Bennu is Puking Asteroid Pebbles

We are joined by asteroid expert and "b" quark Dr. Zoe Landsman to discuss the remarkable discovery by the OSIRIS-REx mission that the asteroid it is orbiting, Bennu, is spitting pebbles and rocks out into space. The mechanism for this remains a topic of research. Also, another thing named after Enrico Fermi, another super moon with a silly name, and examining Apollo samples that have been sealed since they were recovered from the lunar surface. All in all, just another episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 24, 2019, 10:38 p.m.

Too Early to the Party: Trek, The Orville, and Aliens

Our guest, André Bormanis, has spent a considerable amount of time thinking about extraterrestrial intelligence, as well as warp travel, holodecks, artificial life forms, and more. Having spent more than a decade as an advisor and producer on the Star Trek franchise, André is now an executive producer and writer on "The Orville", Seth MacFarlane's trekkiest of shows. André joins the astroquarks for a discussion of Trek, humor, and the vexing Fermi paradox. Maybe we're just too early to the party. Check it out, and check out "The Orville", plus a special Trek trivia on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 12, 2019, 2:34 a.m.

The One with Joe Haldeman

Science Fiction great Joe Haldeman ("The Forever War", "Marsbound", "The Hemingway Hoax", "Worlds") joins the astroquarks for a wide-ranging discussion from microwave-plasma-grapes to cosmic rays, science in science fiction, and the latest space news including SpaceShipTwo returning to space and Hayabusa-2 touching an asteroid. 

Natural Sciences
Published: March 2, 2019, 10:28 p.m.

Are You Positive That's North?

Sometimes it seems like you can't count on anything, and now the Earth's north pole is on the move at a dramatically accelerated rate, more than 30 miles per year. Of course, that's not the rotation pole, but the magnetic pole, and it's not the north magnetic pole, it's the magnetic north pole. Confused? That's what the astroquarks are here for. Tune in for this, more interesting news about the complicated environments around the cool red stars that are home to so many exoplanets, space news, and trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 14, 2019, 11:59 p.m.

To Seek Out and Explore

The astroquarks welcome Professor Mohamed Noor from Duke University, author of "Live Long and Evolve" to talk about evolution of humans and aliens, interspecies sex, and what we can learn about the big questions of life, the universe and everything from Star Trek. As if that wasn't enough, there's new intriguing information about Dark Energy, plus Nobel Prize trivia and space news featuring our recent payload flights with Blue Origin's New Shepard. Tune in for all your space and alien news.

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 7, 2019, 3:10 a.m.

Galaxy, Right Ahead!

Hold on to your solar system, the Milky Way may be in store for a galactic collision sooner than anticipated. And speaking of collisions, evidence from craters on the Moon as well as an apparent dearth of craters on the Earth (I just wanted to say dearth and Earth in the same sentence) suggest that the current rate of asteroid and comet impacts on the Earth is 2-3 times higher now than it was a few hundred million years ago. Zoe Landsman joins us for a traveling Addie to discuss all this, new research on the likelihood of life in the ocean of Europa, and Top quark trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 21, 2019, 3:57 p.m.

The Year of the Astroquark

2019 began with the successful flyby of Ultima Thule (2014 MU69 - more on the name in the show!) by the New Horizons spacecraft, but there's much more to talk about, including a discovery of more Fast Radio Bursters (mysterious sources of tremendous energy), and observations that show phase transitions in White Dwarf stars. Josh, Addie and Jim have got it all, plus space news and trivia, in this episode that kicks off the Year of the Astroquark. You heard it here first!

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 14, 2019, 10:58 p.m.

2018 Year in Review with Top Quark Trivia

The astroquarks look back on a momentous year for space exploration and look ahead at what to expect in 2019. Strange and Charm will have payloads flying to space, and Saturn's rings will still be around for a few years. But new studies of the mass of the rings and the rate of erosion, measured indirectly, suggest that if you wait a few hundred million years they may well be gone. Plus, Top Astroquark provides a bonus trivia for our year-ending holiday special episode!

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 24, 2018, 6:16 p.m.

Jim Goes Off on Fahrenheit

Space Reporter Brendan Byrne from WMFE 90.7, home of NPR in Central Florida, joins the Astroquarks to look at NASA's new exploration programs for the Moon and Mars. We have our first listener contribution with the pronunciation of the Mars 2020 Landing Site, and Jim goes off on Fahrenheit AND Celsius. Do not get him started! Plus space news and trivia and more.

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 9, 2018, 4:31 p.m.

Dark Matter Hurricane

A long time ago a galaxy very close by plunged through the Milky Way, and a trail of dark matter from that miniature galaxy is passing through us all right now, including Dr. Brad Sandor who joins the astroquarks to talk dark matter, the Mars InSight lander, the Mars 2020 rover, Venus's atmosphere, lots of space news, and trivia. So much spacing going on in this episode! It's a real walkabout the galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 30, 2018, 2:03 a.m.

It's All About U

In our first letter-themed episode, the Astroquarks check in with Ryugu, Bennu, Ultima Thule, and Oumuamua, while Jim contemplates muumuus. We also talk about dynamically trapped dust clouds near the Earth to make Addie happy, and we have a truly embarrassing sponsor. We're sincerely sorry, but you'll enjoy all the U's, from asteroids, to missions to a U-themed trivia. We do it all for you!

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 17, 2018, 3:52 p.m.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Alien Sex

We almost called this "Everything you wanted to know about alien sex with Dr. Michael Wall", but it's not alien sex with Mike Wall, it's Mike Wall telling us about alien sex! A senior writer with Space.com and author of the new book Out There, Mike joins the astroquarks to talk about aliens, paranormal beliefs, and an exotic type of star called a dark star. Plus space news, trivia, and it turns out the astroquarks are really interested in three-way alien sex.

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 4, 2018, 8:28 p.m.

Fireballs and Penitentes

In this wide-ranging episode, the gang takes a look at the recently launched BepiColombo mission to Mercury and why it takes so long to get to such a relatively near planetary neighbor. On the astrophysical front, the relatively cool stars that host most of the observed exoplanets in our corner of the galaxy are prone to large solar flares. The astroquarks discuss the implications for extraterrestrial life, and that brings us back to Europa, an ocean world orbiting Jupiter whose surface may be punctuated by tall ice spires called penitentes, also seen in snow and ice on Earth. Plus trivia, space news, and, as always, a new sponsor!

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 27, 2018, 8:28 p.m.

Where No Podcast Except This One Has Gone Before

Candy Hansen, veteran of Voyager, Cassini and Mars missions and head of the JunoCam on Juno at Jupiter joins the astroquarks to talk about the edge of the solar system. The astroquarks discuss what the edge of the solar system is, plus stars from other galaxies, space trivia and superhero news. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 20, 2018, 2:52 a.m.

Of Goblins and Planets

Planet 9 is Pluto, but Planet X is back in the news with the discovery of another object in the deep and distant recesses of our solar system, nicknamed the Goblin! It adds another piece of evidence to the idea that a big planet-y thing is lurking our there. So the astroquarks start Halloween season off with a Goblin-themed episode with a planetary Goblin and goblin trivia. Get your spook on, plus a multitude of asteroid hoppers and news from the surface of Mars in the latest episode of Walkabout the Galaxy, the only one that is this actual episode!

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 12, 2018, 6:36 p.m.

The Big Falcon Episode

It would take a falcon huge episode to cover all the space news this month, so the astroquarks take a crack at it. From Space-X's latest plans for a crewed lunar flyby mission to the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission's landers on the asteroid Ryugu, to the latest news about the missing matter in the universe, this episode has it all. It's falcon huge.

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 28, 2018, 5:39 p.m.

An Exthwartation of Quarks, or Jupiter's Magnetic Nubbin

The astroquarks have your bases covered, from Juno's discovery of a magnetic nubbin at Jupiter (check your Friends references) to confirmation of the decay mode of the Higgs Boson to what does it matter anyway because we're all living on the Holodeck! Adam LaMee joins us again to thwart us with a taste of our own quark-thwarting questions. Plus comet trivia and your sponsor. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 20, 2018, 2:48 a.m.

The One That Should Have Been Sponsored by Starburst

Zoe Landsman, "b" astroquark, joins Josh, Jim, and guest Adam LaMee to talk about an ancient (or very young, depending your point of reference) galaxy that's popping off stars so fast we almost called this the Pop Off episode. Plus Adam turns the tables on the astroquarks, updates and trivia on the Mars rovers, plugging leaks in space with your thumb, and the solar cycle.

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 7, 2018, 11:33 p.m.

When the Moon Hits Your Eye, You Might Get a Little Wet

Move over Mars, the Moon wants in on the water game! Attention is focused on the south polar region of the Moon which is both dark (and therefore cold and water-friendly) all the time, and also bright (and therefore solar-panel friendly) all the time. What?! Yep, that's right. The astroquarks are back from summer break to break it all down for you in this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy, plus space trivia and news.

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 28, 2018, 6:36 p.m.

Really Real Actual Water IN Mars. Probably.

In this week's "water on Mars" there's actual news of a potential liquid water reservoir on the red planet today. Well, more in it, than on it, but that adds it to the icy moons with subsurface lakes. This lake is very cold, so that water must be very salty. The astroquarks bring you up to date, touch on a new verification of general relativity, and most importantly delve into obscure superheroes and super-energetic cosmic rays. Great name for a rock band by the way. Catch it all on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 11, 2018, 7:16 p.m.

The Little Neutrino That Could

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a little neutrino left a very large black hole headed straight for a point in space that would be occupied by the Ice Cube neutrino observatory at the Earth's south pole just in time to detect it! This is the story of that neutrino, Scrabble(TM) competitions, neutrino trivia, and a very embarrassing sponsor message. We're all very sorry about that sponsor message, but they paid, so we honored the contract, okay?!

Natural Sciences
Published: July 27, 2018, 4:49 a.m.

What Goes Around Comes Around

Objects in our solar system can take pretty torturous paths to get from point A to point B. Nature can scramble the orbits of asteroids, and people can make satellite orbits scramble in just the right way to go from one orbit to another. Strange, Charm, and Top explore the ways orbits change and a new research report that says that most of the asteroids in the inner part of the asteroid belt may be the debris of just five primordial protoplanets that got smashed to smithereens billions of years ago. That's why the new name for asteroids is going to be "smithereens". Plus: nerd news and spaceflight history trivia!  

Natural Sciences
Published: July 16, 2018, 5:12 p.m.

Wouldn't You Like to Hayabusa Too?

An ambitious Japanese mission, Hayabusa-2 has arrived at its target asteroid Ryugu. Are-you-good with that? See what we did there? (Ryugu'd? Get it?) Yes, that's the level of discourse on Walkabout the Galaxy, but we also find out about the great science to come from this exciting asteroid sample return mission, and a look ahead to the James Webb Space Telescope, whose launch has been slipped to make absolutely sure that nothing got Ryugu'd while building it. Plus we talk about the science of learning, and un-learning, with our special guest Anna Turner. 

Natural Sciences
Published: June 30, 2018, 7:29 p.m.

USA to NASA: Save Our Planet!

NASA does many inspiring and amazing things, from fundamental research into the evolution of the universe and the formation of planetary systems, to development of new technologies to enable humans to go to other worlds. They also sponsor research to monitor the Earth and to monitor the space near the Earth for potential impactors. The astroquarks weigh in on their own preferences for NASA's research priorities and discuss the results of a new survey of Americans on the subject. There's also the discovery of new weird stellar objects near the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, updates on Mars' early climate, and space trivia as always!

Natural Sciences
Published: June 18, 2018, 7:54 a.m.

Won't You Be My Neighbor Universe?

The astroquarks have often wondered where all our alien friends are hanging out. Maybe they're all just in a different universe? Well, most of those universes are probably duds, and anyway, we'll never know! That's the whole definition of a universe. New research sheds light on the surprisingly small role dark energy plays in the early evolution of a universe, and then there's the question of AntMan and the Wasp: do they conserve mass or not when they shrink? We must know!

Natural Sciences
Published: June 7, 2018, 6:44 a.m.

The Interstellar Interloper and the Ravenous Black Hole

It may sound like the title of an astroquark's sex tape, but we actually do have news about a potentially new long-term resident of the solar system captured from another planetary system, and Top astroquark Jim Cooney tells us all about a black hole gobbling up so much stuff that it's the brightest object in the universe! Honorary "Bottom" astroquark Dr. Zoe Landsman joins us to discuss these odd objects, Deadpool and Solo, and asteroid trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: May 28, 2018, 4:34 p.m.

Does Mars Have a Chewy Center?

We all know Mars is crunchy on the outside, but does it have a chewy center? The NASA Mars InSight mission is en route to the red planet to answer that question. The astroquarks talk about InSight's science and instruments, Han Solo, and Richard Feynman in another wide-ranging episode of Walkabout the Galaxy!

Natural Sciences
Published: May 13, 2018, 12:37 a.m.

Chasing New Horizons with David Grinspoon

Check out our first literally-titled episode! David Grinspoon, co-author of "Chasing New Horizons", the behind-the-scenes story of the Pluto mission, joins the astroquarks to dish on Pluto the planet, space exploration, Carl Sagan, and Mickey Mouse's dog! 

Natural Sciences
Published: May 1, 2018, 2:19 a.m.

Danger Astroquarks!

The astroquarks remember Yuri Gagarin's historic first flight in this episode before zooming off to the galactic center to see what's what with the discovery of thousands of black holes packed into the region. Then they zoom out to the galactic halo for a quick distance check on a globular cluster. Hopefully they won't get lost in space!

Natural Sciences
Published: April 14, 2018, 1 a.m.

I Think I Stepped in Some Dark Matter

What do Annihilation, Buckyballs, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and an itsy-bitsy galaxy have in common? They're all topics for the latest walkabout the galaxy with the astroquarks. A small galaxy has been observed with essentially no dark matter (most are mostly made of the dark stuff). Paradoxically, this is very strong evidence for the existence of dark matter. Speaking of things that are hard to see, we'll also check in on TESS, the next space telescope designed to discover lots of Earth-y exoplanets. Join Josh, Addie, and Jim for another whimsical jaunt through the latest news in astronomy and a peak at science fiction.

Natural Sciences
Published: April 3, 2018, 1:54 a.m.

For Stephen Hawking

The astroquarks discuss the late Stephen Hawking's first major breakthrough in astrophysics: radiation from black holes, now known as Hawking Radiation and what that means about what would happen if you through all the recordings of Walkabout the Galaxy into a black hole. UCF student and astronomer Anna Metke joins Josh and Jim to talk about telescopes near and far, and the giant radio telescopes of the Deep Space Network used to talk to spacecraft across the solar system. 

Natural Sciences
Published: March 28, 2018, 9:20 p.m.

Magnetic Ink Blot Test in Space

Some things are hard to see, like black holes. In this episode of Walkabout the Astroquarks discuss a couple of new observations that help us see the earliest stars in the universe and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Plus: Josh struggles to understand superhero movies, Jim provides the trivia, and Addie, as always, is Charm. 

Natural Sciences
Published: March 11, 2018, 5:54 p.m.

Print Me a Space Base, Please

The Astroquarks welcome Dr. Phil Metzger, expert on the use of local materials on the Moon, asteroids, and Mars, to tell us about the prospects for prospecting in space. Find out how to build your Moon home from the space dirt on hand, plus nerd news and space trivia!

Natural Sciences
Published: March 1, 2018, 1:30 a.m.

The One Sponsored by Space Sex

"Starman" in the Tesla Roadster is headed out past the orbit of Mars, and NASA has some cool new missions in the works for exploration of the solar system. One of those, Mars 2020, is the next high-tech rover for the red planet, and this one will be carrying with it an unusual rock sample. The astroquarks cover that and the two finalists for NASA's next New Frontiers mission, and we'll hear about a new study suggesting lots of interstellar planets in a distant galaxy. Plus, of course, our sponsor, and space trivia!

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 20, 2018, 1:51 a.m.

I Could Swear I Left My Satellite in Orbit!

It's a satellite theme on this episode, with a sparkly disco ball in space, a long-lost scientific satellite tracked down by an amateur astronomy sleuth, and space trivia about all the junk in space. Join the astroquarks for a quirky quarky tour of our solar system, and some new evidence about the earliest history of life on Earth.

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 11, 2018, 2:12 p.m.

The Old Stars Tell Tales

Clues to dark matter may be buried in the relics of the oldest stars in the galaxies. The old stars probably formed when the dark matter did, so their motions are probably similar. The astroquarks discuss what this means for understanding that mysterious stuff, plus using X-rays to navigate spacecraft and yet another peculiar meteorite. Dr. Jonathan Kollmer joins the gang for these topics, as well as a sci-fi trivia and nerd news updates.

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 3, 2018, 1:40 a.m.

The One About Bunburra Rockhole

Thank you Australia for giving us a meteorite called Bunburra Rockhole, and not just because the name is endlessly fun to say, but also because it hints at an origin from a missing asteroid. In this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy, the Astroquarks also take a look at Saturn's youthful rings, the link between star formation and the supermassive black holes in the hearts of galaxies, and space trivia and nerd news.

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 23, 2018, 2:14 p.m.

A Very Low Rumble in Space

The astroquarks kick off the new year with a look at a clever and challenging new technique to detect gravitational waves created by supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, and maybe even by the big bang itself. The waves make the Earth's position change, resulting in apparent changes in positions of things we look! Plus: astronomy predictions for 2018, nerd news, and space trivia. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 8, 2018, 3:46 p.m.

2017 - A Great Year for Space

While terrestrial matters were frequently dark and depressing, 2017 was a banner year for the cosmos, or at least for our understanding of it. From Cassini's Grand Finale to LIGO's detection of neutron stars colliding, the astroquarks review the highlights of the year and a new story about a very old black hole from the dawn of the universe. A supermassive black hole formed before the universe was a billion years old, suggesting galaxy formation was off to a robust and early start. Join Josh, Addie and Jim for all that, nerd news and space trivia to wrap up 2017.

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 28, 2017, 2:22 p.m.

Antimatter from your Local Thunderstorm

Antimatter, the stuff that lets the USS Enterprise fly about the galaxy is the topic of this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy because it's made in your garden variety thunderstorm. Lightning strikes have enough energy to drive nuclear reactions that produce antimatter electrons. Join the astroquarks for this and other heady topics such as the wobble of the Earth's axis in space trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 11, 2017, 11:26 p.m.

Fly Me To The Moon (of Saturn!)

Disappointed that we don't have jetpacks and flying cars? Dr. Amanda Hendrix joins the Astroquarks to suggest an alternative: colonize Saturn's moon Titan, where a thick atmosphere and weak gravity mean we could all just fly like birds! Really! But, wait, there's more! Tune in to this episode of Walkabout for discussions of nearby moons and planets to colonize, space trivia and more.

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 30, 2017, 7:31 p.m.

Kronos the Planet Eater

Stars have a voracious appetite, gobbling up most of the stuff in their immediate neighborhood, leaving just a few scraps to make planets. Sometimes, though, even the planets do not escape the stellar maw. In this episode of Walkabout, the astroquarks discuss a neat observation that shows a star likely gobbled several rocky worlds at some point in its past. Plus, help NASA name a Kuiper Belt Object, and find out the link between the planet eater and Greek mythology in this episode's trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 18, 2017, 2:41 a.m.

Rogue Asteroid!

That asteroid is rogue, and that's hyperbolic, but not hyperbole. The astroquarks welcome Dr. Dan Durda to discuss the first detection of a planetary object passing through our solar system that definitively came from another planetary system. All those Star Trek episodes where there is a wandering planet or comet or asteroid in space are now officially validated! 

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 8, 2017, 4:12 p.m.

To Kilonova

If two neutron stars collide in a galaxy 130 million light years away and no one has a gravitational wave observatory to detect it, does it make a sound? Well, that's a silly question, but it happened, and not only was this cosmic catastrophe observed in the high energy light it emitted, but the rippling of spacetime was detected as well. Astronomy now has two independent ways of observing energetic events, and for the first time, something was seen using both techniques: electromagnetic waves (light) and gravitational waves. Join the astroquarks to hear about the first "kilonova" observed this way and what it has to do with your gold jewelry.

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 1, 2017, 11:53 p.m.

I Left My Communicator on Sigma Iotia!

The astroquarks welcome noted science blogger and author Dr. Ethan Siegel whose new book Treknology takes a look at the intersection of science and science fiction. While you may already have a tablet computer, warp drive is probably still a few years away. But Elon Musk may be sending missions to the moon in less time than it takes the U.S.S. Enterprise to complete its 5-year mission (so, less than 5 years, get it?). Tune in for the latest news on exploration of the solar system as well as a look back to some classic Trek-nology with Dr. Ethan Siegel on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 22, 2017, 3:15 a.m.

SOFIA, Nobel and Kuiper - What's in a Name?

The astroquarks welcome WMFE space reporter Brendan Byrne who recounts his flight on the SOFIA airborne observatory. They hen vent about how the Nobel Prize committee has unaccountably once again passed them over. Here about this year's winners in physics, and a discussion of the history of the Kuiper Belt in this episode's space trivia. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 10, 2017, 3 a.m.

OSIRIS-REx Gets the Gravity Assist and Scores!

How exactly (and why) does a spacecraft get a "gravitational assist" from a planet en route to another planet? Where does that energy come from? The Astroquarks take a look at gravity assists and the OSIRIS-REx mission to grab some bits of a Near-Earth Asteroid and bring them back to Earth. Plus, the field of gravitational wave astronomy expanded now with the detection of a new black hole collision by two separate gravitational wave observatories. It's a weighty episode.

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 4, 2017, 7:43 p.m.

To Be, Cassini, Or Not To Be

Josh recounts experiencing the end of the Cassini mission and recalls more than a quarter century of involvement with the project in this episode. Then the astroquarks take a look outward toward our galaxy and its retinue of dwarf galaxies and what that may say about how typical, or not, the Milky Way is in the grand scheme of things. All that plus Cassini trivia, nerd news, and a meteorological sponsor on this episode of WtG.

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 27, 2017, 2:37 p.m.

Florence and the LIGO Machine

Asteroid Florence with her two mini-moons pays a visit to the Earth, while Tabby's Star continues to mystify with its unpredictable fluctuations in brightness. The astroquarks also cover the latest LIGO rumors about the detection of neutron star collisions, expanding the realm of gravitational wave astronomy. Plus Nerd News and Space Trivia!

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 17, 2017, 1:37 a.m.

Are Those Diamonds on Uranus?

New experiments have created diamonds in the conditions expected in the interiors of Uranus and Neptune. Former Top Astroquark Tracy Becker joins Josh, Addie and Jim to discuss diamond rain deep in the atmospheres of these giant planets. Join the astroquarks for nerd news, space trivia, and a bit of planetary science for good measure.

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 7, 2017, 1:52 a.m.

Of Eclipses and Starspots

The astroquarks tell their eclipse stories from the Great American Eclipse. The Sun and every star has weather, spots, oscillations, flares and all sorts of activity. Some of this is revealed during an eclipse to the naked eye. Now, telescopes have enabled us to map the appearance of the red supergiant, Antares. Join Josh, Addie and Jim for this stellar episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 31, 2017, 1:32 a.m.

Of Zombies, Comets and Kilograms

The weight on that box of breakfast cereal ultimately traces back to "le grand K", a metal sphere in a vault in Paris, a wonderfully archaic standard for how much stuff makes a kilogram. We'll talk about the efforts to update that standard, the next Kuiper Belt Object to be explored by the New Horizons spacecraft, eclipses and occultations, and of course Zombies. Join the astroquarks for the latest astro-news, nerd news, and this episode's trivia about the length of the month!

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 17, 2017, 4:49 p.m.

Cold and Hard, not Warm and Fuzzy

The Sun doesn't just shine, it rings like a bell, or a drumhead wrapped into a ginormous ball of incandescent plasma. The astroquarks talk about how helioseismology tells us about the interior of the Sun, and new research shows some surprising changes in the Sun's outer layers. And the disappointing news from the realm of cosmology is that dark matter is probably not warm and fuzzy, depriving us of endless opportunities for jokes, not to mention that it would be awesome if we had fuzzy dark matter throughout the universe. Catch up on the latest astronomy, nerd news, and space trivia with the astroquarks on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 10, 2017, 1:47 p.m.

Going Rogue!

If the controversy over Pluto's planetary status weren't already enough, what do you call a planet that is not even orbiting a star? The astroquarks explore rogue planets in this episode, planets that wander interstellar space, without a fire to keep them warm. We discuss how they nevertheless have been detected. Also, Addie's favorite body (rhymes with loon) and Jim's new favorite name, nerd news, space sponsor, and space trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: July 30, 2017, 7:38 p.m.

Teleport Me to the Great Red Spot!

Dr. Kristen John of NASA's Johnson Space Center joins the Astroquarks for a wide-ranging discussion on topics from Jupiter's Great Red Spot to teleportation (yes, it's a real thing) and just what that means (not at all clear, but don't get ready to step into that transporter beam just yet). 

Natural Sciences
Published: July 21, 2017, 1:36 p.m.

Where No One Has Gone Before

The astroquarks are joined by Dr. Phil Metzger who spends a lot of time thinking about how our civilization can make the great leap into space. We may not be that far away from truly moving off our home planet and becoming a "Type 1 Civilization" that inhabits the solar system and not just one planet. We discuss how we'll get there, how long it might take, the challenges we face, and of course the latest nerd news and trivia from the world of Pandora (the Avatar one, not Saturn's moon).

Natural Sciences
Published: July 9, 2017, 3:06 p.m.

Is Planet 9 Lost in Space?

Planet 9, also known as Egotron in honor of its supporters, has never been seen. A new statistical analysis of a deep sky survey suggests that's because it doesn't exist. The object's existence has been proposed to explain an apparent clustering of the orbits of some objects that have the charming quality of actually having been directly observed. The astroquarks discuss the arguments for Egotron and how statistics and observation bias play into all this. Speaking of statistics and planets, Kepler's list of planet candidates keeps growing. Hear about the latest discoveries, nerd news, space trivia and more on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: June 28, 2017, 2:02 p.m.

Leggo my LIGO!

The astroquarks take a look at new indications of water ice on the Moon, evidence that Jupiter formed in less than a million years, and the third detection by LIGO of gravitational waves from a black hole merger. All that, NASA's new astronaut class, New Horizons, and the summer sci-fi blockbuster and blockbuster wannabes on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: June 21, 2017, 1:15 p.m.

Uranus Gets Bedazzled!

How many jokes can the three astroquarks make about the pronunciation of the seventh planet? You'll have to tune in to this episode of WtG to find out. Josh, Addie and Jim discuss how aurorae on planets are made and why seeing them on Uranus is surprising. Also, is there a new type of planetary object, or is it just more hot gas? Find out about the Synestia, Uranus, nerd news and Star Trek trivia on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: June 3, 2017, 9:21 a.m.

Is That Inflation Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

You may think of inflation as prices creeping higher, but to a cosmologist it's been an important idea to explain why the universe is so uniform on very large scales in every direction we look. But does inflation pass muster as a testable scientific theory? The astroquarks review what inflation is all about as there is renewed discussion in the scientific community about the theory and its predictions. Plus, nerd news and the Great American Eclipse. 

Natural Sciences
Published: May 26, 2017, 2:54 p.m.

Juno What I Mean!

The Juno mission is studying Jupiter's interior, but its citizen-scientist JunoCam is returning stunning images of the largest planet. Hear the astroquarks Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney provide equally stunning descriptions of those pictures. You will hear color! If you're on mind-altering substances. Otherwise it will be a tour of the solar system, from Jupiter to Mars to Comet 67P. All that plus nerd news and space trivia.

Natural Sciences
Published: May 17, 2017, 2:02 a.m.

The Solar System is a Bubble in Space

Josh and Addie welcome two special guests for this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy where we learn about a new and clever measurement of the size and shape of the heliosphere. Cooler still, some of the critical data came from our old friend Cassini and even older friends the Voyager spacecraft. All this, plus trivia, nerd news and a galaxy-sized wave of hot gas. 

Natural Sciences
Published: May 10, 2017, 12:55 p.m.

The Grand Finale is Finale Here

No, that ain't no negative mass, but yes, for Cassini the end is nigh. The series of 22 Grand Finale orbits has begun, providing unique views of Saturn and its rings and a way to probe the planet's interior and magnetic field. The astroquarks also check out yet another exoplanet in the habitable zone of a nearby star and discuss the headline about a discovery of "negative mass". 

Natural Sciences
Published: April 28, 2017, 1:16 a.m.

Enceladus is a Little Bit Gassy!

The astroquarks dissect the latest news from Saturn's intriguing moon Enceladus. Molecular hydrogen in its geysers suggest that Enceladus' ocean floor has the same kinds of hydrothermal energy sources that may have powered the origin of life on Earth. Plus, lots of Star Wars nerd news, and from the cosmological realm the first map of dark matter bridges connecting pairs of galaxies. 

Natural Sciences
Published: April 15, 2017, 8:06 p.m.

That's Quite a Hadron You've Got There!

The Large Hadron Collider announced five new subatomic particles recently. Top astroquark Jim Cooney is our go-to quark for all things quarky, so he explains what's going on with these new particles. Charm astroquark Addie Dove gives us the latest rocket news, and Strange astroquark Josh Colwell discovers that there's something good about "Starship Troopers". Tune in for the latest news in astronomy, from the planetary to the cosmological, nerd news, space trivia, and "what's on Josh's whiteboard" on each episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: April 5, 2017, 2:17 a.m.

The Great Black Hole Escape

What are gravitational waves good for? Getting rid of that pesky supermassive black hole that's outstayed its welcome, for one thing. Join the astroquarks, Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney, for a journey from a comet with landslides to a distant galaxy that is losing its central black hole. All that, nerd news, and more on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 27, 2017, 1:56 a.m.

Space Dust Keeps Falling on my Head

On this Pi-Day recording of WtG, the astroquarks have a special trivia question and science topics ranging from interplanetary dust to Saturn's intriguing ravioli-shaped moon Pan, and antimatter. Find out how much more energetic you'd feel if you metabolized food the way Star Trek's antimatter engines work instead of through boring chemical reactions.  

Natural Sciences
Published: March 19, 2017, 8:50 p.m.

The One About Patrick Stewart

There are black holes and interferometry in this episode, but the nerd news segment on Patrick Stewart either sets a new standard or a new low. You be the judge as the astroquarks, Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney take a look at advances in imaging the event horizon of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 12, 2017, 10:23 p.m.

Strange New Worlds

A system of seven Earth-sized planets has been observed orbiting a (relatively) nearby star. At least three of these planets are in the habitable zone, or as Top Astroquark Jim Cooney would say, the haBITable zone. That's where there may be liquid water on the surface of the planet. The star for these planets is tiny and not so hot, so the planets are huddled around it like campers around the embers of a dying fire. Tune it for that plus: Star Wars! Note to Star Wars and Star Trek: next movie have some planets that are, like these, so close to their star that they have synchronous rotation, with a permanent dayside and a permanent nightside!

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 28, 2017, 5:50 p.m.

White Dwarfs and Planetary Nebulae

It's the plural episode of Walkabout as the Astroquarkae discuss the formation of White Dwarfs and Planetary Nebulae, what they have to do with each other, planets, and the price of tea in China (answers: lots, something superficial, and nothing at all). Also in this episode: nerd news, fishing advice, space trivia, and an imperial sponsor.  Walkabout the Galaxy is a fun and informative discussion of news in astronomy hosted by astronomers Josh Colwell, Addie Dove and Jim Cooney.

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 17, 2017, 5:37 p.m.

Stripey Buggers

The astroquarks welcome Brendan Byrne from WMFE 90.7 to discuss the some jaw-dropping images of Saturn's rings as Cassini begins working its way in towards its fateful plunge into Saturn on September 15, 2017. Along the way we'll dissect F/X no-no's in Star Wars and find out from Brendan if we're there yet. There = Mars, by the way, and time's a wastin'. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 5, 2017, 3:43 a.m.

A Space Odyssey

One of these rocks is not like the other. One is a meteorite, and one is an asteroid, and we know that meteorites come from asteroids. So how come they look so different? The astroquarks discuss new research into ancient meteorites that shows how the tumultuous history of the asteroid belt is to blame. Plus charm quark Addie Dove points out that one rock is on the ground and one isn't, so there's a pretty big different right there. Strange quark Josh Colwell gets very strange with the sponsor message, and top quark Jim Cooney tells us that if you'd like to age about 1 second slower than everyone else you just have to move to the center of the Earth's core. In other words, just another episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 30, 2017, 1:24 a.m.

The Hottest Year in a Row!

Venus continues its record-setting warm streak now at over 1 billion years and counting, while the Earth just set its own modest record for the hottest year in the last 150 for the third record-setting year in a row. We've got a lot of work to do if we want to catch up with Venus. Speaking of Venus, something weird happened in its atmosphere that's probably the result of a gravity wave, not to be confused with gravitational waves which are a different beast altogether. Let the astroquarks take you on a journey from Venus to distant galaxies, and from greenhouse warming to non-Newtonian dynamics in this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 23, 2017, 9:37 p.m.

Walk About the Great Big Group of Stars

In this piece of time of "Walk About the Great Big Group of Stars" we talk about two stars that will run into each other and make a big bright red thing five years from now. We also talk about two new big boxes with computers and stuff inside. The space team for our land will put these big boxes on two up-goers in years ahead to study things made of rock and also made of stuff that is like rock but heavier than rock that we use to make cars. These things go around the Sun and are smaller than our world, but are still a lot bigger than a person.

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 11, 2017, 10:12 p.m.

The Fartological Cycle

The astroquarks examine new observations of the rate of expansion of the universe and its consequences for Dark Energy, the mysterious force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. That, and what it would be like to live on Titan, a world where methane (natural gas) takes the place of water on the Earth: it rains methane into methane lakes, and it freezes out depending on the season. It's a veritable methanological cycle.

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 4, 2016, 8:41 p.m.

Three Quarks for JJ Abrams!

The astroquarks are back with a wide-ranging discussion from actual quarks to exoplanets with rain of molten glass and clouds of vaporized rock, as well as the latest news in rocket launches and sci-fi movies.

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 18, 2016, 3:09 a.m.

I Dub Thee Egotron

The astroquarks, Josh, Addie and Jim, return from a break to catch up on the latest planetary and galactic news. There is new indirect evidence that a largish body may be lurking in the distant regions of our solar system. Others have called this "Planet 9". Listen in to hear why strange quark Josh prefers the moniker "Egotron". Charm quark Addie fills in on the latest rocket news and mishaps. That, plus a new census on the number of galaxies in the early universe shows ten times more than previously thought. Top quark Jim tells us why that's no big deal. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Oct. 29, 2016, 7:23 p.m.

To Boldly Go!

The astroquarks commemorate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. New this episode is the discovery of the Philae lander's final resting place on a comet, the launch of the OSIRIS-REx mission to grab some asteroid stuff and bring it home, the unveiling of Blue Origin's New Glenn reusable orbital rocket, and a proposal for a competitor to fantasy football: fantasy astrophysicists!

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 22, 2016, 12:28 a.m.

Extraterrestrials: Are They a Thing Yet?

With a new "Earth-like" planet orbiting the nearest star to our Sun and frequent headlines popping up about interesting signals from SETI programs, and a flurry about a mysterious "Em-Drive" to facilitate interstellar travel, the Astroquarks put on their skeptical hats (actually, they are always on) to ask "is that a thing?". Spoiler alert: nah. But the Pale Red Dot at Proxima Centauri is definitely a thing, and it's pretty cool. Or hot. Depends which side of it you're standing on. Tune into Walkabout the Galaxy for this and all the latest astro-news.

Natural Sciences
Published: Sept. 6, 2016, 2:04 a.m.


The astroquarks delve into the critical issues facing our world: what reboot is more awesome or more terrible: Star Trek, Star Wars, or Tarzan? Also, lots of comparative planetology as we discuss who is more lovable: Venus, Earth, or Mars in the past, present and future? Venus and Mars may have been lovely a few billion years ago, and we visit Titan, Saturn's moon and honorary planet and home of great lakes of liquid methane fed by methane river canyons. Join us for these exciting topics and imponderable questions such as what makes a lake a lake and not a sea.

Natural Sciences
Published: Aug. 16, 2016, 4:09 a.m.

For The World Is Not Hollow

NASA's Juno spacecraft is orbiting the largest planet with the primary goal of understanding its internal structure. It will do this through a clever technique we at the Walkabout studios call "science". Check it out. It also comes in handy in just about every aspect of life. Join the astroquarks for the latest discoveries in our solar system on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: July 29, 2016, 2:38 p.m.

The Sun Needs a Red Corvette

The Sun may be showing signs of belatedly entering a mid-life crisis of sorts. A sporty new car may improve the Sun's mood, as its spin and sunspot production may be slowing now that it's nearing the 5-billion year mark. Well, still a few hundred million years to go before ol' Sol reaches that sobering birthday, but he can see it coming. Don't worry Sol, the Walkabout gang and the rest of humanity is here for you. Josh, Addie, and Jim discuss the Sun's mid-life crisis and the color of quarks among other things in this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: July 9, 2016, 10 a.m.

Earth's Mini-Stalker

Lurking out there beyond the orbit of the Moon is a sneaky little asteroid that is stalking the Earth, meandering around and pretending not to be paying attention. But you can't fool the fools on Walkabout the Galaxy. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie as we spill the beans on Earth's tiny not-quite-a-moon companion and review the latest discovery of black hole mergers by the LIGO gravitational wave observatory. 

Natural Sciences
Published: July 1, 2016, 2:26 a.m.

Black Holes: What Goes In Might Come Out

While we stick by our longstanding advice never to enter a black hole, Jim Cooney and Zoe Landsman join Josh and Addie in this episode to discuss new findings that radiation emitted by black holes through quantum effects may carry information about the stuff the black hole gobbled up. Also, the rate of expansion of the universe may be a bit faster than previously thought. File this under "things I don't need to worry about before I run my errands."

Natural Sciences
Published: June 17, 2016, 7:38 a.m.

Watching Supernovae with H2O

In the good old days you needed a lens or a mirror to have a telescope, but now they'll use any old thing to look at the sky: ultra-precise orthogonal laser interferometers to measure gravitational waves or big tanks of water to see gamma rays from supernovae (that's Latin for supernovas). Jim Cooney and Zoe Landsman join Josh and Addie to talk about a new gamma ray observatory and why anyone might build such a thing. Also, planets and stuff. 

Natural Sciences
Published: May 28, 2016, 12:02 a.m.

Take Me to Mars (and Back Again!)

Josh and Addie welcome Julie Brisset to discuss the comings and goings of SpaceX Dragon capsules to Earth as well as planned (unmanned) missions to Mars in the very near future. Catch up on the latest in space exploration on Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: May 16, 2016, 7:33 p.m.

Supernova Breakout!

Just when you thought a supernova couldn't get any cooler (metaphorically speaking, of course), the Kepler spacecraft comes along and spies for the first time the "breakout" of the exploding star from itself. Confused? Then this episode of Walkabout will clear things up for you. Josh and Addie welcome Dr. Phil Metzger to talk supernovae, meteors and the far side of the Moon.

Natural Sciences
Published: April 4, 2016, 1:16 a.m.

Nice Model Not So Nice

Ten years after the development of a dramatic new picture of the early history of the solar system, dubbed the Nice model (it was created at the Observatory in Nice, France), it has undergone several tweaks and modifications. The model posits a reshuffling of the big planets that led to a number of our current solar system's notable features, such as the late heavy bombardment, the distribution of orbits of asteroids and comets, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. On this episode of WtG, we welcome Akbar Whizin to discuss new research that reshuffles the Nice reshuffling, as well the new Star Trek TV show and the charming nature of baseball statistics.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 12, 2016, 6:14 a.m.

The Babiest Galaxy

Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about the origin of galaxies and the observation of a galaxy from when the universe was but a teeny weeny baby of a universe, less than 1/12th its current size. Also, Scott Kelly is back on terra firma and has to deal with gravity. Hear all about redshifts, the big bang, and hyposprays on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: March 6, 2016, 4:44 p.m.

Attack of the Gravitational Wave

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, two big black holes (no jokes, please) collided with each other releasing a ginormous amount of energy that has propagated across the universe as the tiniest stretching and jiggling of space itself. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about the first direct detection of the waving of space-time (in other words, gravitational waves). 

Natural Sciences
Published: Feb. 18, 2016, 2:23 a.m.

Planet 9 From Outer Space!

Not content with being the self-proclaimed "Pluto Killer", CalTech professor Mike Brown has now co-authored a paper hypothesizing the existence of, in his own words, "the most planet-y of planets" or "Planet 9", in the far outer reaches of our solar system. We get it: you hate Pluto! But personal planetary battles aside, this is an interesting bit of dynamical detective work in which lead author Konstantin Batygin and Brown argue that a roughly Neptune-sized planet several hundred times further from the Sun than the Earth is needed to explain the peculiar configuration of a dozen or so objects in the Kuiper Belt. Jim Cooney joins Josh and Addie to talk about Planet 9. If it's the most planet-y of planets, let's come up with a new name for whatever the Earth is.

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 23, 2016, 7:49 p.m.

El Nino and the Price of Anchovies

So what do floods in the southwest have to do with the price of anchovies? Join Josh, and Julie Brisset and find out in this episode of Walkabout from our guest Professor Dan Britt. But first: Star Wars. Spoilers abound. 

Natural Sciences
Published: Jan. 13, 2016, 1:11 a.m.

Exploring the Kuiper Belt with Alan Stern

Join us for a discussion with Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and hear about the mission and its discoveries from the man who made it happen. New Horizons is headed towards its next target, a smaller object in the Kuiper Belt, the region of space beyond Neptune that was also, as it turns out, the birthplace of comet 67/P Churyomov-Gerasimenko. Yep, that's the comet that the ESA mission Rosetta is studying, and none other than Alan Stern is the P.I. of the ultraviolet spectrometer on that mission. It's all about the Kuiper Belt and missions to explore it with Alan Stern on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Dec. 17, 2015, 5:14 p.m.

The Mystery of Mars' Missing Air

Why is there no air on Mars? NASA's MAVEN mission has supplied some details on how our neighbor lost what was likely a robust atmosphere comparable to Earth's. Spoiler alert: size does matter. Mars' diminutive scale poses a number of problems for holding onto the atmosphere. MAVEN has now witnessed erosion of the atmosphere due to the solar wind. Hear about Mars and more on this episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

Natural Sciences
Published: Nov. 29, 2015, 4:09 p.m.

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