StarDate Podcast

StarDate Podcast

Latest Episodes

Penumbral Eclipse
November 29, 2020

The full Moon will fade a bit in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. The effect isn’t especially obvious, but it should be noticeable. The reason is an eclipse. But it’s a penumbral eclipse, which means the Moon will pass through the faint outer ring of Ea

Moon Watching
November 28, 2020

The Moon arcs high across the sky tonight. It rises in the east-southeast a little before sunset, and sets in the west-northwest a little before sunrise. The Moon’s rising and setting points move north and south along the horizon. And there’s a big swing

Galaxy Pair
November 27, 2020

Two beautiful spiral galaxies in the constellation Cetus are getting each other all stirred up. The galaxies are about half a million light-years apart — not very far on the galactic scale. At that distance, the gravity of each galaxy tugs heavily at the

Alpha Persei
November 26, 2020

Not many stars have entire clusters named after them. One that does is Alpha Persei, the brightest star of Perseus, the hero. It’s a massive young star that’s nearing the end of its life. And it’s surrounded by a family of hundreds of other stars — the Al

Moon and Mars
November 25, 2020

If you look at an elevation map of Mars, one thing really stands out: The northern hemisphere is a lot lower than the southern hemisphere. And planetary scientists are still trying to figure out why. On average, the northern third of Mars is a mile or two

The Great Silence
November 24, 2020

It’s quiet out there. We’ve been listening for radio signals from other civilizations off and on for decades. But we haven’t heard a peep. Many scientists say there’s no reason to think Earth is the only planet with life in the Milky Way Galaxy. In fact,

Steamy Planets
November 23, 2020

If you enjoy a steam bath, the galaxy may offer a lot of planets for you to visit. These worlds may be completely covered by water. And they’re so close to their stars that a lot of the water evaporates, forming a deep, steamy atmosphere. Astronomers have

Ancient Planet
November 22, 2020

Earth is four and a half billion years old. On the timescale of the universe, that makes it a youngster. The earliest planets probably were born more than eight billion years earlier — when the universe was only about one billion years old. One of the old

Youngest Planet
November 21, 2020

The youngest planet yet seen faces an uncertain future. It could live a long life near its parent star. Or it could fall into the star within a few hundred million years. The planet orbits V830 Tauri, which is about 425 light-years away. The star is only

Disappearing Planet
November 20, 2020

A planet that appeared to orbit the star Fomalhaut has blown away like dust on a stellar wind. Instead of a planet, the object may be debris from a collision. Fomalhaut is low in the south as night falls, far to the lower left of the Moon. It’s the only b