StarDate Podcast

StarDate Podcast

Latest Episodes

Moon and Jupiter
September 17, 2021

If people ever build long-term settlements on the Moon, they’ll need a lot of protection from the elements. High on the list of hazards are radiation from the Sun and other sources, and bombardment by small but speedy space rocks. One possible solution is

Moon and Saturn
September 16, 2021

Summer’s just about over here in the northern hemisphere. It ends on Wednesday, at the equinox. On the planet Saturn, though, it’s still the middle of summer. And the season won’t end until 2025. Saturn has seasons for the same reason that Earth does — it

Neptune Opposition III
September 15, 2021

The planet Neptune was discovered 175 years ago this month. Its biggest moon, Triton, was found just 17 days later. But Neptune’s second-biggest moon wasn’t discovered until more than 140 years after that. It’s so small, dark, and close to Neptune that it

Neptune Opposition II
September 14, 2021

Earth’s weather is powered by the Sun, which bathes our planet with energy. But the Sun’s most remote planet powers its own weather. It radiates more than twice as much energy into space as it receives from the Sun. That creates big storms and the fastest

Neptune at Opposition
September 13, 2021

To paraphrase a famous saying, the pen is mightier than the telescope — at least sometimes. 175 years ago this month, for example, astronomers discovered the planet Neptune. It wasn’t through weeks of long nights at the telescope. Instead, it took only on

Moon and Antares
September 12, 2021

Many of the bright stars in the night sky are associated with a particular season — the time of year when they’re best seen during the evening hours. For those of us in the United States, for example, the star Antares is one of the highlights of summer. I

Precious Cargo
September 11, 2021

When the Spirit and Opportunity rovers landed on Mars in 2004, each carried a couple of treasures from home. One was a DVD bearing the names of four million people who signed up for the trip. The other wasn’t made public until after they landed: pieces of

Green Peas
September 10, 2021

Thousands of green peas float through the universe. They weren’t strewn about by the Jolly Green Giant. Instead, they’re small, busy galaxies — little nibbles that are giving birth to new stars. The galaxies were discovered by volunteers who were looking

Moon and Venus
September 09, 2021

The Moon and Venus team up for an impressive display early this evening. They’re in the west-southwest as night falls. Venus, the “evening star,” is close to the lower left of the Moon. At the same time, the planet Jupiter, the next-brightest object in th

Zodiacal Light
September 08, 2021

From a light-polluted city or suburb, the night sky features the Moon, the bright planets, and a few dozen to a few hundred stars. If you escape city lights, though, you’ll see that parts of the night sky glow. There’s the faint band of the Milky Way, whi