Walkabout The Galaxy



An irreverent and informative tour of the latest, greatest and most interesting discoveries in astronomy.


  • The Universe May Be Empty But We Are Together

    20/05/2020 Duration: 49min

    The astroquarks are face to face to face at a safe physical (not social!) distance. We zoom out, without zoom, to explore the question of the origin of life in an immense universe. People are fixin' to go back to space from the U.S., Pluto's atmosphere may stick around longer than though, and there's plenty of space news and human spaceflight trivia. 

  • A Backyard Black Hole

    13/05/2020 Duration: 35min

    Everyone's favorite scary astronomical object, the black hole, just got a bit closer to home with the discovery of a modest, stellar-sized black hole a mere 1000 light years from the solar system. Top quark Jim Cooney reassures us that that gives us at least 999.9 light years of safety buffer. Pieces of the asteroid Ryugu en route back to Earth as part of the Hayabusa-2 mission may have an interesting mix of "weathered" material on board. Get the details as well as android trivia and space news on this episode of Walkabout.

  • Is The Sun a Sunlike Star

    06/05/2020 Duration: 41min

    As the Sun starts getting more active at the beginning of a new solar cycle, new observations of sunlike stars show that the Sun itself may be unusually calm. Good news for life on Earth, but a downer for the astroquarks dreaming of meeting the Vulcans or Klingons sometime soon. Also, we review progress in understanding the large scale structure of the universe and solar trivia. 

  • The Quark with a Fork

    30/04/2020 Duration: 52min

    Former co-host Dr. Tracy Becker joins us to talk about exploring the geysers of Jupiter's moon Europa, the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the disappearance of what we thought was a nearby exoplanet. Join us for this special Seussian episode of Walkabout the Galaxy.

  • When You Wish Upon a Neutrino

    22/04/2020 Duration: 42min

    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.

  • Psyche Out: Metal Asteroids and an Irregular Universe

    15/04/2020 Duration: 54min

    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. 

  • Alien Life and Star Trek Diseases

    07/04/2020 Duration: 50min

    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?

  • The Importance of Being Gassy

    29/03/2020 Duration: 45min

    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.

  • A Pulsating Star and a Salty Asteroid

    23/03/2020 Duration: 41min

    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.

  • It's That Time of the Solar Cycle

    11/03/2020 Duration: 51min

    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.

  • Gravitational Waves Rumbling Through the Universe

    02/03/2020 Duration: 50min

    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.

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

    21/02/2020 Duration: 47min

    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.

  • Things That Go Burst in the Night

    16/02/2020 Duration: 49min

    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.

  • Sexaquark!

    09/02/2020 Duration: 48min

    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.

  • The Mysterious Case of the Dragging Frame

    02/02/2020 Duration: 45min

    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. 

  • The Asteroid versus the Volcanoes

    19/01/2020 Duration: 47min

    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.

  • Lucy, TESS, and the Dark Energy Mess

    14/01/2020 Duration: 48min

    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. 

  • Hashtag Fundamental

    06/01/2020 Duration: 46min

    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. 

  • Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse

    31/12/2019 Duration: 45min

    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.

  • Hot Blobs and Magnetic Spots

    22/12/2019 Duration: 52min

    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.

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