Interview with Dr Kathy Thornton We chat to Dr Kathy Thornton, nuclear physicist turned NASA astronaut who went on to fly on four Space Shuttle missions. Dr Thornton flew for over 40 days and completed over 21 hours of EVA, including the famous operation to fix the blurry Hubble Space Telescope. We talk about her life as an astronaut, the Hubble fix and that fateful day in mission-control on Columbia’s last re-entry. Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

#132 – June 2023 Awesome Astronomy This month Jeni and Paul talk about the recent supernova in galaxy M101; volcanic exoplanets; the growing observational evidence putting the current Big Bang theory under strain and the history of water on both Earth and Mars. There is discussions on alien contact; exoplanet detection and how long it would take to accelerate to the speed of light. Paul does a summer reading book review with three space books to keep you entertained on the beach this summer. Jeni has a look at the Juice mission, Axiom 2, future space station plans and a round up of launches. ThisRead More →

Skylab 50 – Interview with Astronaut Jack Lousma To celebrate the Skylab 50th anniversary here is one our favourite astronaut chats from 2012 where we caught up with Skylab 3 and STS-3 astronaut, Jack Lousma. Jack was also capcom during Apollo 13 and he tells us about taking that ominous ‘Houston, we’ve had a problem’ call and how they solved each life-threatening issue in sequence to get the astronauts back alive. He talks about missing out on flying Apollo 20 to the moon, being a crew member on the Skylab space station and taking one of the first space shuttles out for a test drive.Read More →

#131 – May 2023 Awesome Astronomy This month Paul and Jeni in astronomy news talk about new data on the M87 blackhole, the architecture of planetary systems, the hottest stars, an impact crater in France and how Mars might not have been oxygen rich. In exploration news there is the latest on  JUICE and they welcome an old friend back to the show to talk about Starship. There is a review of the recent AstroCamp where the team witnessed one of the biggest geomagnetic storms of recent times and saw one of the most impressive Auroral displays while standing on a Welsh mountain. Awesome AstronomyRead More →

Interview with Joshua Western CEO of Space Forge Jeni visits Space Forge for an update on their mission to build reusable satellites to manufacture materials that that are impossible on the ground. She talks to CEO Joshua Western about that fateful launch from Cornwall on Virgin’s Cosmic Girl, how they are getting ready for their next test aboard a Falcon 9, their re-entry tech nicknamed ‘Mary Poppins in Space’ and the company’s future plans to scale up the manufacturing process from grams to tons!   Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

#130 – April 2023 Awesome Astronomy In this episode Jeni and Paul talk about exoplanet atmospheres, the latest thinking on solar system visitor Oumuamua, Vigin Orbits woes, Relativity’s 3D success, and the oldest orbiting satellite. There is the sky guide for April, a discussion about what new telescope Jeni should buy and listener emails as well as Paul’s miserable weather and Jeni’s gala dinner talk for International Women’s Day. Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

Interview with Solar Astronomer Professor Robert Walsh Paul takes time out from outreach at the Festival of Tomorrow at the Swindon STEAM museum to chat with Professor Robert Walsh of the University of Central Lancashire, who with artist Alex Rinsler has created a giant representation of the Sun as an outreach and art project that uses the data of the Solar Dynamics Observatory. They talk about solar science, the coronal heating problem, sounding rockets, space missions professor Walsh has been involved with, space weather and why he has his own Sun. Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

#129 – March 2023 Awesome Astronomy In this episode Jeni tells us about her TEDx talk, dressing up for Mama Mia and eating insane burgers, while Paul appears to have started a modelling career. In astronomy news the team explore the latest JWST findings that may have broken cosmology and changed everything we thought we knew about the history of the universe, as well as a potential new explanation for dark energy and black holes. There is the sky-guide looking at the highlights for March as well as the Messier marathon, while in spaceflight news it is all change on the ISS, Boeing may finallyRead More →

Interview with Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell Interview with astronomer Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell Jeni talks to the legendary discoverer of pulsars, champion of women in science and Oxford University astronomer about her astronomy career, inspirations, motivations and key discoveries.   Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

#127 – January 2023 The Discussion: Our dark sky practical astronomy event, AstroCamp Farewell Apollo 7’s Walt Cunningham Comet C2022 E3 ZTF reaches naked eye brightness     The News: Rounding up the astronomy news in February, we have: Incredible finding: stars have not always been made the same way throughout the history of the Universe The debacle of the first space launch from UK soil 3 rocky water worlds found by the Kepler Space Telescope The big news story: a decade-long study finds light pollution is worse than we thought   The Sky Guide: This month we’re taking a look at the large winterRead More →

2023 January Podcast Extra Bringing back the much-missed Awesome Astronomy interviews with a bang, we’re joined by friend of the show Chris Lee.   Chris began his career in the 80s in the UK space industry at British Aerospace, Matra Marconi and SCISYS where he worked on the Hubble Space Telescope, the Giotto mission to Halley’s Comet, Beagle 2, Exomars and LISA Pathfinder.   He then became the UK Space Agency’s first Head of International Space Policy and then Head of Space Science Programmes before becoming Chief Scientist at the UK Space Agency.   Now retired, he’s a keen amateur astronomer with Bristol Astronomical Society,Read More →

#127 – January 2023 The Discussion: A refreshed format coming to Awesome Astronomy in 2023 A look back at the festive season     The News: Rounding up the astronomy news in November, we have: Something in the solar system is producing light that’s not unaccounted for A leak on the International Space Station’s lifeboat NASA’s Mars lander comes to an end A new way to look for aliens   The big news story: As the UK gets ready to launch space vehicles for the first time, we take a look at the long history of UK space activity and the concept of launching toRead More →

End of Year Show *** Beware, stiff profanity (phnar phnar) in the outtakes at the end ***   Our Christmas Pantomime sees the Awesome Astronomy crew exploring strange new worlds on the Astronomy Star Ship (ASS) Penetrator.   Between the puerile skits you’ve come to expect from our end of year shows, we bring you a roundup of the best astronomy and space exploration news from 2022. And, of course, a look forward to the highlights to come in 2023.   To all our listeners, a very merry Christmas, happy holidays and a prosperous 2023 (download or die!). Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

#126 – December 2022 The Discussion: Meteor shower disappointment Lecturing course started Dr Jen’s 30th birthday party karaoke – with audio! more resources for astronomy and astrophotography over at nightskypix.com   The News: Rounding up the astronomy news in November, we have: JWST picks up chemical reactions in an exoplanet atmosphere ESA’s latest astronaut recruitment Virgin Galactic gets go ahead to launch from Cornwall UK spaceports pop up all over the place Rocket Lab continue chasing the reusable rocket dream The big news story: What else? Artemis 1 launches to make NASA’s return to the moon a reality.   The Sky Guide: This month we’reRead More →

#124 – October 2022 Part 1 The Discussion: Enjoying the recent eclipse (weather permitting) Jeni is officially recognised as being great Visiting the Herschel Museum And listeners’ emails on: Having astronomy on the brain Cartoon characters in space A reflection of Venus off swamp gas!   The News: Rounding up the astronomy news in November, we have: Why spiral galaxies seem to line up from our perspective The origin story for Saturn’s rings Still waiting for NASA’s first Artemis moon mission Farewell Apollo 9’s Jim McDivitt Boeing’s zombie Starliner spacecraft gets a crew The big news story: Hipparchus’ star charts found buried in early ChristianRead More →

Rendlesham Forest Incident Christmas 1980. Suffolk, England. Two US airmen witness what they believe is an aircraft coming down in the forest next to their base. So begins the story of the UKs most notorious UFO sighting, the Rendlesham Forest incident. Paul dives head first into a ‘Hat of Woo’ special as he explores the mysterious forest of Rendlesham on the Suffolk coast and considers what this famous conspiracy story says about time and place and of course what really happened. Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

#124 – October 2022 Part 1 Jeni and Paul talk to Professor Mike Edmunds, President of the Royal Astronomical Society  and Emeritus Professor of astrophysics at Cardiff University, who is also Dr Jeni’s academic grandfather….   Paul gives a quick look at the sky highlights for October and then Jeni, John and Paul host an open panel discussion at AstroCamp where the audience talk about where space begins, JWST, the worth of Artemis and how the infamous Elephant Trunk nebulae incident happened… Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

#123 – September 2022 Part 2 The Discussion: Farewell Frank Drake It’s uncrewed, not unmanned! Filming with the BBC again Listeners’ emails on city astronomy and the missing AweAst show this month     The News: JWST unearths a huge cosmic riddle Artemis 1 moon launch delays Solar astronomers solve one of the great mysteries about the Sun A round up of all the incredible things that have happened in space this month (thanks to @jessicaxlis for the inspiration… and much of the content!)     Skyguide: As we’re a little late in the month for a September skyguide, this is a quick guide toRead More →

#123 – September 2022 Part 1 Hear ye! Hear ye! Al Worden (went to the moon on Apollo 15): https://tinyurl.com/56w9rkr4 Al Bean (walked on the moon on Apollo 12): https://tinyurl.com/2ewb5vj3 Charlie Duke (walked on the moon on Apollo 16): https://tinyurl.com/5fhacvmk Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →

#122 – August 2022 Part 2 The Discussion: The Perseids meteor shower Another heatwave in the UK The Orville on Disney+     The News: NASA is going back to the moon – this month! SpaceX join the companies dropping space debris on Australia Northrop Grumman & Firefly’s new rocket The news discussion: Loads of news around the International Space Station     Q&A: What would we like to see happen to the ISS instead of being deorbited? From our good friend Mindy Scott in South Africa. Awesome Astronomy Go to SourceRead More →