The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime 20211105 Series 24 Episode 126
*Study suggests the earth tipped over 84 million years ago
A new study suggests the Earth tipped on its side 84 million years ago. The phenomenon known...
The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime 20211105 Series 24 Episode 126
*Study suggests the earth tipped over 84 million years ago
A new study suggests the Earth tipped on its side 84 million years ago. The phenomenon known as true polar wander tilts planets relative to their spin axis causing the geographic locations of the north and south poles to change, or "wander".
*NASA calls for new players to fly crew to the space station
The ongoing problems with Boeing’s CST100 Starliner spacecraft has forced NASA to call for other company’s interested in providing crew transport services to the International Space Station.
*China’s new spacecraft or a hypersonic missile test
China is denying persistent reports that it’s just tested a new hypersonic cruise missile -- claiming the test involved a new reusable spacecraft.
The Andromeda galaxy, the first exoplanet 51 Pegasus B and the Orionids, Taurids and Leonids meteor showers are among the highlights of November skywatch.
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The Astronomy, Space, Technology & Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime S24E126 AI Transcript
This is space time series 24 episode 126 for broadcast on the 5th of November, 2021. Coming up on space time a new study suggests the earth tipped over on its side 84 million years ago. NASA calling for new players, to fly crews to the international space station. And has China just tested a hypersonic cruise missile or is it as Beijing suggests simply a new type of spacecraft?
All that and more coming up on space time.
Welcome to space time with Stuart Gary.
A new study suggests that the earth may have tipped over on its side 84 million years ago. The phenomenon known as true polar wander tilts planets, relative to the spin axis causing the geographic locations of the north and south pole to change or wander. It happens because the mass distribution of the earth isn't spherically symmetric, and the earth has three different measurements of inertia dominated by the spin axis.
So what are we talking about. Well, the earth consists of a solid metallic in a core surrounded by a liquid metallic outer core. And that's encased in a mostly solid mantle with a thin crust on the surface. The entire planet spins once every day, like a top on its axis through its solid inner core, but because the outer core is the liquid, the surrounding mantle and crust can literally slip and slide all around the place, dominated by the location of the most amount of mass and density.
And that would normally be subducting, oceanic plates and massive volcanoes, which preferentially hang around 90 degrees to the spin axis. In other words, around the equator. And of course weather and water movements can also induce small changes, but scientists aren't sure how often true polar wander happen to planet earth.
Now, a new study reported in the journal nature communications suggest the planet underwent true polar wander around 84 million years ago. The findings are based on bacteria fossils in limestone samples in central Italy's Eponine mountains, dating back to the late Cretaceous between a hundred million and 65 million years ago.
These bacteria contain tiny magnetite crystals, and they form chains aligned to the planet's magnetic fields. Thus providing a record of the planets orientation. The research has found a 12 degree Southwoods tilt in the Italian rocks and that's the earth itself around 84 million years ago, which apparently corrected itself within about 5 million years.
The findings paint, a new picture of just how ephemeral the relationship is between the earth spin axes and its moments of inertia. This space time still the comm neces calling for new players, the fly crew to the international space station. And China is the ninth persistent reports that it's just test that a new hypersonic cruise missile claiming instead the test involved a new type of reusable spacecraft or that a more store to come on space time.
The ongoing problems with Boeing CST. 100 line of spacecraft has forced NASA to call for other companies interested in providing crew transport services to the international space station, Boeing and space X, one of the original multi-million dollar contracts on the NASA's commercial crew program, the fly and initial 12 missions carrying crew to and from the orbiting output.
But while the space X dragon this before, well moving crew and cargo between earth and the space station billing suffered a string of problems with it. Starliner including parachute issues, software malfunctions, and propulsion system issues. In fact, Starliner is now four years behind schedule space. X's dragon together with Northrop Grumman.
Cigna supply ships are also transporting cargo to the space station under a separate contract. And they'll soon be joined by Sarah Nevada's drink, chaser space play, which will also fly cargo to the space station from next year using a cargo module called shooting star dream chaser is a lifting body design it'll launch about a United launch Alliance, Vulcan centaur, rocket, which will be replacing the current Atlas and daughter rockets from next year and like space X's dragon cargo ship.
Dream chaser was originally designed to be human rated in order to carry crew in. And so there are better than even odds that Sierra Nevada will be applying for the new contract. This is space time still. The comm China is denying persistent reports that it's just tested a new hypersonic cruise missile claiming instead the test involved the new reusable space.
And the Andromeda galaxy, the first exoplanet 51 per gassy B and the arenas towards, and Leonides Meteo showers are among the highlights we'll be discussing in November sky. Watch
Beijing is denying reports that it's just tested a new hypersonic cruise missile. Instead claiming the test involved a new reusable spacecraft. The Pentagon claims the missile was launched on a long March rocket before circling the earth in low orbit. And then re-entering the atmosphere and narrowly missing its intended target.
However, Beijing insists that tests simply trialed a new reusable spacecraft. Having said that China on voted stay of 17 medium range hypersonic cruise missile in 2019. It has a range of around 2000 kilometers and can carry a thermonuclear war. However this new hypersonic missile, if that's what it was, whatever far longer range blurring the line between ballistic missiles, which fly high to space in an arc to reach their targets, hyper sonically and hypersonic cruise missiles, which fly hyper sonically lower down in the atmosphere, potentially reaching their targets before anti-missile systems can respond.
Thereby making them difficult. If not impossible, though, to say. And China aren't alone. Russia recently testified it's new Zirkle on hypersonic cruise missile from a submerged sudden Marine and Moscow has also been deploying its new nuclear capable avongaurd hypersonic missiles into active duty. You haven't got can flap to Mac 27 changing course and altitude inmate flight.
time now to turn our eyes to the skies and check out the Celeste Jewish faith for November on sky. Watch November is the 11th and penultimate month of the year in Beth, the Julian anger gory in calendar. It retained its name from the Latin November 29, when January and February were added to the Roman calendar high in the Northern skies of November, you'll find the constellation Pegasus, the Mesopotamian MetroScan mythological winged horse, who was born from the blood of Medusa, the Gorgon after she was slain by Perseus.
The brightest star in Pegasus is the orange supergiant giant per gassy, located some 690 light years away. A light year is about 10 trillion kilometers. That distance of photon can travel in a year at the speed of light, which is about 300,000 kilometers per second in a vacuum. And the ultimate speed limit of the universe.
Astronomers described stars in terms of spectral types, a classification system, based on temperature and characteristics, the hottest most massive immerse alumina stars. I noticed spectrum type of blue star. They followed by a spectral type B blue white stars, then spectral type a white stars, spectral type F white is shallows stars, spectral type G yellow stars.
That's where our son fits in spectral type K orange stars and the coolest and least massive stars of all other spectral type M Redstar. Each spectral classification is further subdivided using a numeric digit to represent temperature with zero being the hottest than nine, the coolest, and then a Roman numeral is added to the end of all that, to represent luminosity.
Now put all that together and star like our sun is known as a spectrum type G2 V or G2 five yellow dwarf star. Also included in the Stella classification system, a spectra types, LT, and Y which are assigned to failed stars, known as brown dwarves, some of which were born as spectral type M red stars, but became brown dwarves after losing some of their maps.
Brown dwarves fit into a category between the largest planets, which are about 13 times the massive Jupiter and the smaller spiritual type M red dwarf stars, which are about 75 to 80 times, the mass of Jupiter, or about 0.08, solar masses as thrips Olympic gassy. Well, it's estimated to have about 12 times the mass of our sun and about 185 times the sun's radius.
Excellent big gassy together with this stars, mark AB algin Abe street and alpha, and dromedy formed the asterisk or pattern of stars known as the great square of Pegasus. A bunch of bright naked eye stars shaped like a huge square in the sky. One of the stars in the constellation is 51, the gassy, which was the first main sequence star beyond our son to be discovered to host the planet.
51 bit gassy is a sun-like star located 50.45 light years away. It's planet or more accurately exoplanet, many extra solar planet is designated 51 big gassy B. The exoplanets discovery was in anathema October the sixth, 1995 in the journal nature. It was detected using the radio velocity or so-called wobble method with a spectroscope used to detect very slight, but regular Doppler shift changes in the star.
Spectral lines caused by the gravitational pull of the planet, pulling the star one way. And then the other as the planet orbits around it, 51 per gassy B is about half the massive Jupiter and orbits around its her star. Every four earth days at a distance of just 7 million kilometers. At the time, a gas giant opening so closely around the star was something that had never been seen before.
And this led to the creation of a new category of planets known as hot Jupiters, a category of gas giants thought to a form further out from their host stars beyond the so-called Snowline, but which then migrated, inwards towards their current position. The discovery led to the realization that the gas giants of our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn also migrated inwards closer to the sun during their early formation, something which explains many of the features of our own solar system, including the late heavy bombardment, the asteroid belt, and some unique characteristics of the ice giants, Neptune and Uranus, as well as the mass distribution of the foreigner, terrestrial worlds, mercury Venus earth, and Mars.
Also visible in Pegasus is the M 15 or 7 0 7 8 globular cluster, which is located about 33,600 light years away. Globular clusters, a tight spheres containing thousands to millions of stars all originally formed at the same time in the same molecular gas and dust cloud, many are thought to be the cause of small galaxies that have been cannibalized by larger ones.
Our Milky way. Galaxy contains at least 150 globular clusters. M 15 is estimated to be around 12 billion years old, making it one of the oldest known globular clusters, and it contains an estimated a hundred thousand stars making it one of the most densely packed globular clusters in the Milky way.
Galaxy. It's core. It's undergone a contraction known as court collapse, and it has a central density cost with an enormous number of stars, which appear to be surrounding what may will be a central black hole. And 15 also contains at least a hundred chore, variable stars, eight pulsars, including one double neutron star system and the first ever planetary Nebula found in a globular cluster.
Now, if you're away from city lights, you may notice a fuzzy patch in the sky right next to Pegasus. And that is the majestic giant spiral galaxy, M 31 Andromeda and drama. That is the biggest galaxy in the local galactic group. It's located some 2.5 million light years away. Estimates suggest it contains over a trillion stars twice that of the Milky way, and is some 220,000 light years.
And if you can't see it too well, don't worry. It's getting closer every day. You see the Milky way and Andromeda galaxies are expected to collide in about 3.7 to 4.5 billion years from now eventually merging to form what will be a new giant elliptical galaxy. Another case of galactic cannibalism in action.
Now based on current estimates and drama at peace to have more older stars in the Milky way. It also appears to have far less new start production of the Milky way, the Milky way producing about one use solar mass star every year. And the rate of supernovae in the Milky way is also about double the rate of Andromeda and dramaturge is surrounded by a large and massive halo of hot gas estimate to contain about half the mass of the stars in the galaxy.
This nearly invisible halo stretches about a million light years from its host galaxy. That means that Richard's almost halfway out to the Milky way now using a good pair of binoculars or a small backyard telescope you'll even get to see the dust lanes in Andromeda spiral arms, and it's bright central galactic core, which contains a monster supermassive black hole.
Now located slightly to the Eastern south of Pegasus. You'll see the ancient constellation of Cetus the great whales Siemens. Dennis Cato's is the brightest star in the constellation. Cetus it's an orange giant located about 96 light years away. By the way that named Dennis Kate Hoss. Well, it means the whale's tail.
One of the other stars in Cetus is mirror the first variable star evidence score. Located some 420 light is a way mirror pulsates in brightness over a period of 330 to earth days. Changing in diameter from about 400 to 500 times, the diameter of the sun alphas set. He traditionally called manga. The nose is a red, huge giant star, some 220 light years away.
Now it's actually a double star system with a secondary style, 93 city being a blue, white star, some 440 light years away. And another double star is gamma city. The head of the whale, the primary is a yellow star, 82 layers from earth. What the secondary is a blue star at 11.9 light years away. The yellow dwarf tower city is the nearest sunlight state of the earth other than the sun.
Okay. Looking south of Cetus now. And you'll see the brilliant star , which means the river's end as it marks the end of the Rivera. Diana. Every Dennis is the sixth largest of the modern constellations. And the one that extends furthest in the sky from north to south, I can, I is a binary system and the primary staffer, Rodney actually consists of two stars, alpha Brittany a and B located at some 139 light years away off the 10 brightest stars in the night sky.
Alpha Brittany is the hardest than bluest in color. That's due to economic, being a spectral type B blue main sequence star. I can now also has an unusually rapid rotational velocity causing it to become a blade in shape. The second star of the system is a smallest spectral type, a white star, which orbits the primary at a distance of about 12 astronomical units.
And that's genomic or unit is the average distance between the earth and the sun. About 150 million kilometers, or just over eight light minutes. Now, if you follow Eridanus towards the east, you'll find the constellation Orion F familiar signpost in the Southern summer and Northern winter skies to the west of Orion is the constellation tourist.
The ball and located in tourist is M one, the crab Nebula. It's the remnant of a star, which Chinese astronomy, Missouri explode as a supernova back on the 4th of July, the year 10 54. They recorded the sudden appearance of a new star on their sky charts at exactly the position of the crab Nebula, their record show, the supernova repaired brighter than the planet Venus for weeks on end, before finally fading from view.
After about two years, the shockwave from the crab nebulous supernova explosion is continuing to blast our words, expanding at a rate of about 5 million kilometers per hour. At the height of the Nebula is a rapidly spinning neutron star, a Pulser rotating at some 30 pulses per second. As it rotates, it shines a beam like a lighthouse speaking, sweeping across the galaxy.
This beam emits radiation, all wavelengths from gamma rays and x-rays right through ultraviolet, optical and infrared, even into the radio waves. Observations indicate the Pulser is slowing down and will fall to just half its current rotational rate in the next thousand years. November is also a great time to check out the plate is or seven sisters.
One of the nearest open star clusters to earth also known as M 45, that played is located in the constellation, tourists, the ball at a composed, mostly of hot blue, white star. Now, depending on whose measurements you prefer, the play. These are somewhere between 118 and 137 parsecs away, a passe being around 3.2, six light years.
The amazing thing about the play it is is that different cultures from vastly different parts of earth have all described the play at ease in the same way as seven women, seven sisters. And this could possibly be some sort of ancient throwback to early human out of Africa, civilization, just like October, November sees three meteor showers.
There's the November arraign EDS, the tourists and the Leonids, although peaking and late October the Iranian, it's a continuing to sprinkle dads during the start of November. And it usually at their best during the week, small hours before Dawn. They generated by the debris trail left behind by the comment Holly and a Peter radiate out from the direction of the constellation, arrive in the hunter, the tour it's media or shower generated by the comment inky.
And as their name suggests, they appear to radiate out from the constellation. The. Thank you. And the tourists, I believe to be the remnants of a large comment, which disintegrated between 20 and 30,000 years ago, breaking into several pieces and releasing material, both by normal commentary ablation and also occasionally by close gravitational encounters with the earth and other planets.
In fact, the cometary stream of material left by inky is the largest in the inner solar system. Being so spread out the earth takes several weeks to pass through it causing an extended period of meter activity compared to the much smaller periods of activity of other media or showers and further gravitational interactions with Jupiter.
Of course, the tour is to be segmented into separate Northern and Southern streams. The Southern tour it's usually lasts from around September the 25th to November the 25th. While the Northern tour has go from October the 20th to December the second. But the tourists do have their downside. They quite diffuse usually any producing about seven meteors an hour.
However, they are composed of more massive material. Think of pebbles instead of dusk rains. And so they tend to produce a high percentage of very bright meteors known as fireballs produced as larger meteoroids burned through the atmosphere, the Southern tourists put on their best show just after midnight on November.
The first. Finally there's the, and media or shower, which we'll pick on November the 18th there, Leanne, it's usually pretty reliable with 15 meteors an hour. However, they have been known to occasionally produce spectacular meteor storms with showers in 1999, 2001 and 2002, producing an amazing 3000 leads media now.
Even more spectacular was the lead it's medial shower of 1966, which generated thousands of meteors permitted falling like illuminated rain. The lean it's a usually picked up after midnight with pigs carrying just before Dawn they're produced by the debris stream from the comment temple title. And as the name suggests the lean it's radiate out from the constellation live alive.
Billy, is there a fast moving stream, which encounters the path of earth at 72 kilometers per second, largely. And that's what you were about 10 millimeters across can have a massive half a gram and a renowned for generating bright meteors Citus estimate. The annual leads, media or shower deposits between 12 and 13 tons of particles across the planet every year.
And now with a look at the rest of the November night skies on sky watch, we're joined by Jonathan. Nalli the editor of Australian sky telescope magazine. Well, if someone's just about here for us in the Southern hemisphere, diaries are getting longer and brighter and everything in this weather is getting warmer.
Winter of course, is coming for our friends up there in the north, in the Northern hemisphere. But for us it's summer, we don't have to contend with sidewalk sighting, which sort of messes up the Stargazy a little bit to some people, um, It doesn't actually change what you can see, but the change is the time of day.
So anyway, we can, we can deal with that, but then it wasn't, let's see what's happening in the mid evening sky in November from where we are. So you go out there and have a look committed evening. You'll sit at the Milky way is sort of hugging the horizon. Hugging the Western horizon. So you need a clear sort of view after the west, no trees and buildings and houses and things.
And you'll see the title of Scorpius the confirmation school. So some people call it scoping, just sticking up over the horizon. It's about to disappear from view. Scopia is really a mid year a constellation that's when you get the best views of it. So now we're in the end of the year, it's disappearing the cost question secretaries it's just next to school.
Yes. So you can still say that for the Maryland above the Western horizon. And when you look towards Sagittarius, you're looking at the. Of the center of our Milky way galaxy up in the north. If you're looking at the north half of the sky or us in the Southern hemisphere or the Southern half of the sky maple in the Northern hemisphere explains that it's filled with a bunch of big constellations that don't have many bright stars, even talking Pegasus Pisces as constellation called Cintas, which is the word.
The areas, the Ramey code aerodynamicist, which is the river, which is just the very long joined the doctor. Fair. It's uh, it's, it's a very long thing. You mean you wouldn't even know if there's just someone just joined the dots once, but a couple of things that you can see up in this part of the sky, if you've got married docs, Uh, to distance galaxies.
Now we took off and on the program about, um, uh, some galaxies you can say only from the Southern hemisphere, the Magellanic clouds, and I'll get to those a bit lighter, but there are some other galaxies you can see, you can just make out with the naked eye, if you have a good eyesight and dark adapted. I, so I see if you're going to have thought and religious over depth for a while, you get used to the doctors, and if you don't have much light pollution, Don't stand on the street box or something, but if you can, if you can manage all that, then you should be able to see just barely as a little smudge.
There's the Andromeda galaxy and the triangular galaxies. Now both of these are huge galaxies. They're very large and together with the Milky ways that make up the three largest galaxies, you know, so. Okay, Alex, he's getting a little bit bigger. It's coming towards us. Very, very slowly in human terms, but yeah, it is a little bit, um, you can just make out these two, go with these tiny Mudges.
Now this might not sound impressive, but these are essentially. Most distant objects that you can ever see with your stars are nearby and spice them tens or hundreds of thousands of light years away. We're talking millions of light years away here. Now of course, when a telescope you can see much further than that.
And with the big professional double steps, I can say rock back towards the beginning of pharmacy and the, in the early days at the end of it, it's probably just an all-night at all. These two galaxies. Uh, so if you get yourself a star math know, or an app of some kind, you can go out and try and spot these galaxies.
I remember when I saw the Andromeda galaxy for the first time, I was really quite thrilled because Andromeda back in the old days of science fiction and drama was well not the Eileen's used to come from, so it always had this sort of cachet about it. And I just thought it was fabulous to be able to go ahead and just see what's my naked eyes.
Just the little smudge thinking that is third, this thing. But anyone can see, but just with the unaided eye and it's really quite amazing. I think, anyway, it's a bit like looking at satin for the first concert. It's all stuff you think. Well, wow. Then actually is real planet. And when you think that it's in the case of setting hundreds of millions of kilometers away, um, it's, it's just amazing.
I think anyway, give it a try. See if you can spot in the Eastern part of the sky. The constellation of Ryan poking its head over the horizon. We keep raving about this constellation all the time and it's no lie. It really is impressive. So have a look at that one down in the south and the Southern hemisphere, we've got the Southern cross.
Now you can't really say this on cross at the moment for most people, because it's where it is, uh, is, is way down south. And it's sort of below the horizon for a lot of people at this time a year and it's upside down. And if you got really far south, it would be attributable to say. The have garage, but some of us people get caught on the other hand, if you're sky watching in the early hours of the morning, not the mid evening, but early in the morning, the youth will have rotated and the Southern cross will have come into view.
And then you'll see it lying on the left-hand side. About a third of the way up from the seventh horizon now to the planets, there are only three bright ones that we can see this month. As evening Twilight comes on, you'll be able to see Venus PI and bright in the west, and then you just can't miss it.
It's the biggest broadest thing. Once the sun goes down, it's really. Beautiful and spectacular. And at least for people around the latter trade Riley, this sort of Sydney Whitehead in the Southern hemisphere and there about Saturn and Jupiter pretty much directly overhead at the moment this month. So, um, never is to see as well after Venus.
Jupiter's the next brightest thing. And second is just right now. Jupiter in space terms, a few degrees away, and you shouldn't have any trouble saying that month mercury. And one of the other planets you can normally say, it's often the solar glare this month, but it's heading around the other side of the sun from us.
So while we can't see it, miles has been around the other side of the sun for a while now. And, uh, at least three, three weeks or so, I've never been B you just won't be able to see it. It's still lost in the salt. Right towards the end of the month, if you're very lucky and you've got a good, clear Eastern horizon, then just before sunrise, you might be able to spot eyes as a tiny little red style or anything.
Just a few degrees above the horizon. Um, before the sky gets to light at that's Jonathan, Nalli the editor of Australian sky and telescope magazine. And don't forget if you're having trouble getting your copy of Australian sky and telescope magazine from your usual retailer because of the current lockdown and travel restrictions, and always get a print or digital subscription and have the magazine delivered directly to your letterbox or inbox.
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Editor Australian Sky & Telescope Magazine
Our editor, Jonathan Nally, is well known to members of both the amateur and professional astronomical communities. In 1987 he founded Australia’s first astronomy magazine, Sky & Space, and in 2005 became the launch editor for Australian Sky & Telescope. He has written for other major science magazines and technology magazines, and has authored, contributed to or edited many astronomy, nature, history and technology books. In 2000 the Astronomical Society of Australia awarded him the inaugural David Allen Prize for Excellence in the promotion of Astronomy to the public.