Videos: Planetary Post with Robert Picardo + Cassini: A Saturn Odyssey + Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Timelapse

Here is Robert Picardo with his monhtly Planetary Post video:

Bill Nye celebrates the total solar eclipse of 2017 at Homestead National Monument as part of our partnership with the U.S. National Parks and Picardo has a very special goodbye song for the Cassini Mission.

More space science video:  Cassini: A Saturn Odyssey

** [The video Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Timelapse was removed for some reason from YouTube. In its place is a nice true color image of Jupiter taken by the Juno probe:]

This image of Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Björn Jónsson using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. This true-color image offers a natural color rendition of what the Great Red Spot and surrounding areas would look like to human eyes from Juno’s position. The tumultuous atmospheric zones in and around the Great Red Spot are clearly visible. The image was taken on July 10, 2017 at 07:10 p.m. PDT (10:10 p.m. EDT), as the Juno spacecraft performed its seventh close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 8,648 miles (13,917 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of -32.6 degrees.

ESO: Radio telescope array detects turbulent reservoirs of cold gas in starburst galaxies

The latest ESO (European Southern Observatory) report:

ALMA Finds Huge Hidden Reservoirs of Turbulent Gas
in Distant Galaxies

This cartoon shows how gas falling into distant starburst galaxies ends up in vast turbulent reservoirs of cool gas extending 30 000 light-years from the central regions. ALMA has been used to detect these turbulent reservoirs of cold gas surrounding similar distant starburst galaxies. By detecting CH+ for the first time in the distant Universe, this research opens up a new window of exploration into a critical epoch of star formation. Credit: ESO/L. Benassi [Larger images]
ALMA has been used to detect turbulent reservoirs of cold gas surrounding distant starburst galaxies. By detecting CH+ for the first time in the distant Universe this research opens up a new window of exploration into a critical epoch of star formation. The presence of this molecule sheds new light on how galaxies manage to extend their period of rapid star formation. The results appear in the journal Nature.

A team led by Edith Falgarone (Ecole Normale Supérieure and Observatoire de Paris, France) has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to detect signatures of the carbon hydride molecule CH+ [1] in distant starburst galaxies [2]. The group identified strong signals of CH+ in five out of the six galaxies studied, including the Cosmic Eyelash (eso1012[3]. This research provides new information that helps astronomers understand the growth of galaxies and how a galaxy’s surroundings fuel star formation.

CH+ is a special molecule. It needs a lot of energy to form and is very reactive, which means its lifetime is very short and it can’t be transported far. CH+ therefore traces how energy flows in the galaxies and their surroundings,” said Martin Zwaan, an astronomer at ESO, who contributed to the paper.

How CH+ traces energy can be thought of by analogy to being on a boat in a tropical ocean on a dark, moonless night. When the conditions are right, fluorescent plankton can light up around the boat as it sails. The turbulence caused by the boat sliding through the water excites the plankton to emit light, which reveals the existence of the the turbulent regions in the underlying dark water. Since CH+ forms exclusively in small areas where turbulent motions of gas dissipates, its detection in essence traces energy on a galactic scale.

This zoom sequence starts from a broad view of the sky and takes the viewer deep into the constellation of Aquarius (The Water Bearer). We pass the globular star cluster Messier 2 and go far beyond the galaxy into a distant cluster of galaxies. There we see a curious arc, a gravitationally lensed version of an even more distant galaxy, nicknamed the Cosmic Eyelash, seen using ALMA. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), DSS, Hubble. Music: Astral Electronic

The observed CH+ reveals dense shock waves, powered by hot, fast galactic winds originating inside the galaxies’ star forming regions. These winds flow through a galaxy, and push material out of it, but their turbulent motions are such that part of the material can be re-captured by the gravitational pull of the galaxy itself. This material gathers into huge turbulent reservoirs of cool, low-density gas, extending more than 30 000 light-years from the galaxy’s star forming region [4].

With CH+, we learn that energy is stored within vast galaxy-sized winds and ends up as turbulent motions in previously unseen reservoirs of cold gas surrounding the galaxy,” said Falgarone, who is lead author of the new paper. “Our results challenge the theory of galaxy evolution. By driving turbulence in the reservoirs, these galactic winds extend the starburst phase instead of quenching it.

The team determined that galactic winds alone could not replenish the newly revealed gaseous reservoirs and suggests that the mass is provided by galactic mergers or accretion from hidden streams of gas, as predicted by current theory.

This discovery represents a major step forward in our understanding of how the inflow of material is regulated around the most intense starburst galaxies in the early Universe,” says ESO’s Director for Science, Rob Ivison, a co-author on the paper. “It shows what can be achieved when scientists from a variety of disciplines come together to exploit the capabilities of the world’s most powerful telescope.

This ALMA image shows the Cosmic Eyelash, a remote starburst galaxy that appears double and brightened by gravitational lensing. ALMA has been used to detect turbulent reservoirs of cold gas surrounding this and other distant starburst galaxies. By detecting CH+ for the first time in the distant Universe, this research opens up a new window of exploration into a critical epoch of star formation. [Larger Images]

[1] CH+ is an ion of the CH molecule known as methylidynium to chemists. It is one of the first three molecules ever discovered in the interstellar medium. Since its discovery in the early 1940s, the presence of CH+ in interstellar space has been a mystery because it is extremely reactive and hence disappears more quickly than other molecules.

[2] These galaxies are known for a much higher rate of star formation compared to sedate Milky Way-like galaxies, making these structures ideal to study galaxy growth and the interplay between gas, dust, stars, and the black holes at the centres of galaxies.

[3] ALMA was used to obtain spectra of each galaxy. A spectrum is a record of light, typically of an astronomical object, split into its different colours (or wavelengths), in much the same way that rain droplets disperse light to form a rainbow. Since every element has a unique “fingerprint” in a spectrum, spectra can be used to determine the chemical composition of observed objects.

[4] These turbulent reservoirs of diffuse gas may be of the same nature as the giant glowing haloes seen around distant quasars.


Sci-Tech: SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition – Winning entry reaches 324km/h

Last weekend the second student Hyperloop Pod Competition was held at the SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, California. Pods built by student teams aimed to be the fastest to accelerate through the evacuated 1.2-kilometer (0.75-mile) tube next to the SpaceX facility. Here is a report on the event:

The winning entry was built by the WARR Hyperloop team at the Technical University of Munich. Here is a video from a camera mounted on the pod as it accelerated up to 324 km/h (202 mph)  and back to zero.

Some articles on the event:

A video of Elon Musk brief remarks at the event:


Video: TMRO Orbit 10.31 – The National Space Council

Here is the latest program: The National Space Council – Orbit 10.31 – TMRO

Bob Walker, former Congressman for Pennsylvania, Chair of the House Science Committee and board member of Zero G Corporation joins us to talk about the newly formed National Space Council. What is the council for and why will it help America with Space Policy? Bob helps answer those questions and more!

Space news topics reviewed:

04:01 – SpaceX Launches Formosat-5
07:42 – Orbital ATK Launches ORS-5 (SensorSat)
10:00 – 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Wows America
17:21 – ESA astronauts train with Chinese taikonauts on Shenzhou
19:52 – ESA Mission in late-2020’s Aims To Use Artificial Eclipses

Comment discussion:

For comments from last weeks show you can watch those at 53:08. If you want to keep talking space, join our Discord channel for 24×7 geekery! It’s fun and the general room is free!

TMRO is viewer supported:

TMRO:Space is a crowd funded show. If you like this episode consider contributing to help us to continue to improve. Head over to for information plus our all new goals and reward levels

The Space Show this week – Aug.28.2017

The guests and topics of discussion on The Space Show this week:

1. Monday, August 28, 2017: 2-3:30 pm PDT; 5-6:30 pm EDT; 4 PM-5:30 pm CDT): We welcome back DR. PETE WORDEN to discuss the Breakthrough Prize organization and their work.

2. Tuesday, August 29 2017: 7-8:30 pm PDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT, 9-10:30 pm CDT: We welcome DAN MOSQUEDA of USRA. We will be discussing military space and the USRA (Universities Space
Research Association) organization/program.

3. Wednesday, August 30, 2016:: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details.

4. Friday, Sept. 1, 2017; 9:30-11 am PDT, (12:30-2 pm EDT; 11:30 am-1 pm CDT): DR. STUART EVES of Surrey Satellite returns to discuss small satellites, space traffic command and more.

5. Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017: 12-1:30 pm DST (3-4:30 pm EDT, 2-3:30 pm CDT): No show today due to Labor Day Holiday Weekend in the U.S.

See also:
* The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
* The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
* The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

The Space Show - David Livingston
David Livingston