opinion
3 mins read 04 Jun 2020

The Skyentists 37 - Migrating Planets

The Skyentists, astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, bring not 2 but 9 pieces of 'Space News'.

Introduction

For this episode The Skyentists, astronomers Ángel López-Sánchez and Kirsten Banks, bring not 2 but 9 pieces of 'Space News" (actually, 10 including the last one briefly mentioned at the end of the episode).

Some of them are (unfortunately) just mentioned, others will be explored deeper in future episodes. Kirsten discusses the news about the discovery of the "FBOTs" or 'Fast Blue Optical Transients', while Ángel explains what FRBs or 'Fast Radio Bursts' are and how combining optical and radio observations of FRBs and their host galaxies Australian astronomers have found the 'missing matter' of the Universe. This missing matter cannot be confused with 'dark matter'. The 'missing matter' are atoms that we should expect to see in the universe but for decades we were not able to find anywhere.

They also answer some feedback questions which takes them to the main topic of this episode - Migrating Planets.

For this, Ángel immerses Kirsten in a spiral of plot twists while connecting Uranus and Neptune with the 'migrations of planets' theory that astrophysicists need to introduce for explaining the existence of 'hot Jupiters' (massive giant planets very close to their parent star).

Kirsten describes some interesting properties about 'hot Jupiters', and we learn a new astronomical term 'Ploonets'.

For 'What's Up!' we encourage everybody to find Mercury in the evening sky, as today, June 4th 2020, it reaches its greatest western elongation (its maximum angular distance of the Sun, which is 24 degrees). In Southern Australia, this corresponds to see Mercury with an altitude around 14 degrees at sunset.

They are already expecting your questions and feedback for the next episode!

The Skyentists

Kirsten Banks is a proud Wiradjuri woman, astrophysicist, and science communicator. She’s always had her eyes on the skies and loves to share her passion for space and astronomy. Kirsten jumps at almost every opportunity to share the wonders of the Universe with a wide range of people, from speaking to students at schools to sharing her love for space on national television programs such as ABC’s Q&A. In the years to come, Kirsten looks forward to completing a Ph.D. and becoming Dr. Kirsten Banks. 

Dr. Ángel López-Sánchez is an astronomer and science communicator at the Australian Astronomical Optics and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Macquarie University. He studies how the gas is converted into stars in nearby galaxies and how this affects galaxy evolution. He also provides support for visiting astronomers to the Anglo-Australian Telescope. He is a globally-recognised science communicator, with visibility in Spanish and Australian printed, broadcast, and social media (one of the Top-100 most-followed astrophysicists on Twitter). His stunning astronomy timelapse videos have received 1/4 million views on YouTube and have been used by ABC (Australia), BBC (UK), TVE (Spain), and in Science Museums worldwide. He is very active in social media, his Twitter feed is @El_Lobo_Rayado.

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