Astronomy Podcasts

Posted by XTSee on 17th February , 2010

Well, maybe I’m slow on the uptake, but while experimenting with my iPod Touch more over the last few days to see what other astronomy related apps I can find (Star Walk, Starmap Pro, Moonwalk, etc), and the excellent NASA App being a fantastic resource, I have taken the time to find out more about podcasts.

So I did some searches in iTunes for astronomy related podcasts.

In part this was because I wanted to learn more about webcam astrophotography imaging since recently “modding” my SPC900NC webcam for Long Exposures (Steve Chambers mod), and found some podcasts which provided me with info on this topic.

Anyway, in doing so, I stumbled upon the excellent podcasts created by Fraser Cain & Dr. Pamela L. Gay at AstronomyCast.com and UniverseToday.com.

The teamwork and combination of Fraser who has a mellow, cool, young charm, coupled with the gorgeous voice of the incredibly knowledgeable Dr. Pamela Gay, makes for fascinating listening. I have suddenly discovered not only the convenience of enjoying podcasts in the car (I now drive slower), walking the dog (Ben now gets longer walks), or just before going to sleep (resulting in less sleep!), but also just how much I have been missing out in the furthering of my knowledge of astronomy.

Pamela has the ability to describe technical matter in a way that I can grasp. Her manner is relaxed, precise and very interesting, and she obviously knows her subject extremely well. Fraser also is very clued up, and asks the right kind of questions that pick up on things just discussed, to help summarize and clarify what was just explained by Pamela, while also leading into new areas. They work well together, and the presentation and quality of their podcast is excellent.

If you’re into astronomy I would highly recommend downloading their podcasts. The great thing is that there are several years worth of AstronomyCast podcasts in their archive to be listened to, on an incredibly diverse range of topics. So you can pick and choose what interests you immediately, and fill in the gaps with additional items from the archive later on.

I would also say, don’t skimp on the seemingly boring episodes. Even the historical stuff, for example learning about William Herschel, I found to be just as interesting as some of the “hot” scientific topics.

My appreciation of how stars, nebulas, clusters, black-holes, galaxies and so forth actually interact and affect each other has grown immensely over the last few days, right down to details of how atoms and electrons, quarks, strange, charm, ups/downs and all manner of our understanding of how things in the universe work. This new voyage of discovery makes my appreciation and observation of the heavens so much more enjoyable, now that I understand better what makes things tick.

Thanks Fraser and Pamela, you’ve answered so many questions I had, but was never sure where I would find the answers.

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5 Responses to “Astronomy Podcasts”

  1. Paul Bunnell (2 comments)

    If you like astronomy podcasts, I can think of none better than the Jodcast, from the Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory in the UK

  2. XTSee (25 comments)

    Thanks Paul, I’ve heard of Jodcast, but not listened yet. I’ll check it out.

  3. XTSee (25 comments)

    Paul, I tried out Jodcast http://www.jodcast.net/ and was very impressed with their hour-long podcast. I’m subscribed now :-)

  4. Paul Bunnell (2 comments)

    Thanks. Their lead-in “intro’s” can be quite amusing sometimes. I’m going to subscribe to AstronomyCast now. It’s very informative.

  5. XTSee (25 comments)

    Yes, when I heard the intro on this months Jodcast I wondered if I’d got the wrong podcast or something! Funny. I’ve only recently subscribed to AstronomyCast so there’s about 150 previous episodes to enjoy. That and Jodcast will keep me happy for quite some time!


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