Credits for the featured image, above: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler
In this installment of These Vibes, Astrophysics Professor Julianne Dalcanton (U. of Washington) joined us in the studio to talk about space telescopes – specifically two she’s
most psyched for: the just-proposed High-Definition Space Telescope, which would be “like the Hubble Space Telescope on steroids” (expected launch in ~2030) and the gorgeous feat of engineering that is the James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in just a few years. We also got in to other exciting things like galaxies and exoplanets a bit.
Additionally, we talked about PHAT (actual acronym – I didn’t make this up), the Panachromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury. For a period of time, Professor Dalcanton and some colleagues dominate the Hubble Space Telescope taking image after detailed image of our nearest galaxy, Andromeda. What came together was the most detailed images ever taken (for example, the featured image above), and they’re stunning:
Here’s another cool video for you. We discussed how the James Webb Space Telescope is going to essentially unfold after it’s launched, since it’s so large no existing shuttle can carry it to space. Here’s a really neat animation of how it’s supposed to go down.
And the aforementioned James Webb Space Telescope “selphie”:
Towards the end, we discussed life on other planets and how hard it is to look at the endless stars in the Andromeda Galaxy – only one of the countless galaxies in our universe – and not believe there’s more life-forms out there.
Later in the show (about an hour and 20 minutes in), Latin America correspondent for Science Magazine, Lizzie Wade, called in to the studio from Mexico City. We discussed her
recent piece in Wired on how “Being Bilingual Changes the Architecture of Your Brain.” Lizzie discussed her own experiences becoming proficient in Spanish, as well as current science on the topic. She even touched a little bit on the ongoing debate on this topic (is bilingualism good for you? or neutral (neither good nor bad)?) as well as a bit of the shoddy history.
MUCH MOAR to see here:
- I would be extremely remiss if I didn’t mention that Julianne Dalcanton is also a major contributor to the excellent Discover Magazine blog Cosmic Variance. I had a whole slew of questions about her posts on CV that we sadly didn’t have time for. *Sigh.*
- Julianne Dalcanton was a WPRB DJ when she was at Princeton in the 90s, and some of the archives of her co-hosted show, The Three Bad Sisters (though there was two of them… this fact I love), are still online.
- AND definitely check out Lizzie Wade’s two very recent pieces on
- Upheavals in geology: “Geology Is Breaking Apart Over When the Americas Came Together” in Wired, and
- “Ancient stone tools are ‘best’ evidence yet for early peopling of the Americas” in Science.