The Pleiades Star Cluster

Teaching Astronomy to Children

Within New Zealand, June provides the perfect opportunity for astronomers to get out into the community and spark the astronomy bug in children. Not only are we currently in winter, experiencing sunset really early — 6pm in some parts of the country and earlier in the far south — but it is also the Maori New Year, or Matariki as it is called, a time of the year that is marked by the dawn rising of the Pleiades Cluster.

Every year, I get asked by at least one of the local scout groups to introduce the kids to some of the concepts behind astronomy. This month's show of Conversations in Science was all about some of the tactics that I use to explain eclipses, seasons, and our place in the galaxy.


Teaching Astronomy to Kids
(First aired on KLRNRadio, Monday, June 5, 2017)

Read More

Removing the twinkle of stars

This month on Conversations in Science, I spoke about something a little more closer to home. I had fun going back to my PhD roots and spoke about what I had spent nearly eight years of my life researching: how one can remove the twinkle from stars.


Twinkle Twinkle Little Star... Not!
(First Aired on KLRNRadio, Monday, November 7, 2016)

When I was studying for my PhD, it was a little inside joke between my supervisors and myself. Whenever anyone asked what it was we did for a living, we would answer, "We remove the twinkle from stars." The reactions were hilarious. Most people would see it for the joke it was, but there would always be the one person who would get incredibly offended.

Read More

Pluto is a dwarf planet, but not because it’s small

As promised, I'm putting my PhD to use and delving into an aspect of my life that has been neglected for far too long: the science geek in me. I now have my own show on KLRNRadio: Conversations in Science. (Don't ask how that happened. I'm still trying to figure that one out.)

ShowLogo500x500Conversations in Science airs the first Monday of every month at 7pm EST (currently equates to the first Tuesday of every month at 12noon for those in New Zealand, but this NZ time will change come summer — daylight savings). For those who miss it, that's okay. It's downloadable. Links to the episodes are here on my site, and the show is now on iTunes.

The latest episode has now aired. Just a quick warning: we were plagued with a heavy storm during the recording and my internet was playing silly-buggers. It did have a negative effect on the recording, but we didn't have time to re-record prior to the episode going live. (Sorry, guys.)

Influences of Science Fiction on Science and Pluto
(First Aired on KLRNRadio, Monday, October 3, 2016)

Last month was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. (Warning: I'm about to go full geek mode for a moment.)

Read More

Juno and Jupiter

Again, I'm on internet radio. YEAH! Go me. Again, it's about something I hold great interest in: astronomy, and in particular, NASA's Juno Mission to Jupiter. The links to the show are found below.


Conversations in Science Juno and Jupiter
(First Aired as part of Jessie's POV on KLRNRadio, Wednesday, Auguest 31, 2016)

 

There are many things about Jupiter that holds a great fascination to astronomers and other scientist. Even 400 years ago, Galileo was captivated by the giant gas planet, mapping its four largest moons, even though he didn't know Jupiter was a gas giant back then.

Read More

Juno and Radio

Last week, I was invited to talk about NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter on AOTR The Jen and Rick Show, an Internet radio show on K98Talk. The links to the show are found below.


AOTR Presents Jen and Rick Junos 5 Year trip to Jupiter and Hillary Skates 
(First Aired on K98Talk, Tuesday, July 5, 2016)

In my preparation for the show, I realised that not many of my readers, or the listeners of the radio show,  will necessary know why Jupiter is so important to astronomers and our understanding of our planet. As such, I've decided that I need put my PhD in Astronomy to good use and start a new blog series about Jupiter and what NASA is attempting to do with the Juno mission.

Read More