Noctilucent clouds and Audioboo

A noctilucent cloud display captured during summer 2010. Credit: Will Gater

I’ve just started using the website Audioboo to upload short pieces of astronomy themed audio to the Web. My first ‘boo’ (as they’re called) is all about noctilucent clouds – the ethereal glowing clouds that appear in the northern hemisphere’s night skies around this time of year.

I’ve embedded the audio below. If you’d like to see some of my pictures from previous years’ displays you’ll find them here and here.


Focusing on Titan’s lakes and Io’s volcanism

A little while ago I had a lot of fun being interviewed by Jheni, J and Andy from Focus magazine’s podcast. We talked about a new astronomy TV series coming to our screens called ‘Seven Wonders of the Solar System’. Presented by particle physicist Prof Brian Cox the series will, according to the BBC, look at “how the laws of nature…carve spectacular sights throughout the Solar System.”

On the Focus podcast I talked specifically about the lakes of liquid methane on Titan and the spectacular volcanism which occurs on Jupiter’s moon Io. The podcast is now online, on iTunes and embedded below, with my interview starting about 8 minutes 45s in. There’s a short trailer for the series here, so check it out when it airs in the UK sometime later this year.


“The science of Avatar” – new S@N podcast episode

With the release of James Cameron’s new 3D movie Avatar, cinema-goers are being transported to the surface of an alien world called Pandora. Pandora is an exomoon (a moon of an extrasolar planet) and the setting for much of the film’s spectacular action. For the new episode of the Sky at Night Magazine podcast I interviewed David Kipping, an extrasolar planet and exomoon expert, and Dr Lewis Dartnell who is an astrobiologist at UCL in London. We talked about the astronomy behind the movie & the science going on at the moment that might enable astronomers to detect a real exomoon. We also covered what any observations of an exomoon or extrasolar planet could tell us about its physical characteristics. The podcast can be listened to in the player below or downloaded here [12.5 MB mp3]; and I’ve embedded the Avatar trailer below if you’re thinking of going to see the film.

BBC Sky At Night magazine podcast – Episode 2

Episode number two of our podcast is out now. In this episode we have an interview with Stuart Clark about the Tunguska event that happened 100 years ago this June. It’s thought that a comet devastated large parts of Siberia when it exploded over a vast expanse of forest in 1908, felling 80 million trees! Stuart investigates the importance of this event and the mystery that surrounds it for our cover feature, in the magazine, this month. Lots more in the podcast too including my interview with Paul Money about June’s stargazing highlights, storms on Saturn and how to become and astronaut. Listen to it here.

Above: This light toned storm on Saturn has lighting 10,000 times more powerful than that seen on Earth. Find out about it on the podcast. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

BBC Sky At Night magazine podcast released

Our new podcast is now out on its very own webpage here. In the first episode Sky At Night magazine’s editor Graham Southorn and I chat about the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting that I visited a few weeks ago.

If you listen to the podcast you can also find out what James Bond has been doing at one of the world’s largest observatories (the VLT in Chile), hear about the latest on the plans to upgrade Hubble this summer and the discovery of the youngest extrasolar planet ever found.