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NASA's Big Tease

Space Nuts

56:56 min | 4 months ago

NASA's Big Tease

"Love this podcast support this show through the a cast support a feature. It's up to you how much you give and there's no regular commitment. Just hit the link in the show description to support now than 15 seconds guidance to the internal 10-9 ignition sequence Space Nuts or three to five or more radio on Space notice that recorded meals. Good. How long once again welcome. Thank you for joining us on the Space Nuts podcast episode 226. My name is Andrew dunkley and joining me is always is the good professor Fred Watson astronomer at large. Hello Fred am delighted to be thought of as good. It's always good to be good. Yeah, sometimes you know, sometimes people think I'm rubbish. Thank you Andrew. I don't go to a gym. I don't believe that for one moment. And I know that at least three people to listen to our podcast feel the same. Now today. We're going to be talking about a couple of stories that are big issue and astronomical news this week one that they've been teasing us about and finally announced and that is that there might be more water on the moon than we first thought and while we're off the moon we gotta talk about that collaboration between NASA and Nokia to put a 4G network a mobile phone network on the moon. They're deadly serious about it, but radio astronomer not too thrilled and we're going to revisit as promised the isairis Rex Mission, which successfully bounced off asteroid bennu kicked up the dust collected some samples and looks like they might have got too much cuz they can't get the lead on so we'll we'll see what's happening there and a couple of really interesting questions one about the use of the Sun as a gravitational dog. Ends and another as to why after the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere e the sun still continues to set later which is a little bit of a confusing and normally will explain all of that and much much more today on Space Nuts now Fred you you're on a bit of a road trip last week where you not in fact, yes, it was down in the south of the steak. We visited the the sights of Canberra the astronomical sites have camera which included Mount stromlo Observatory had a look at some of the wage the sad remains of telescopes after the fire that went through there in two thousand and three but also spoke to our group about what's going on there now, which is great stuff. Then we went to bed pillow to the tracking station, which is part of the NASA deep space Network along with Goldstone and Madrid have been below provides the you know, the coverage for deep-space wage. Pickles at our longitude and they've got some very impressive dishes there including three new ones which work in a slightly different way from the the old ones but one thing that was a home visit and it might give a shout out to Glen Nagel who's a good friend and somebody hurt. He's actually head of communications at had been and that's Communications an hour each time. He gave up his Sunday for us a week ago last Sunday to to give us the full tour which was brilliant the the highlight of the tour for so many people was the old honeysuckle Creek dish which was moved to Tim Miller. It doesn't operate anymore. But that was the one that got first signals from Apollo eleven when the author's notes walked on the moon despite what the movie says. It was honeysuckle Creek first and then the yes, that's right. I think yeah people in the know know that but yeah, they suck. Who traded as as the parks radio telescope and he was instrumental in getting signals out as well? So yes, Australia played a very big part in the Apollo 11 lunar Landings. And yeah. Don't you love Fred the Australian names tidbinbilla? Yeah, so and some of that some of the Aboriginal names to get attached to things where I live in Davao. Well, the the word Debo is supposed to be and it I think they've always had trouble really confirming this but it's supposed to mean red Earth in the winter were Lang NG in the in the local Aboriginal language page this because this region is red soil. Yeah until you get further out west when it turns black and gets very sticky when it rains. We have some really amazing street names in Davao to Fred got wind of Warren Street, which I believe I'm trying to remember the meaning of it. We got another one called while and right now, I think that means swamp and we're dead. Another one called mulch straight. They're all Aboriginal words from the local culture the wiradjuri language. So yeah, they've been used here and a lot of our street signs are made up with some local Aboriginal art as well. So, you know capturing the local culture. I think it's terrific. Yeah, when when I lived in coonabarabran, of course that too is it's a gamma gamma ray world. Do you know what it means couldn't about Urban I do not but I'm going to think it's something to do with mountains. It's it's it's even more appropriate than that. It's inquisitive person off. Oh, oh, that's perfect. Yeah, that is perfect for me to be there. It's great. Yeah, right. So so just continuing the story we then we then spend some time down the snowy mountains and there was still a little bit of snow and then down to the coast where we had some sort things that I've never seen before some extraordinary places down in Eden and finally to batemans Bay birth. Parts of parts are the ones that I've never explored before and the best thing was despite the fact that the Bureau of meteorology forecast Doom and Gloom weather conditions for the whole week. It was purchased refine the whole time. It was great. Yeah. Well, they got them up north instead and I'm very sad to say that we were talking about the cropping around here recently and how this just crops as far as the eye can see and they just needed a couple of weeks of dry weather to get the crops in so sadly a couple of areas have been absolutely decimated by Halestorm. So that's very very sad news indeed, but hopefully they can get those crops off because they desperately need a good season. We haven't had one for three or four years. Let's get onto our first topic thread. I mean I can talk about Australian history and information for ages with the hidden pockets of water that may exist on the moon. This is a story. That's finally they were teasing us for a good week or so leading up to this but NASA has made the announcement that their money. Be a lot more water there than they first thought that's right. And the main actually to discover he's involved with this which one is confirmation. Excuse me, that the infrared signal that we see when you use infrared telescopes to look at the Moon that that infrared signal comes actually from water off earlier results dating from about 2009 were ambiguous. It could have been either H2O water or the I teach radical the home radical which in some ways is a form of water. It's a combination of hydrogen and oxygen but it's not water as we know it. So the signal that was detected back in 2009 could neither people assumed it was water but now it has been confirmed and it's been confirmed actually buy a fascinating telescope that one of my colleagues has a game. Several times it's a NASA facility. It is a telescope built into the after section of a 747sp the old special performance 747s. This is probably quite an elderly aircraft but it's been modified to have a large telescope poking through a huge hole in the back office. Probably. Yes. I know the one yeah several meters in diameter in in in square. In fact, it's a one-point. Sorry. It's a 2.4 metre telescope that's a hundred inch telescope that they've got mounted in the back of this Samsung S7. And the aircraft is called Sophia, which is the stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy lovely acronym and it flies off from times telling to make observations. Usually at Heights in the region of 45,000 feet. You know, you're there in the above all the moisture virtually all the moisture in the Earth's atmosphere dead. Which is where you can make these fine mid infrared observations. And so it was Sofia observations that were used by astronomers. I think based in the University of Hawaii to detect this infrared signal that is categorically from H2O rather than o h so we know that it is water that's there. Now off the extraordinary thing is that that has that work has been done sort of in conjunction of certainly parallel with work that has been carried out by scientists. I think the University of Colorado Colorado beg your pardon if I remember rightly or a lot as the next state across. Yeah, that's right off. It's Paul hang of the University of Colorado who's LED this paper, which is so what they've done dead. Is looked at the areas of the Moon that are in permanent Shadow cuz that's where we think this water is mostly concentrated as ice. Although it's possible. They might be liquid water not of course not open to the you know to The Emptiness of space probably trapped inside minerals, maybe even mineral glasses. It sounds awful, but that sort of thing can happen when meteorites impact the surface of the Moon so you might have liquid water trapped in tiny vials of volcanic or or a little glass. Anyway the that probably the bulk of it will be in the form of ice either bound up with the soil, you know, the soil grains or maybe even wage in the base of some of the bigger craters that never see sunlight maybe even if a sheet of ice because lunar reconnaissance Orbiter the NASA spacecraft authors The moon still active has detected radar signals or radar returns from those very deep polar craters that suggests that what you're looking at is a Surface that's basically off very very smooth and shiny. So maybe device and the reason why that Isis table is because as I said, these these creative floors never see the light of day, they never see the some the temperature because of that can get as low as minus 250 degrees Celsius you might wanna a convert to Fahrenheit, but I'm not going to do it in my head - 250 degrees Celsius that's you know, thirty degrees or so two at twenty or thirty degrees above absolute zero. It's very very cold. And so the ice is essentially stable. It's just like a rocky surface. The so that's that's where perhaps the bulk of this water is but this other paper this Paul Haines paper at all from the University of Colorado. What they've done as a is about to say they've they've looked at what they called cold traps a place that is in permanent Shadow and it doesn't have to be in the Floor of a crater. They're all in the in the polar regions of the sun. Sorry of the moon, but they don't have to be in crisis because you can imagine a situation where you've got a hill home or even something smaller like a boulder that casts a permanent shadow where you are never going to see sunlight. And so what they've done is they've they've looked at the surface of the Moon of course, which is very well mapped by things like bologna reconnaissance Orbiter and they've worked out where these places have permanent birth. So down to a scale of one centimeter. Wow, they come to the conclusion that forty thousand square kilometers of the Moon surface back in permanent Shadow and contains these call traps which range from the flaws of craters to something a centimeter across they reckon there are billions of them basically and what they've combined that with the idea that you've got probably in most of these permanent Shadow regions. You probably got the ice because the signal is so strong then you can calculate how much water there is on the moon and they're talking somewhere in the region of Well, two to three billion tons of water good growth, which is a big resource. And of course that is exciting for would be explored the moon because not only is water something that will support habitation. It also is Rocket Fuel because use you know, use sunlight to generate along to see to to electrolyze it so that you've got the component hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Then you recombine them that gives you Rocket Fuel. So there is off work already being done on making a business case for the exploration of the Moon in terms of of using it as a fuel Depot exciting straws and Dade and FYI, four hundred and eighteen degrees below zero in Fahrenheit. Thank you for that. Just the number you were looking. I hope to which is damn cold. I'm cold. That's right down pole. Yeah, actually the discovery of water on the moon was portrayed in that TV series. I was telling you about a couple of weeks ago For All Mankind the alternative history series were Russian language first. They also landed the first female on the moon the American set up a base near a crater to try and sort of take the lead in the space race and they discuss wage but water in a in a lava tube in a crater and water ice and they yeah, so the whole story of establishing a base was built around the description of ice and we're talking back in the seventies when they supposedly set up a human base on the moon which in the alternative reality of the of the movie is feasible, but I think they've been in the Realms of Science Fiction in reality probably not today but back then for sure. Yeah, but fascinating series if anyone wants to watch it, it's it's really well done highly highly preferable. You know great acting and and just in a really fascinating storyline and some of the political story Lines within it fascinating to as to who's the president at various times. Yeah, I think you'll find it most surprised. I think it's on Apple TV if I recall but really enjoyable show really really just mesmerizing. I just loved it off and hopefully they'll make a second season we done with that topic Fred know we're not because aside from water on the moon they are now looking at putting for G mobile phone network or cell network on the moon with the support of Nakia, which is got a few people upset in the astronomical world. Yeah, so it's sort of almost follows them were just saying the the it's the ultimate project has Artemis project, which is aiming to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon song. In 2024 and that project is aiming actually at this Southern polar region of the moon. So they hopefully we'll find out for certain what form this ice is in fact part of the project is to build a sort of you know, kind of permanent base on the moon permanently habit habited Bay inhabited base off with a view to learning about long-term spaceflight principally with the idea of going to Mars in the next decade. So off the the the The Optimist program is actually, you know, a pretty broad brush thing and imagine visages lunar Landers and maybe habitation modules Choice sitting permanently on the moon's surface. So what has happened is that NASA has recognized that if you've got astronauts wandering around A lunar ovas and things of that sort trying to find their way with without the benefit of GPS the way the need is for solid Communications and what they've done what NASA has done is to basically contract law the Nokia company actually the American Nakia company to develop a cellular cellular network on the moon and it's to facilitate as I said long-term long Luna habitability providing Communications for key aspects such as lunar Rovers and navigation the lunar 4G network. So that contracts already been awarded. 1 million dollars to develop that Network and the immediate consequence was a lot of very upset radio astronomers because radio astronomy club Uses the most sensitive antennas in the world to look at signals from deep space which would be basically flooded out by the by the you know by the Nakia cellnet at specific frequencies that this is one thing that we have to be clear about. It's not you know, it's not like flooding a Somethin underground with white light where you've got every frequency represented. These communications frequencies are quite specific, but at least one of them and it's certainly one that the starlink network is using is very close to a radio astronomy band of interest and it's a vintage because it's where a lot of organic molecules actually emit their radio waves deep in space precursors for life things of that sort, which of course radio astronomers are really interested in, New Jersey. And if we're going to be flooded out in those wave bands by Communications either from constellations of spacecraft above the Earth or buy a Radio Shack phone Networks On The Moon. We we are struggling we're going to be struggling and I think radio astronomers are going to have to be working with the communications people to try and mitigate the consequences of all this it's already happening selling with space eggs. I'm sure radio astronomers are talking to Nakia as well about what the lunar you know, the lunar proposal might look like Now, I hope that I can come to some sort of a agreement or understanding it would be a terrible thing to have basically an arm cut off by radio signals from home, you know, satellites and and Aluna 4G network and lose that connectivity with the potential of Discovery. I think that would be a a really big giant leap backwards. The big question from me there. Fred is with this for G network on the moon. Will the astronauts be able to phone home probably thought I had to ask someone had to ask somebody else to ask whether they can phone home except they're not. Yes the eighties. Yes, exactly. All right off to the space and that's podcast Andrew dunkley here with Fred Watson. Break down Space Nuts now before we get on to our next topic. I've got some exciting news for it. I'm a little bit thrilled as you know, I released earlier this year a another science fiction novel called the tyrannian Enigma and I decided after much pressure or several requests call it that to put it into audio form which took me a long time but it finally got released and is out there on Google Books and apple audio off very pleased to be able to say that it's now on Audible a lot of people use Audible which is an Amazon company to download their books and a few people have been waiting for me to be able to say that it's on Audible and yes it is. So it's on audible.com. It's also available in Australia on audible.com. So if you'd like to download the audio edition of bap For any an enigma it is now available on just about every audible audiobook platform, but now on audible.com and audible.com. I thought about that Andrew and congratulations for that. Thank you for holding. This is a big coup. That's fantastic. Yeah, and it's damn hard work. I mean, I know I've been in range for a long time and doing voice work goes with the goes with the gig but recording an audiobook is a completely different animal and it really can be quite taxing and I think I've mentioned before that it takes when you're doing it by yourself and haven't got the backing of a studio or a producer or an editor or that you've really got to do everything yourself, which I did in this spot where I'm sitting on this microphone that I'm talking to you on so you got to bring quality into play and try and keep it all at the same standard even though you recording segments weeks and weeks and weeks apart, but yep. Go to watch out for getting a cold and your voice changing or losing your voice or so and hay fever cuz it can all change. There's a whole lot of pitfalls, but the the big struggle I had and I didn't bother to fix it was as I sort of got into the story and was recording a segment weeks after recording another segment. She couldn't remember what voice are used for the character. So I'll just I'll just go with something else and hope that it's the same. Yeah, I just left home. And actually I am I had a bit of feedback from someone who listened to it and they they loved it. And I said, you know, I was a bit worried about the character voices and they went all we didn't notice. So that's good. I probably shouldn't have mentioned. But anyway, it's great fun, but being someone who hates editing it. That's the hard slog dear they're dead. Longer than actually reading a chapter in recording it. Yeah, unless you're really good at reading and don't make mistakes, but that's very unfair very unlikely for most people even the best in the business man. Let's get onto the Cyrus Rex Mission. This was a mission where we we sent the osiris-rex probe to the asteroid bennu, which it's sort of hung around looking at for a good long while up until last week when they decided okay, we're going to land on this thing and take a sample. Well, it was a success long till it maybe wasn't where we we've Houston we have a problem. Yeah. Hopefully not a long-term problem. Hopefully solvable. But yeah, I think I think the bottom line is they were too successful. Would that be a way of describing it? So just to recap the the the the device that they use it's so the spacecraft itself off. Roaches the surface of the asteroid bennu or did this last week? In fact, whether it kind of almost like a miniature backhoe stretched out which contains a device on the end, which is called tag. Sam & Tags is an acronym for touch-and-go's sample acquisition mechanism. It's great. I love it, but I don't mind that one. I don't mind that one at all. It's got that sort of feeling of you know, just touching the surface to it. Hasn't it tag, sir? Yeah tag. Yeah like the game exactly. So so this is so sort of shaped like a, you know, a pan Which collects the the sample And then the Apparently is is a mylar flap which is meant to see or shut once the sample has been collected wage, but they were so successful with the tag, son that some of the some of the bigger bits of soil and dirt that didn't go through the page properly of wedged it open. No, you know, they've been they've collected more than they expected to and that essentially means that first of all they they had the possibility of collecting if they didn't feel they'd got enough they have the possibility of collecting another sample wage. I think the 11th of January, but that I think is now been ditched because they feel they've got enough in fact as as the NASA bulletin says because the first sample collection event log So successful NASA's science Mission directorate has given the mission team the go-ahead to expedite sample storage in originally scheduled for the 2nd of November in the spacecraft sample-return capsule two million, minimize further sample loss. So there's this separate capsule the SRC the sample-return capsule, which they've got a stove the sampling and what there's a quote from Dante lauretta who's the principal investigator for Osiris Rex University of Arizona off the abundance of material we collected from benu made it possible to expedite our decision to stove this team is now working around the clock to accelerate the storage timeline so we can protect as much of them this material as possible for return to earth. Now. This is where it gets tricky because what was expected to happen with this storage prestige. Was that a Cyrus Rex would run autonomously through a sequence of events. And so that's what they're doing now is saying no, we don't want that to happen. We want this to be done. So carefully carefully enough that we don't lose soil to space off. So they gotta do it all by hand. In other words send a command Watch What Happens and and then send the next command Watch What Happens the problem is? You've got thirty seven minute delay between sending the command and knowing what it's done because the signal travel time at the moment between Earth and the spacecraft is 18.55 minutes. So each step means that you've got a wait for 37 minutes while you take the step and then wait to see what's happened in in the in the concierge. Since it's going to be very very painful, I think Andrew this is probably happening as we speak because it's scheduled for the 27th of October us time. Yep. We are the following day. So I think it's happening now. So by the time this this podcast goes to where the outcome might be known already. Oh drop we've lost it all off. So I'm sure it won't be that. I hope not but yeah, it's in terms of glitches when it comes to space missions. This is not the worst thing that's ever happened on a visit to another world or another object. But you know, there's been the famous cases of lens caps getting stuck on by heat and all sorts of weird and wonderful things, but it sounds like they've got a solution and whenever you watch documentaries or movies about problems in space, it's always about working the problem birth. And they obviously have got an idea on how to deal with this that just going to have to be very careful with the execution. That's correct. Exactly, which is why the doing it one step at a time. Right? Well, we might have a follow-up to that yet again next week. So we'll keep a close eye on the Assad Mission which I think will only be the second time that a probe is brought back matter from a an asteroid. I think the Japanese have done it once before birth. They've done it once already and there's one other Japanese one on the way back which will come down here in Australia. In fact in December. I think so little food talk to that guy's very good. Well the more we get the more we learn that's what it's all about greed gifts. Sorry go on know anything any samples like this that we can get back absolutely invaluable scientifically. Indeed totally agree. This is the Space Nuts podcast episode 226 with Andrew dunkley and Professor Fred Watson. Today's Show is brought to you by expressvpn protect your online activity today and find out how you can get 3 months free at try expressvpn.com life. That's try Express VPN, for 3 months free with a one-year package visit. 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So, you know, we just appreciate those people who have come to us and said we want to give you something for the work you do, That's how you do it. All the details are on our website Space Nuts podcast.com now Fred, let's tackle a couple of questions this one. I know you particularly love this comes from Edmonton in Sydney. I've always been intrigued as to why the longest day of the year doesn't have the latest sunset time of the year in Sydney the longest time Is the 21st of December but the sunset time continues to get later in the evening each day for some time after this. I haven't ever really been able to cross July's why this is so perhaps Fred could help edify me such that I can demonstrate my Superior knowledge to my old man who has always asked this question and who's also asked this question before thanks, you know, I do recall we have talked about this I think on the radio years and years ago, it is a strange thing because after the game out the longest day the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, it would be natural to assume that the days start to get shorter after that and they do but the sunset continues to happen later and that's where he's confused. Yeah, it is it is a great question and it's you're quite right this one one of those that I've always relished since birth. First answer the actually Four an a newsletter when I worked for Her Majesty's nautical Almanac office the rough Observatory back in the nineteen seventies early 1970s so that I might actually just do a plug because I cover this question in my book was Uranus upside down and other questions about the universe, which was published actually quite some time ago back in 2007, but it's a hundred and fifty questions that people asked us on the radio, and this is one of them then why doesn't the earliest wasn't for the longest day coincide with the earliest sunrise and the latest sunset in actually in the books couch the way it's about the shortest day cuz the same thing happens. So let me give you the figures. Okay for the summer solstice exactly as phone number. As ad mentions on a I'm doing this for I'm reading it from the book. So it's for 2007. So the dates are just very slightly different but basically amounts the same thing off in summer. The earliest sunrise is on the 6th of December and this is in Sydney. Again, 6th of December is the earliest sunrise. So after that the sun rises still not getting later and you know, you would think oh, well the days are getting shorter, but they're not getting longer and they're getting longer until the solstice which is on the 22nd of December off and then start getting shorter as you said, but the latest Sunset is actually not until the 7th of January the following year. So there's this skewing the the the earliest sunrise is 606 of December the shortest. Sorry. The longest day is the 22nd of December and the late is sunset isn't until the birth. Of January and you'd expect intuitively all those things to be on the same date. You'd expect them all to be on the 22nd of December, but they're not and it's actually down slightly complex reason but it is all about the fact that the Sun as a timekeeper is not very good and we know that because if you have a sundial the time that you record with the Sundial is not the same as you clock time and it varies throughout the year it averages out to be the same over a year, but there are times in the year when the clock is running ahead of the Sundial times of year when the clock is running behind the Sundial and the difference between them is something that for centuries has been called the equation of time and you can plot a graph of the equation of time in fact dead. It is listening to this if anybody ever does if you check out on the web and you can see your browser see just Google the equation of time you able to see the way varies throughout the year off equation of time is the difference between clock time and Sundown of time and it comes about because the Earth's orbit. First of all is not circular the air salvage vehicle. We are closest to the Sun on the 3rd of January and farthest away on about the 3rd of July. So it's it's an elliptical orbit. That means that the the Earth progression around its orbit is not at a constant speed and that combined with the fact that the Earth's or the Earth's axis is tilted with respect to the perpendicular to the other sorbets. That is what produces the equation of time is what gives you this funny little graph that shows the difference between clock time and birth All time now. Okay. How does that relate to the solstice? Probably the easiest way for me to deal with this is to read it out the book. It's a rather booked myself. Right friends. Are they your words? Yeah. So okay. So if you can think about the actually I might just yeah, let me just read read what I said. So it says why don't they need to believe? Why don't why doesn't this bewildering set of dates coincide? That's what the ones were just given reason has to do with the sun's bizarre behavior in running fast and slow down as described in the book. You have to read it's a good old equation of time again at certain times of the year. The interval between newnes on successive days is Slimer greater than 24 hours of clock time and other times of the year. They are slightly less the differences canceling one another out over the whole year. Near the southern summer solstice the time between successive neurons is 30 seconds less than 24 hours off. That's the crucial part of this big chunk. It's a lot of time. Yeah. So it's it's when the equation of time is at its extreme and that difference and so they is the crucial point that difference of thirty seconds per day is greater than the difference between the sunrise and sunset time on successive days. And so the equation of time becomes the dominant affect the fact that that's changing more rapidly than you sunrise and sunset time zone and the result of that is to stagger the dates of the earliest or latest sunrise and sunset times and the solstice he's but it works at Birth Tells the cities it's actually more pronounced in December than in June because of the larger discrepancy between the solar day and 24 hours of clock time. And here's another thing it's less pronounced at higher Jude's. So it was something I never noticed when I lived in the UK latitude fifty five or so. Whereas down here in Australia at Latitude, 30 33 or 34 or Sydney. You're at about 31 and a about 32 I think in in dubbo, it's this greater daily change in the sunrise and sunset times. But this is the bottom line if you were to plot tables of sunrise and sunset times based on some dial time rather than clock time the effects disappear altogether and so it's all about the fact that the Sun as it moves are apparently moves around our skies. As you know, seeing with the Sundial is not a good time, So if we never invented the clock we wouldn't have noticed. Yes. That's right. If we'd always relied on Sundays we wouldn't notice but but some days are not good time Keepers. So it was really with the mechanic wage clock the invention of the mechanical clock that the the idea of of the equation of time emerged. It's quite exciting, isn't it? It's not easy my life and sorry go ahead. Yeah. Now my brain hurts just trying to drive carefully as possible to try and get my head around it. But if you ask me to explain it right now, I'd collapse and that's a good luck explaining it to your dad. Well, the best thing the head can do is give him a copy of wise you arrange upside down Fort Rickman. Was it still impressed? There's the sales pitch wage. That's a great question. I always that as you spoken explained all that my thought was well, you know wouldn't a sundial always be seven minutes behind. All right, and it's because of the traveling time of light but yeah, sometimes don't take that into account at all people do when they first invented some dials it no idea. There's some sunlight takes eight minutes to get here. Yeah, it's all sorts of things to consider. But thanks for the questionnaire that it's an absolute ripper in a much more complex answer than I think might have been anticipating now. Let's move on to our next question and it comes from Brock Peterson now Brock dropped an audio question down, but we should have been able to collect those so he very very thoughtfully sent it to us in text just in case and he said on a recent episode of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson, he says that we could set up a telescope in space that uses the space curvature of the Sun as a lens to view distant far off locations with extreme magnification wage. Points to the question why we haven't done this yet as we have the technology. Do you know why we aren't doing this and do you know why what kind of resolving power we would get could we look at planets orbiting stars in the Andromeda galaxy. Oh great podcast you too, and I hope it goes forever PS Fred. Are you ever going to be able to guest on stargazing live again loved seeing you on it last time Brock Peterson think I saw you on it last time to thread. Yeah. Yeah. Well, hopefully when stargazing live returns as I hope it will do eventually we'll see what happens Thursday and the last time stargazing life was and I couldn't be there because it was actually leading an eclipse tour in in South America that was last year. So that's why I couldn't wage. And till the eclipse to wait because I wanted to be on Star Gazing live and just didn't work that way refer to previous answer to previous question about my boss. Okay. So this is an interesting and it's certainly an idea that has been discussed before why hasn't this done been done yet? Well because it doesn't work wage not as not as neatly and tidily as that suggestion from Neil deGrasse Tyson comes about I'm actually seeing the episode of of Cosmos a problem is okay. You have a gravitating body like them like the sun. And first of all, it will be a lot easier to do this with the Earth than the sun because the sun is a limited subject. And so you're trying to you know, if you're trying to use the space curvature to to bend the light from distant objects you first of all wage. Get rid of the light of the song one way to do that is by means of an eclipse and that's actually how relativity was first confirmed in nineteen nineteen by a total eclipse of the sun on the 24th of May if I remember rightly. And so that was in a sense doing what this question is talking about. They they looked at the way the images of stars were moved away from the desk of the Sun by The the gravitational curvature of the space around the Sun but the problem with well, that's okay. So let's get rid of this on because that's a terrible idea. That sounds to illuminate but you might think about doing it with the Earth. So or even the moon actually the moon would distort space to some level that would let me get you actually form an image a long long way from the Moon along the axis between the Moon and the object that you're looking at trying to study but the difficulty is that dog Not Allen's as we think of it. It's actually if you if you think of a lens in a telescope, it's a bit like a spectacle lenses. It's you know, usually convex in the middle. So I think we're in the middle of the then at the edge to make it convex. That's the basic form of a telescope lens Allen's that would mimic the gravitational Distortion of the sun is a different shape. And in fact, it's more or less the shape of the bottom of the line glass and somewhere. I've got a broken off bottom of the wine glass which actually simulates very well what the Imaging properties of an object in space is and it doesn't form an image of the kind of thing that you can examine them microscopically to look at details like planets orbiting stars in the Andromeda galaxy what you get is what what is called Dead. What is it called? I forgot the name that's ridiculous. You know come to me in a minute piece a piece of optical terminology where you basically the the light forms a customer and gosh. You can't remember the name. It's on the tip of my tongue. Never mind. It doesn't matter of time frame. Sorry. Say again Andrew understand me all the time. Yeah. Okay. I've got it. Now. It quite forms a caustic. The technical name is a caustic curve image and that is not the kind of image that you can defy with, you know, the kind of equipment you need to look at planets around other stars that might be ways that you could do that you could modify that correcting lenses, but it actually becomes an engineering challenge which is kind of you know on a hiding to nothing. Because the more engineering you do to try and give yourself a proper image from the caustic image that you get that you would get is actually quite serious stuff. And in the end it's a lot better to use a conventional telescope. Like, you know, the the extremely large telescopes that are on the horizon at the moment where she can control the Imaging properties at first hand and I'll come back to that in a second because I want to point out one of the other issues with trying to use as a natural object wage as a as a telescope and that is that you've got to be, you know, you've got to get the your spacecraft to detect the image in the same direction opposite the Earth or whatever you look using as your gravitational lens as the Target that you're looking at. So, yeah, you've got all the orbital dynamics of that to cope with as well and it just sucks. Sleep amounts to being a non-starter. So Neil deGrasse Tyson positing the question why we haven't done it yet has a lot of very sensible answers and if you want to take them to me, I'll tell him I'm done it yet cuz we don't have the technology absolutely not bottom line. Just one other aside on this is that yes, we do use this phenomenon for you know, the the magnification of very distant galaxies. We use it all the time you and I had spoken about it where you got a cluster of galaxies and its gravitational Distortion lets you see all these strangely curved images which are caustics exactly as I've described of much more distant galaxies and you can actually some level reconstruct those images to give you some sort of idea of what's going on. We we actually had a I think we talked about this with a with a ring of light an Einstein ring that was reconstructed. Should into an image of its proper Galaxy we've we've done that already but this is in situations which are very different from using the Sun or a planet as a telescope that you can point around the sky. They're just taking advantage of of a natural alignment. The technology does exist to reconstruct the images, but it's a very poor dog solution because they, you know, the difficulties are quite high. So going back to what I was just saying with the extremely large telescopes and in particular the European one, the LT package will have a mirror 39 meters in diameter that will have the resolving power to see the planets have stars in the Andromeda galaxy. It's it's phenomenal the length solution that you will get with that now it's a very difficult problem to do that because you've got a blot out the light of the star before you can see a planet but the dog You know the extreme resolutions that we will get with these LTS that will actually, you know, let us explore the Stellar population of galaxies. Like I'm drummer at close at close hand at least it will if there's one in the northern hemisphere the TMT. The thirty meter telescope is the Northern Hemisphere equivalent of the of the month the European Southern observatory's one down in Chile the LT that sadly held up at the moment because of issues with the location on the summit of Mount of care, which way is all to do with the traditional owners and it's a very very difficult problem much more difficult than Imaging stars in different galaxies planets in different galaxies. It's a you know, it's a problem that really has no easy answers and it might result in that telescope being built elsewhere. Perhaps en la parte and the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, which has not quite as good as site as ma'am. But still pretty good. I've got off the track there but regular telescopes have got a lot to offer and you know, the square kilometer array likewise in the radio spectrum will have very fine resolving power because it's antennas are spread over a larger area. So we don't need to worry too much about looking at grab a channel lenses. They're a pain to deal with and once in a while we get a fortunate juxtaposition that lets us see galaxies behind a a cluster of galaxies and let's just get decent results from it, but it's not something I think you could use as a a routine method of observing. There you go. That's a long a long answer to a short question. That's a good question while we're asking Brock. Thank you so much. We appreciate it. And thank you everyone who sends in questions with we're starting to pile them up again. But of course as always if you would like to set off Question go to our website Space Nuts podcast.com. You can send it the traditional way through our contact portal or you can click on the am a tab and record your question. Just tell us who you are where you're from and ask your question as long as you've got a microphone attached to your device that operates we will we will receive it and more than happy to page go through them and pick and choose which ones get put on the air. We can't do them all these days just too many. Although we had a little drought but that's that's certainly not the case now, but keep them coming. That's what we like friend that brings us to the end of what turned out to be a lengthy episode, but very very good indeed. Thank you so much. It's a great pleasure as actually turned out to be lengthy thoughts good. Well, nevermind. It's all good stuff. Thank you very much. All right, it's Andrew for it's because we're approaching the summer solstice and not now with the length of our dog. It's actually longer than they appear That's what's happening. It should be doing it by Sundial and not by this little number. That's how I tell the time on radio wage the way thank you. Fred will catch you again. Next time sounds great. See you soon. Take a hundred say Fred Fred. What's an astronomer at large here on the space? And that's podcast and for me Andrew dunkley. Thanks again for listening. Tell your friends. Say hi to your mom for me and we'll catch you on the next episode to displace nuts podcast subscribe to the full cast on iTunes and Stitcher or your favorite podcast distributor. This has been another quality broadcast production from site.com. All gin joints in all the towns in all the world. She walks into mine. Welcome to a new podcast for the movie lover and all of us high-wage. Type is here. Most of the classic film club. I'm a film critic for international trade paper variety a documentary filmmaker and I programmed the freak me outside bar at settings on tests of all off apart from all that. I've been a film fanatic all my life. 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