#403: Stellar Synthesis & Quasar Quests: Crafting Cosmic Particles & Unveiling the Universe's Brightest Beacon
Space Nuts March 28, 2024
00:29:0326.65 MB

#403: Stellar Synthesis & Quasar Quests: Crafting Cosmic Particles & Unveiling the Universe's Brightest Beacon

Prepare for a stellar foray into the frontiers of astrophysics with your seasoned spacefarers, Andrew Dunkley and Professor Fred Watson, in this riveting episode of Space Nuts. Today, we're delving into the realm of nuclear alchemy, where scientists have replicated the cosmic crucible of colliding neutron stars right here on Earth. Andrew and Fred unpack the groundbreaking synthesis of new isotopes, previously the exclusive handiwork of the universe's most cataclysmic events. Discover how a platinum beam and a carbon target in the lab have opened a new window into the cosmic generation of elements like gold and silver, and what this means for our understanding of matter's deepest secrets.
Then, brace for a journey to the edges of space-time, as we shed light on the discovery of the fastest-growing and brightest quasar ever observed. This celestial behemoth, with a black hole 17 billion times the mass of our Sun, is not only a record-breaker but a window into the universe's youthful past, some 12 billion years ago. With a luminosity of 500 trillion suns and an event horizon stretching seven light years, this quasar is a true cosmic titan. Fred and Andrew explore the implications of such discoveries and ponder the evolution of these quasars, which now lie dormant in the current epoch of the universe.
And lest we forget, the episode is graced with a surprise guest—a goanna in Fred's backyard, reminding us of the enduring connection between Earth's ancient inhabitants and the stars that light our skies.
So, join us on this intergalactic voyage of discovery, where the wonders never cease, and the universe's secrets are yours to uncover. For the full Space Nuts experience and to keep your cosmic curiosity fueled, subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. And remember, your questions and fascination are the stars that guide our Space Nuts odyssey!
📋 Episode Chapters
(00:00) Andrew dunkley: Coming up on this episode of Space nuts is some science
(01:08) Professor Fred Watson says goannas can do a lot of damage
(02:32) Scientists have synthesised isotopes created by colliding neutron stars
(12:20) Professor Andrew Dunkley says neutron star collisions may have created some rare isotopes
(16:25) Fred says Australian astronomers have found the brightest quasar and possibly a black hole
(23:16) Quasars are extinct at this point in the age of the universe
(28:25) Andrew Dunkley: Thanks to Huw not in studio today when AWOL

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