Six years ago, in episode 150, Jochen Liske of ESO told us about the Extremely Large Telescope that is currently being built in Chile. This episode is a continuation (which is why this is a kind of bonus episode labelled as 150.5) in which Thomas Pfrommer tells us about how to control the optical path of this monster telescope: the 39 meter, 798-segment main mirror, plus the four additional mirrors involved in bringing the light to a stable and sharp focus. I recorded this episode mainly to fill in some “gaps” I needed for the book chapter on telescopes.
Im August war ich in der Eifel und habe dort das 100m-Radioteleskop in Effelsberg besucht. Mit meinem Gast(geber) Norbert Junkes spreche ich über Konstruktion, Funktionsweise und Einbindung in VLBI-Interferometer.
A few months ago, a collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope presented the first direct image of a black hole; or more specifically, of the radiation created by accelerated particles at its event horizon. The EHT is a Very Large Baseline Interferometer, in which radio telescopes all over the world are computationally connected to obtain resolutions that are not possible with one telescope. In the episode I chat with Heino Falcke, the chair of the EHT science committee, about the science, the telescope, what it took to get it going, and image reconstruction.
On October 20, the BepiColombo started its flight to Mercury on an Ariane 5 from Kourou. I was at the launch press event at ESOC in Darmstadt to follow the launch and to record a couple of interviews. The episode consists of three major parts. The first part is an interview with Pablo Munoz about mission analysis and flight dynamics. The second part looks at the science with Joe Zender, Roberto Peron, Ajako Matsuoka and Joana Oliveira. And part three are multiple short takes with Paolo Ferri, Andreas Rudolph and Fabian Luedicke recorded in the middle of the night at ESOC.
SOFIA is an airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.7m infrared telescope in the back of the fuselage. In late October 2015, I had the opportunity to fly on SOFIA during science missions 248 and 249. This episode captures these two flights. The episode is a mix between interviews with scientists and aircrew, recordings from the intercom system and some narration by me. The list of guests can be seen on the episode page – it is too long for the abstract.