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Astronomy Cast – A Podcast Explaining the Universe with Facts (Podcast Review)

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Astronomy Cast

Astronomy Cast ( sends its listeners on a facts-based journey through the universe every week. Sit at your computer as you explore the rings of Saturn. Lay comfortably in bed as your dive feet first into a supermassive black hole, and even learn what one is!

Beginning in September 2006, its first episode dealt with the confusion regarding the IAU’s new definition of what a planet is, leading to Pluto’s demotion. The Rev. Rob Times' first science article dealt with the same issue. It’s silly, but I feel a connection there. Since its induction, the show has been produced, without fail, every Monday. At the time of this writing there have been 68 episodes. The topics vary from planets in our solar system to string theory, (my favorite and yours).

Astronomy Cast is dually hosted by Fraser Cain, an avid astronomy lover, and Dr. Pamela L. Gay, an actual real live astronomer. The fascination and jovial wonder for the universe that both the enthusiast and the scientist bring to the show is an inspiration for all who are interested in space and planetary sciences. Not only for those who have only a passing interest, but also for people who have a deep background and understanding of astronomy and related fields. Truly, their never-ending awe for new ways of understanding nature around is shines through in their pleasant voices with each broadcast.

Fraser Cain is the full time publisher of Universe Today (, a wonderful news website that keeps its legions of readers abreast of all recent discoveries and new theories in the Universe, ranging from developments in our own solar system to those in distant galaxies, as well as present and future space exploration mission.

Dr. Pamela L. Gay

Dr. Pamela Gay describes herself on her own blog, Star Stryder ( as “an astronomer, a teacher, a researcher, and a woman.” She is also one heck of a talented writer, as is evidenced by her entries; always intelligent, never boring. Fortunately, since Astronomy Cast is a podcast, she repeats the same winning formula when speaking. That also has to be a plus for her students. Pamela is a faculty member at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). Also, it’s worth mentioning that she’s kind of cute.

What’s important to keep in mind is that “astronomy” doesn’t only mean pointing a telescope at the sky and seeing what there is to see. Long since the time of Galileo has that definition changed. Astronomy Cast incorporates discussions about all fields that are related to understanding the universe; what I term “space sciences.”

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For instance, geology, basically the study of rocks and minerals, is now an important space science when it comes to understanding the composition of other worlds, such as Mars and Titan. Oceanography has a role to play when it comes to understanding the oceans of worlds like Europa. Meteorologists, yes the guys on the local news station that always seem to predict the weather wrong, have long been involved in space programs to help better understand weather patterns from those on Venus to Saturn, and now on extrasolar planets.

Surprising to some, biology is also a scientific skill that comes in handy in space related fields, because fascinating new worlds will need new theories about how life could, can, or did once exist. The combination of astronomy, biology, geology, and other sciences has led to the development of a new field of science called astrobiology.

Astronomy Cast covers the full gambit, from back yard amateur star gazing, to astrobiology, to cosmology, to complex math and physics. It’s a true statement that sometimes I have to listen to shows about complex gravity and relativity more than one time.

This podcast is chocked full of something for everyone, and there is no one who cannot find both an educational and entertainment value when listening to this wonderful show.

At the end of each episode, Fraser asks that listeners make a donation or write about the show. Since I am broke most of the time, I thank you Fraser, and I thank you Pamela. The service that you provide to the public is outstanding, to say the very least.

If you’re reading this, and you’re still not listening to Astronomy Cast yet, then just please click here.

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Founder of "The Rev. Rob Times," ( Rev. Robert A. Vinciguerra has been a longtime student of journalism. From Phoenix, Arizona.

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Hey there, Reverend Rob - Thank you for this thoug... by mrk * on Thursday, Dec 20, 2007 at 10:43:00 AM
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