StarTalk's photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Russell Peters.
StarTalk's photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Russell Peters.

Cosmic Queries – Everyday Astrophysics, with Russell Peters

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About This Episode

Astrophysics is everywhere. On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with first-time comic co-host Russell Peters to answer fan-submitted questions about everyday astrophysics. What you may not know, is that besides being a comedian extraordinaire, Russell is a card-carrying member of the space geek club, so he fits right into the StarTalk family. 

You’ll find out why Mercury and Venus don’t have moons. We investigate what separates a celestial body from being a planet or a moon, and, as always, Pluto makes its way into the discussion. You’ll learn why an object needs to have gravitational dominance in its orbit in order to be considered a planet. We also ask, “Could all our planets be perceived as moons to the Sun?”

Discover more about the impact of the Earth’s axial tilt. You’ll hear why the equator stays warm all the time. You’ll also hear why there would be no seasons if the tilt in the axis was undone. Find out how we would “survive” on a gas giant. You’ll take part in a thought experiment to understand positive and negative energy. 

Find out what the most distant cosmic sight is that you can see with the naked eye. We explore the visibility of the Andromeda Galaxy and The Magellanic Clouds. Learn more about the discovery of the Andromeda Galaxy. Neil tells us why possible intelligent life in the Andromeda Galaxy would be seeing us not as we are, but as we were. Neil also shares with us the single most alarming cosmic event you can witness with your own eyes. 

Explore why some planets rotate in the opposite direction. Neil explains why E = mc2 is the most important discovery in physics. We investigate the modern use of the word “theory.” We also ponder how you would know that you’re living in a special time of scientific discovery. All that, plus, get details on the relationship between the Earth and the Moon, and, you’ll learn how similar an exoplanet must be to Earth in order to host human life.

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