July 4, 2015 12:29 pm

Do you know who “Madame Saturn” is? Find out Sunday.

Natural color image of Saturn taken by Cassini, Oct. 10, 2013. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cornell

Saturn, in natural color, as the human eye would see it. A mosaic of 36 images taken by Cassini on Oct. 10, 2013. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cornell

When I first heard this classic episode of StarTalk Radio, where Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Carolyn Porco, I didn’t know who she was.

Now, I think of her whenever I see a photo of Saturn. Or Enceladus. Or Titan.

She’s more than just another kid from the Bronx who discovered the stars at the Hayden Planetarium (like Neil did) and went on to explore the universe.

She’s been critical in bringing the wonders of our Solar System back to the rest of us here on planet Earth in vibrant, thrilling photographs, like the one shown above.

She worked with Carl Sagan on the Voyager mission, and Carolyn was one of those who suggested that Voyager look back and take the photo that was to change our sense of our place in the Cosmos: “The Pale Blue Dot.”

She went on to lead the Cassini Imaging Science Team, orchestrating “The Day the Earth Smiled” image.

Carolyn tells Neil all about both in Part 2. But in Part 1 this Sunday, we get to hear how her spiritual journey searching for the meaning of life in the universe led her to astronomy, with a slight detour chopping wood out in the wild.

Neil and Carolyn have more in common than just growing up in the Bronx. Their lives were each changed by Carl Sagan, and in this episode they talk about how he offered people the “spirituality of science and astronomy.”

If you’ve never heard this classic episode before, I can’t recommend it more highly.

And if you have, you should listen anyway, because we’ve extended this episode with more than 10 minutes of new Cosmic Queries, featuring Neil, co-host Chuck Nice and guest Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Join us for Part 1 this Sunday, July 5 at 7:00pm ET on our website, or on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and TuneIn.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons

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