December 5, 2019 9:00 pm

Friday, Explore the Edges of the Universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Janna Levin

On some episodes of StarTalk we explore space in a “small” sense: Earth, the Moon, our solar system, even our galaxy. But on other episodes, including this one, we explore space. I’m talkin’ space space.

Image of the Phoenix Constellation by NASA, CXC, SAO, and G.Schellenberger.

Phoenix Constellation. Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/G.Schellenberger et al.; Optical: SDSS.

On this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson is in-studio once again with comic co-host Chuck Nice to answer your fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about the mysteries, wonders, and dazzling ideas that exist on the bleeding edge of cosmology. To do this, we need another expert. Who better than astrophysicist Janna Levin, PhD?

If you think we were going to ease our way into this, you must not be familiar with how the universe works. We start with a “simple” question: is the universe actually infinite? Janna tells us why we don’t know for sure. We discuss the possibility of our universe being looped. Could those distant galaxies we see actually be our own galaxy in the past?

Then, we dive into dimensions. If they exist, can you perceive other dimensions? You’ll hear why it’s so hard to prove the existence of other dimensions. We also ponder if adding a 4th dimension would provide too much freedom for molecules to bond together and form macroscopic objects. This is usually where I put a reference to Flatland for those interested in understanding more on how to visualize dimensions but I’m going to switch it up. There are some wonderful nuggets of dimensionality in this short clip from Inside Out, the recent Pixar masterpiece, that helps illustrate the tricky visualization needed when talking about different dimensions.

You’ll learn more about dark energy and dark matter. Are they two sides of the same coin? We investigate the inside of black holes and the “information” on the surface of black holes. Lastly, discover more about Voyager 2’s venture into interstellar space. All that, plus, Janna tells us what she thinks is the most exciting research being done right now.

Please join us tomorrow night for Cosmic Queries – Edge of the Universe at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re a StarTalk+ Patron or an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
-Ian Mullen

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