Cosmic Queries: A Stellar Smorgasbord

Will you be ready when our Sun expands into a Red Giant five billion years from now? Credit: NASA/Walt Feimer.
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About This Episode

Join us for a tasty selection of Cosmic Queries selected for your entertainment and edification by our producers and your maître d’, Eugene Mirman. The answers to our fan-submitted questions are served up by our two chefs de cosmic cuisine: astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and returning guest astrophysicist and StarTalk All-Stars host Dr. Charles Liu. There’s more on the menu than we can describe here, but our smorgasbord includes tantalizing treats like the Fermi Paradox and the Nebular Hypothesis. You’ll hear how to make asteroid mining profitable and whether there’s anything here on Earth that could live on the surface of the Moon or Mars. Discover what it means when neutrinos behave badly and whether there’s any scientific validity to the idea that weird stuff happens when “Mercury is in retrograde.” Find out exactly how fast the universe is expanding, thanks to Hubble’s Constant, and learn about two numbers so massive even writing them out completely is impossible: Graham’s Number and Skewes Number. You’ll also learn about maximally spinning Kerr black holes and how difficult it is to keep a wormhole open. Neil and Charles discuss both the eventual heat death of the universe, and, more importantly to humanity, what will happen when the Sun expands into a Red Giant 5 billion years from now. Plus, for dessert, enjoy a “How Tweet It Is” segment with Neil and Bill Nye discussing caveman explorers who go over the hill in search of adventure, and the more conservative cave-accountants who stay behind.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Cosmic Queries: A Stellar Smorgasbord.

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