Composite image showing a total eclipse of the sun. Via NASA, credit: S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol
Composite image showing a total eclipse of the sun. Via NASA, credit: S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol

Eclipses, Cosmic Cataclysms, and More with Janna Levin

NASA image of a Total Solar Eclipse. Credit: S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol.

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About This Episode

Moments after the Great American Eclipse of 2017, StarTalk All-Stars host astrophysicist Janna Levin was joined at Pioneerworks in Brooklyn NY by comic co-host Matt Kirshen and Joe Patterson, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Columbia University (and her first astronomy professor). And even though the eclipse didn’t reach totality over NY, the trio was all fired up to have a cosmic conversation about eclipses and more. You’ll learn about the 1918 total solar eclipse and how it gave a group of scientists a chance to test Einstein’s then unproven theory of relativity. You’ll hear what is scientifically valuable to study during a total solar eclipse. Explore how Christopher Columbus used a lunar eclipse to trick workers into thinking he was an all-powerful being. Joe explains how seeing a total solar eclipse changed his life and we get details on how eclipses help us hunt for exoplanets. All that, plus, you’ll discover more about primitive life in the universe, cataclysmic variables (binary star systems), black widow pulsars, supernovas and why it’s important for life that stars blow up.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Eclipses, Cosmic Cataclysms, and More with Janna Levin.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Janna Levin

    Janna Levin
    All-Stars Host, Astrophysicist, Author, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
  • Co-Host

    Matt Kirshen

    Matt Kirshen
    Matt Kirshen
  • Guest

    Joe Patterson

    Joe Patterson
    Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Columbia University, Director of the Center of Backyard Astrophysics

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