Black Hole Milky Way
Black Hole Milky Way

Extended Classic: Cosmic Queries – Dark Mysteries of the Universe

Photo Credit: Ute Kraus, Physics education group Kraus, Universität Hildesheim, Space Time Travel, background image of the milky way: Axel Mellinger

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About This Episode

This episode is now extended with a cosmic conversation between Neil deGrasse Tyson and Matt O’Dowd, astrophysicist and host of PBS Space Time. Neil and Matt discuss space exploration without a set destination, how Neil would spend the science budget of an administration, “Star Trek,” and more. 

Join Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Leighann Lord as they explore the dark mysteries of our cosmos, from the infinitesimal electron to the higher dimensions of the multiverse. You’ll find out whether photons have mass, why the Moon doesn’t really orbit the Earth, and how many stars are born each day in our galaxy’s stellar nurseries. Neil explains how neutron stars could become black holes and why space is anything but dark, ablaze in microwaves and other energy beyond visible light. At times, the science borders on the philosophical, as when Neil proclaims, “We are the singularity writ large across the dimensions of the cosmos.” But there’s plenty of physics, too, as your own personal astrophysicist answers Cosmic Queries about the speed of gravity, the difference between “aether” and the Higgs field, what dark flow has to do with galactic expansion, and how long we have until we crash into the Andromeda galaxy.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Extended Classic: Cosmic Queries – Dark Mysteries of the Universe.

In This Episode

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Episode Topics

  • Great episode, Dr. Neil. Thanks for teaching me more.

  • Thanks, Dr. Tyson, for those good lessons! I am a fan of StarTalk, and I am catching up with all your videos at youtube, just to learn more, along with some astrophysics books (yours included). It’s never late to learn. I am 59 years old, unemployed at the moment, but always looked up, as I was an amateur astronomer in my youth. Merchant Marine took me to the sea in 1979 and away of the astronomy studies. Now I am coming back to it. Learning with few steps at a time, and you are helping me a lot with your teachings. As Carl Sagan got you more started, you got me started to go back to the studies. Best regards from Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. And Thank you again!

  • If I may ask, why are my comment being deleted? Did I do something wrong?

    • Marcus, which comments do you think were deleted?

      • My mistake, I realized that disqus takes the comment out before approval. Sorry for the mess. Kind of newbie with the system.

        • No worries, Marcus. Just glad nothing went missing. And thanks for your comments.

  • Is that a bug? My comments are being deleted. 🙁

    • Marcus, why do you think your comments are being deleted?

  • One question to Dr, Tyson, if I may: in Star Trek The Next Generation, they say that they are going to observe a red giant star that would colapse into a white dwarf. Does this really happens or is it part of the science fiction of Star Trek TNG? Thanks in advance for your answer.

  • WarfRat

    Was listening to this episode and N.d.T. mentioned adding matter to different types of stars to aid in ignition. He went on to mention adding matter to Jupiter to create a star and form Sol into a binary system, that would be a great plot device for a movie … oh wait … it’s been done already 😉
    My question on follow-up would be; “wouldn’t creating a second solar gravity well in the middle of our well balanced planetary system throw the orbits of the other planets into chaos and possibly destroy life on the Earth?”
    Gee thanks mysterious black slab builders.

  • Jamie Arking

    Hi. When talking about potiential energy I usually see the example of a ball on the ground having less potential energy than one sitting on a chair. Does that mean that the potential energy of an object will go to 0 as it leaves earth’s gravity? Is potential energy measured relative to a central gravitational point? Thanks, Jamie Arking, Medford. NJ.

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