June 22, 2013 12:33 pm

This Sunday, There Are No Bad Questions… Only Better Answers!

Artist image showing formation of solar system

Why do planets revolve around the Sun in the same plane?
Image Credit: NASA/JPL

We get questions from our fans all the time. Sometimes we ask for questions on a specific topic for a specific episode of Cosmic Queries. But most of the questions we get from you are sent in unsolicited via email, or on Facebook, or wherever you are when the desire to know something about our universe strikes.

Some questions get asked more than once by more than one person. For instance, I can’t remember the number of times somebody has asked us, “What happens if an astronaut dies in space? Are there protocols? What to the other astronauts do with the body?”

One thing is true… we get many more questions than we could ever answer.

This week’s episode of Cosmic Queries is an attempt, however meager, to answer some of your questions that didn’t make it into a previous episode. We’re calling it a “Grab Bag” and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice tackle a universe-spanning assortment of subjects.

From “What are Quasars?” to seasons on Mars, Neil and Chuck go wherever your questions take us. In one case, Neil had to get out a pen and paper to figure out exactly how fast you’d need to throw a baseball on the Moon to get it to orbit around and come back to you. In another, Neil explains to a skeptic why a manned NASA mission to Mars is a good thing.

One thread running through this episode: the difference between misinformation and fact. More than one fan asked questions because their friends had told them something that just didn’t add up, and they wanted to get the facts. (As Neil says, “You know you’re being lied to when you can’t even verify it on the Internet.”)

My two favorite questions in this episode: “Why do planets revolve around the Sun in the same plane?” and “How can Neutron Stars have magnetic fields given that they’re made of neutrons?” The answers are beautiful and make perfect sense and underscore just how amazing the universe we live in really is.

Listen in tomorrow night at 7:00 PM ET and, if you’d like, tell us your favorite questions in the comments for the show.


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