August 30, 2020 9:00 pm

Monday, Explore the Evolution of Stargazing with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Negin Farsad, and Astronomer Emily Levesque, PhD.

Looking up at the stars. A simple act of turning your head towards the sky and taking in the grand scale of everything around you. It’s been a past time for humanity as long as we’ve had the ability to take in our surroundings. How has stargazing changed over the years?

NASA’s photo from the International Space Station with a lightning storm on Earth below and the Milky Way above, taken by the Expedition 44 crew.

Stargazing from the ISS during Expedition 44. Image Credit: NASA.

On this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson, comic co-host Negin Farsad, and Emily Levesque, PhD, astronomer and astrophysics professor at the University of Washington, are here to answer your fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about stargazing.

Emily is also the author of the newly-released book The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers which serves as “a love letter to astronomy and an affirmation of the crucial role that humans can and must play in the future of scientific discovery.”

To start off the Cosmic Queries session we investigate how satellites impact stargazing. You’ll hear more about Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite constellation that will provide global internet access. You’ll also hear how it poses a problem for astronomers. Find out how satellites can alter images of the night sky. Emily tells us about the craziest adventure she’s taken in the name of astronomy. Not to give anything away, but, it involves flying in the Antarctic stratosphere.

Then, we turn our attention to the future. What will stargazing look like in ten years? Will we need people at telescopes or can we just do everything from a computer? Find out if and when constellations will ever change shape. Neil and Emily explain why the North Star is actually kind of lame. And, we ponder how humanity would be different if astronomy never existed.

Discover more about the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope proposed to be built on Mauna Kea, the most sacred mountain in native Hawaiian culture. We explore the history of Hawaiian astronomy, culture, and the controversial process of getting the telescope built. Lastly, Emily gives us a history lesson in early astronomy. All that, plus, Neil and Emily reveal what famous astronomers from the past they would’ve liked to meet.

Please join us tomorrow for Cosmic Queries – Stargazing 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 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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