July 13, 2013 12:08 pm

This Sunday: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Comes Down to Earth!

Photo of Earth as seen from the Moon. Credit: JAXA/NHK

Earth as seen from the Moon. Credit: JAXA/NHK

With last night’s Manhattanhenge a rainout, I consoled myself with tomorrow night’s Cosmic Queries episode, all about Planet Earth.

Once again, I learned something by listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson answer your questions, although Neil reminded us more than once that he was answering these questions as an astrophysicist, not a geologist.

There were plenty of interesting questions about the formation of the Earth, the fossil and tectonic record, natural resources, natural disasters, gravity, the Earth’s rotation and prehistoric sunsets, but two of your Cosmic Queries revolved around the same subject, the Earth’s magnetic field.

The first question was, “Could a shift in the Earth’s magnetic poles happen in the near future, and what would that mean?” And the second, later in the show, was, “Which will happen first: the expansion of the Sun into a red giant or the death of the dynamo inside the Earth leading to the loss of the Earth’s magnetic field?”

Abysmal sci-fi movies like The Core aside, there is plenty of concern and speculation about what could happen if the poles reversed. But, as usual, Neil’s sober application of physics, science and even history should satisfy even the most terrified among us.

This is also the episode of Cosmic Queries where Neil responds to a fan’s question about Super Moon. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you check out the video below, but I feel obliged to tell you that the video doesn’t fully explain the impact of the moon on tides. The podcast has a fuller explanation about the moon and tides, so make sure you listen to that.

By the way, if you like comic co-host Chuck Nice, I think you’ll enjoy Chuck’s exciting (if less than timely) announcement.

Listen to the show tomorrow night, Sunday, July 14th at 7:00 pm ET, right here on the website, or via iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up.
–Jeffrey Simons

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