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Astronomy with Bob Berman and Valerie Rapson 6/29/23

Tiny galaxy HIPASS J1131–31 peeks out from behind the glare of star TYC 7215-199-1, a Milky Way star positioned between Hubble and the galaxy.
NASA, ESA, Igor Karachentsev (SAO RAS)
NASA Hubble Space Telescope
Tiny galaxy HIPASS J1131–31 peeks out from behind the glare of star TYC 7215-199-1, a Milky Way star positioned between Hubble and the galaxy. One hundred years ago, this fast-moving foreground star would have appeared directly in the line of sight, and the "Peekaboo" galaxy would not have been detectable at all. With Hubble's resolution and sensitivity, astronomers resolved 60 stars in the galaxy and were struck by the fact that they all appear to be relatively young—a few billion years old or younger. This is very unusual in the nearby universe, which has had about 13 billion years of cosmic history to develop. Peekaboo's stars indicate that it is one of the youngest and least-chemically-enriched galaxies ever detected in the local universe. The small galaxy presents astronomers with a unique opportunity for future in-depth analysis of a chemical environment typically only found in the very distant, early universe, where detailed study of individual stars' chemical makeup is not possible. Peekaboo is, in effect, a direct portal into the past, allowing us to discover what the universe was like near the dawn of time.
Dr. Valerie Rapson, head shot
Courtesy of Valerie Rapson
Dr. Valerie Rapson

We talk astronomy with Bob Berman and Dr. Valerie Rapson. Call at show time with your questions. 800-348-2551. Ray Graf hosts.

Dr. Valerie Rapson is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at SUNY Oneonta. Dr. Rapson teaches a variety of physics and astronomy courses. She also conducts exoplanet research with students utilizing telescopes at the College Camp Observatory.

A native of Rochester, NY, she earned her Ph.D. in Astrophysical Sciences and Technology at RIT where her research focused on the chemical composition and structure of planet-forming disks around nearby young stars. Her research interests include star and planet formation, exoplanets, and projects that can be done with small telescopes.

Prior to joining the faculty at Oneonta, Dr. Rapson was the director of the Dudley Observatory in Albany, NY. There, she designed and taught astronomy education programs for children and adults, operated the Suites-Bueche planetarium, and oversaw the construction of roll-top roof observatory with a 14inch telescope. She is a National Astronomy Ambassador and was awarded the 2018 Emerging Leader Award by Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region for being a role model to young women who aspire to become scientists.

Bob Berman, head shot
Bob Berman
Bob Berman

Bob Berman is one of the best-known and most widely-read astronomers in the world. He is able to translate complex scientific concepts into language that is understandable to the casual observer yet meaningful to the most advanced. His written work has appeared in Discover Magazine and Astronomy Magazine. Bob is also the Astronomy Editor for The Old Farmers Almanac.

Bob Berman is the author of a dozen books including, Zapped: From Infrared to X-rays, The Sun's Heartbeat, Zoom: How Everything Moves and Earth-Shattering: Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, Biological Mayhem, Nuclear Meltdowns, and Other Hazards to Life in Our Univererse.

Bob Berman is the host of Strange Universe, which is produced and airs at WAMC.

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