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Bob Berman
Strange Universe
Sundays, 9:35 a.m.

Astronomer Bob Berman sheds light on the mysteries of space and time. Always fascinating and fun, Strange Universe will take you places you never knew existed. Learn why Betelgeuse sometimes goes weirdly dim and how after the totality in 2017 in places like Wyoming and the Carolinas, millions finally got to see a total solar eclipse.

  • Strange Universe With Bob Berman
    Astronomy can be free. There are no toll booths between here and infinity. In many of our radio regions, away from big cities, skies are dark and one need only step outside, or drive a few miles on a country road, to an open vista. We also explore the cost of gazing at the stars.
  • Strange Universe With Bob Berman
    Planets started to be uncovered in 1992 by radio telescopes and in 1995 by regular telescopes using special techniques. This week we’ll hear just how many planets we think there are.
  • This week we’ll study seven basic facts about the universe like how Aristarchus, 18 centuries before Copernicus, declared the earth orbits around the sun.
  • Our current, bright sun makes winters more moderate than they’d otherwise be. In the southern hemisphere, enjoying summer right now, the added boost of having this 7% greater Sun intensity should theoretically make seasons more extreme than ours, with hotter highs and colder lows. It doesn’t happen only because they have far more ocean acreage, and water moderates temperatures so that our planet’s two hemispheres, remarkably, balance out.
  • We’ll take a peek at what we can expect in the sky in 2023. Tune in to hear why 2023 is the decade’s finest year for meteors.
  • Dec. 26 around 5 p.m. you’ll see a lovely, low crescent Moon meeting a moderately bright star in the southwest, which is the planet Saturn. Then Dec. 29 look high up to see the half Moon floating right next to the night’s most brilliant star, which is the planet Jupiter. They’ll be out until midnight, with an eye-catching loveliness that has no controversy at all.
  • The public is obsessed with planets beyond our solar system. One team announced finding a planet orbiting the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, with the putative planet orbiting Alpha’s companion, the much smaller and dimmer star known as Proxima. Its nearness at only 4.2 light-years has generated excited talk about sending a space probe.
  • Tuesday night, December 13, we’ll see the year’s finest meteor shower. These are the Geminids, and they deliver a meteor a minute. And you start seeing them as early as 8 p.m. No need to wait for midnight like with those other rich showers. And the Moon will be absent, giving us perfect dark skies if you’re away from cities and artificial lights.
  • This is the week of Mars. Its opposition – when it’s exactly the opposite the sun in our sky – is this Thursday. Its closest and brightest happened a few days ago. And this Wednesday night, December 7th, it closely meets the Full Moon. We’ll also hear what Mars has been up to.
  • The only two disks in our sky, the moon and sun, both appear the same size. This is true nowhere else. It alone creates total solar eclipses. In just a few tens of millions of years, the slowly spiraling-away moon will look too small to cover up the sun. Total solar eclipses are only happening now, when humans are around.