I’ve got a special treat for you this time around on Voices from the North as my special guest, Stan Walker, is an astrophysicist/astronomer so we covered some different ground, or should I say space, in this interview. Stan Walker is a Fellow of Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, an Award member of Auckland Astronomical Society, a Member of the International Astronomical Union since 1970 – And Secretary then Director of the Auckland Observatory until 1990. He’s traveled broadly to astronomical conferences around the world. Stan’s foci include variable stars, close binary stars and photometry. I must say I was a little out of my depth with some of this stuff but Stan did a great job of explaining binary stars. Fascinating!
We also talked about habitable zones and the possibility of life being found out there. Stan Walker indicated that the U.N. thinks there must be, as they recently appointed Mazlan Othman (currently director of the Kuala Lumpur observatory in Malaysia), to assimilate all the reports of UFOs and visitations received around the world.
Stan spoke at some length about our sun and its composition (roughly 70% hydrogen, 28% helium and the remainder various metals, if I heard correctly) and combustion. As Stan indicated, astronomy is a comparative science; otherwise numbers take on values that are pretty incomprehensible. I don’t know about you, but when someone says 10 to the 27th, my eyes start to water and my brain goes fuzzy.
Stan was present in Mexico in the 1990s for the longest solar eclipse of the last century. Even then it only lasted 7 minutes. You wouldn’t want to be late!
In preparation for this interview I viewed a documentary about the sidewalk astronomer, John Dobson. I recommend watching A Sidewalk Astronomer. He makes astronomy accessible, fun and even a little mystical.
The complete interview can be heard here:
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