The 9pm Space Telescope Titillation with Pulsar Boy Rami Mandow

Rami Mandow and two telescopes, one an optical scope and one part of a home-made radio telescope. (Photo: Supplied; Post-processing: Stilgherrian)

The winter series of The 9pm Edict continues with astrophysicist Rami Mandow, founder of There’s a new telescope to talk about, and much more.

In this episode we talk about the imagery from the James Webb Space Telescope, pulsars, how declassified military data is aiding science, water on mars, orbital mechanics, adaptive optics, Assyria, rainbow lorikeets, space junk, junk science, and of course Elon Musk.

This podcast is available on Amazon MusicApple PodcastsCastboxDeezer, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, JioSaavn, Pocket Casts, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Speaker.

You can also listen to the podcast below, or subscribe to the generic podcast feed.

Rami Mandow has been on the Edict twice before.

Episode Links

Crab Nebula in Taurus (also known as Messier 1), in a three colour composite observed with the FORS2 instrument in imaging mode on 10 November 1999. (Photo: ESO/Wikipedia Commons)
  • Researching Pulsars & Gravitational Waves with The Dish at @MQPhysAstro • Founder @SpaceAusDotCom #SpaceAustralia • Doggo #BalmainMax • He/Him • Views My Own
  • We spent two years researching what the Australian space community wants as a platform – which has allowed us to build a user-centric website and given us a great long term strategy on rolling out new products for all our regional space needs! We want to be your one-stop-shop to find out all you need about our local space community and plan to share the stories and voices as that we, as a region, start to grow.
  • [13 July 2022] NASA has wowed the world with the sharpest images yet from the furthest depths of the universe. Its $13 billion James Webb Space Telescope has delivered five spectacular pictures giving a taste of what it will explore in the coming decades.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a space telescope designed primarily to conduct infrared astronomy. As the largest optical telescope in space, its greatly improved infrared resolution and sensitivity allow it to view objects too early, distant, or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope. This is expected to enable a broad range of investigations across the fields of astronomy and cosmology, such as observation of the first stars and the formation of the first galaxies, and detailed atmospheric characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets.
  • [25 July 2022] In the days after the mega-telescope started delivering data, astronomers reported exciting new discoveries about galaxies, stars, exoplanets and even Jupiter.
  • Adaptive optics (AO) is a technology used to improve the performance of optical systems by reducing the effect of incoming wavefront distortions by deforming a mirror in order to compensate for the distortion. It is used in astronomical telescopes and laser communication systems to remove the effects of atmospheric distortion.
  • In celestial mechanics, the Lagrange points /l???r??nd?/ (also Lagrangian points or libration points) are points of equilibrium for small-mass objects under the influence of two massive orbiting bodies. Mathematically, this involves the solution of the restricted three-body problem in which two bodies are far more massive than the third.
  • In orbital mechanics and aerospace engineering, a gravitational slingshot, gravity assist maneuver, or swing-by is the use of the relative movement (e.g. orbit around the Sun) and gravity of a planet or other astronomical object to alter the path and speed of a spacecraft, typically to save propellant and reduce expense.
  • Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek FRS (/???nt?ni v??n ?le?v?nhu?k, -h?k/ AHN-t?-nee vahn LAY-v?n-hook, -?huuk; Dutch: [?n?to?ni v?n ?le?u?(n)??uk] (24 October 1632 – 26 August 1723) was a Dutch businessman and scientist in the Golden Age of Dutch science and technology. A largely self-taught man in science, he is commonly known as "the Father of Microbiology", and one of the first microscopists and microbiologists. Van Leeuwenhoek is best known for his pioneering work in microscopy and for his contributions toward the establishment of microbiology as a scientific discipline.
  • The Crab Pulsar (PSR B0531+21) is a relatively young neutron star. The star is the central star in the Crab Nebula, a remnant of the supernova SN 1054, which was widely observed on Earth in the year 1054. Discovered in 1968, the pulsar was the first to be connected with a supernova remnant.
  • [19 July 2022] In the excitement, it’s easy to forget the Webb telescope has been the subject of controversy. It’s named after a NASA administrator who has been associated with the persecution of queer people in the “Lavender Scare” of the 1950s and ‘60s.
  • James Edwin Webb (October 7, 1906 – March 27, 1992) was an American government official who served as Undersecretary of State from 1949 to 1952. He was the second Administrator of NASA from February 14, 1961, to October 7, 1968. Webb led NASA from the beginning of the Kennedy administration through the end of the Johnson administration, thus overseeing each of the critical first manned missions throughout the Mercury and Gemini programs until days before the launch of the first Apollo mission. He also dealt with the Apollo 1 fire.
  • The "lavender scare" was a moral panic about homosexual people in the United States government which led to their mass dismissal from government service during the mid-20th century. It contributed to and paralleled the anti-communist campaign which is known as McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare. Gay men and lesbians were said to be national security risks and communist sympathizers, which led to the call to remove them from state employment. It was thought that gay people were more susceptible to being manipulated, which could pose a threat to the country.
  • The V-2 assembly plant at the Mittelwerk, near the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp, used slave labor, as did a number of other production sites. Von Braun was a member of the Nazi Party and an SS officer, yet was also arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 for careless remarks he made about the war and the rocket. His responsibility for the crimes connected to rocket production is controversial.
  • [2 August 2022] Space junk is falling to earth more often. From Chinese rockets breaking up over Malaysia to Space X debris crashing onto farms at Dalgety in New South Wales’ south. Scientists are warning that the problem is only going to get worse.
  • [10 July 2019] Fifty years ago this month people across the globe watched man take his first step on the moon. Forty years ago this week, people around the world waited for the US Skylab orbiting space station to return to Earth, wondering – is it going to land on me?
  • [4 August 2022] Astrophysicist expects more debris to be found in area ‘over the years’ from SpaceX capsule from rocket launched in 2020
  • [3 August 2022] As the space industry grows, it’s safe to say such incidents will only become more frequent – and they could pose a risk. But how much of a risk, exactly?
  • North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD /?n??ræd/), known until March 1981 as the North American Air Defense Command, is a combined organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and protection for Canada and the continental United States. Headquarters for NORAD and the NORAD/United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) center are located at Peterson Space Force Base in El Paso County, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The nearby Cheyenne Mountain Complex has the Alternate Command Center. The NORAD commander and deputy commander (CINCNORAD) are, respectively, a United States four-star general or equivalent and a Canadian Lieutenant-general or equivalent.
  • [2 Dec 2019] The Australian Space Agency has signed another Statement of Strategic Intent with EOS Space Systems, helping boost Australia’s capability of space debris and situational awareness management.  
  • [27 July 2021] Silentium Defence has secured a (AU) $7.4 million contract from the Department of Defence to supply its MAVERICK M-series passive radar system to the Australian Army for capability development and evaluation activities.
  • [9 December 2021] The ‘Oculus Observatory’ is a new kind of space observatory, designed, built, and managed by Silentium Defence, which delivers the widest field of view, and the most cost-effective monitoring of objects in orbit, anywhere in the world.
  • [21 April 2021] As the European Conference on Space Debris kicks off this week, a team of optics researchers based in Australia with colleagues in the US and Japan have created an artificial star in the effort to remove junk from our orbit... with lasers!
  • [3 September 1998] Australian insurance giant GIO will establish a separate subsidiary, GIO Space Limited, to capitalise on its growing space insurance business the company announced in Sydney today. Last fiscal year GIO's space division wrote more than $150 million in premiums and achieved pre-tax earnings of more than $20 million.
  • The song "Wernher von Braun", written well before 1964 -- and years before the landing on the Moon itself -- was recorded to Ampex video in Oslo, Norway, in 1967.
  • Our Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang, has been in operation for over 60 years. Thanks to regular upgrades, it continues to be at the forefront of discovery.
  • The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States that is maintained by talks between member countries. The dialogue was initiated in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the support of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
  • The Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) is an over-the-horizon radar (OHR) network that can monitor air and sea movements across 37,000 square kilometres (14,000 sq mi). It has a normal operating range of 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) to 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi). It is used in the defence of Australia, and can also monitor maritime operations, wave heights and wind directions.
  • The Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) was a passive sonar system developed by the United States Navy to track Soviet submarines. The system's true nature was classified with the name and acronym SOSUS themselves classified. The unclassified name Project Caesar was used to cover the installation of the system and a cover story developed regarding the shore stations, identified only as a Naval Facility (NAVFAC), being for oceanographic research. In 1985, as the fixed bottom arrays were supplemented by the mobile Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) and other new systems were coming on line, the name itself changed to Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS). The commands and personnel were covered by the "oceanographic" term until 1991 when the mission was declassified. As a result, the commands, Oceanographic System Atlantic and Oceanographic System Pacific became Undersea Surveillance Atlantic and Undersea Surveillance Pacific, and personnel were able to wear insignia reflecting the mission.
  • [28 January 1998] A treasure-trove of formerly classified data on the thickness of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, gathered by U.S. Navy submarines over several decades, is now being opened. Data from the first of approximately 20 cruise tracks -- an April, 1992 trans-Arctic Ocean track -- has just been released, and information from the rest of these tracks, or maps of a submarine's route, will be analyzed and released over the next year-and-a-half.
  • [8 January 2021] Some of the earliest satellite photography has been declassified, and is proving a boon to all different kinds of research.
  • [29 July 2009] Declassified by the Obama administration, satellite photos show polar ice sheets retreating.
  • [13 July 2018] A collection of declassified military intelligence photographs from the CORONA, ARGON, and LANYARD satellite systems in digital format. (1960 to 1972).
  • This Falcon using wind and thermals to stationary hover while barely using its wings.
  • Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: m?t Aššur; Classical Syriac: ????, romanized: ??thor) was a major ancient Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC and then as a territorial state and eventually an empire from the 14th century BC to the 7th century BC.
  • The Rainbow Lorikeet is unmistakable with its bright red beak and colourful plumage. Both sexes look alike, with a blue (mauve) head and belly, green wings, tail and back, and an orange/yellow breast. They are often seen in loud and fast-moving flocks, or in communal roosts at dusk.
  • This dark part of DNA called as a dark DNA in an extra dimension. These dark DNAs not only exchange information with DNAs but also are connected with some of the molecules of water and helps them to store information and have memory. Thus, the earth is the biggest system of telecommunication which connects DNAs, dark DNAs and molecules of water.
  • The Gaia hypothesis (/??a?.?/), also known as the Gaia theory, Gaia paradigm, or the Gaia principle, proposes that living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic and self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet.
  • James Lovelock, the maverick scientist and inventor, died surrounded by his family on July 27 2022 – his 103rd birthday. Jim led an extraordinary life. He is best known for his Gaia hypothesis, developed with the brilliant US biologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, which transformed the way we think of life on Earth.
  • [26 October 2020] From black holes at the Earth's center to decapitated quails, a group of scientists—some working for a journal from a major publisher—are prolifically publishing pseudoscience.
  • Namaste. Do you want to sell a New Age product and/or service? Tired of coming up with meaningless copy for your starry-eyed customers? Want to join the ranks of bestselling self-help authors? We can help.
  • Abraham "Avi" Loeb (Hebrew: ????? (???) ????; born February 26, 1962) is an Israeli-American theoretical physicist who works on astrophysics and cosmology. Loeb is the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University. He had been the longest serving chair of Harvard's Department of Astronomy (2011–2020), founding director of Harvard's Black Hole Initiative (since 2016) and director of the Institute for Theory and Computation (since 2007) within the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
  • [1 February 2021] In conversation, the Harvard University professor explains his shocking hypothesis—and calls out what he sees as a crisis in science.
  • Avi Loeb, 60, is convinced humankind will encounter extraterrestrials in his lifetime. But he says scientific progress is being held back by the belief that we’re the ‘smartest kids on the cosmic block’.
  • [4 August 2022] Simulations by an international team of scientists show that bright reflectance signals from Mars’ South Pole couldn’t be from layered dry ice and water ice.
  • 7 March 2013] "After putting aside all possible elements of contamination, DNA was found that did not coincide with any of the well-known types in the global database," said Sergei Bulat, of the genetics laboratory at the St Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics.
  • Panspermia (from Ancient Greek ??? (pan)  'all ', and ?????? (sperma)  'seed') is the hypothesis, first proposed in the 5th century BC by the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space dust, meteoroids, asteroids, comets, and planetoids, as well as by spacecraft carrying unintended contamination by microorganisms.
  • [26 June 2020] Scientists have called the extremophile bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans “a robust generalist” capable of persevering amid prolonged exposure to everything from toxic chemicals and corrosive acids to desiccating desert heat and subzero temperatures. Colonies of the bacteria have been found occupying the coolant water tanks of nuclear reactors and thriving on the weathered granite of Antarctica’s dry valleys. They have faced exposure to solar radiation and the vacuum of space onboard a European Space Agency satellite and have survived punishing simulations of life on Mars at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne.
  • [27 July 2022] Women play a huge role in the Australian space sector, and each week will be sharing the story of an inspiring woman who makes our community so special.
  • [6 August 2022] Today marks the 55th anniversary of the discovery of pulsars, made by Dame Prof. Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Since then, we’ve learned so much about these intriguing objects, whilst they’ve taught us so much about the Galaxy too. Rami Mandow takes a look at some of the exciting pulsar astronomy from Australian scientists that we’ve covered over the last few years.
  • Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRSE FRAS FInstP (/b??r?n?l/; born 15 July 1943) is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who, as a postgraduate student, discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. The discovery eventually earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974; however, she was not one of the prize's recipients.
  • [5 May 2015] The source of strange radio signals that have left astronomers at Australia's most famous radio telescope scratching their heads for 17 years has finally been discovered. It turns out that it was a microwave oven.
  • The average surface pressure is only about 610 pascals (0.088 psi) which is less than 1% of the Earth's value.
  • [5 August 2022] A senior French scientist has apologised after tweeting a picture which he said was from the James Webb Space Telescope — but which was not quite what it seemed.
  • [19 July 2022] Many hv asked whether @NASAWebb / @ESA_Webb can see the Voyagers. In short, NO. Two problems: we r small (3.66m), & we r cold (somewhere btw -270 & -80C). For Webb's instruments, you would need at least a 4,000 km wide mirror to see us, IF we were warm. We're _that_ far away.
  • [31 July 2022] Probably won't bother going to New York now FFS

If the links aren’t showing up, try here.

Thank you, Media Freedom Citizenry

The 9pm Spring Series 2022: Click for details and to pledge your support

The 9pm Edict is supported by the generosity of its listeners. Please check out The 9pm Spring Series 2022 crowdfunding campaign to see how you can pledge your support in return for a variety of benefits, including TRIGGER WORDS, a CONVERSATION TOPIC, or even a custom-made audio or video message.

If you miss that deadline, you can always subscribe for special benefits or throw a few coins into the tip jar. Please consider.

This episode it’s thanks to Jono Ferguson, whose Edict 03 Cheeky Red Annual subscription renewed this week.

And of course it’s thanks to all the generous people who contributed to The 9pm Winter Series 2022 crowdfunding campaign.

CONVERSATION TOPIC: Gay Rainbow Anarchist.

THREE TRIGGER WORDS: Craig Crompton, Crispin Harris, John Lindsay, Jonathan Ferguson, Peter Sandilands, Peter Viertel, Sheepie, Travis Smith, and one person who chooses to remain anonymous.

ONE TRIGGER WORD: Andrew Best, Bruce Hardie, Chris Rauchle, Dave Gaukroger, Frank Filippone, Gavin C, Joanna Forbes, Joop de Wit, Mark Newton, Matthew Moyle-Croft, Michael Cowley, Miriam Mulcahy, Nicole Coombe, Oliver Townshend, Paris Lord, Paul Williams, Peter Blakeley, Peter McCrudden, Peter Wickins, Ric Hayman, Rohan Tayler, Scott Reeves, Stacy Smith, Stephen Collins, Syl Mobile, and four people who choose to remain anonymous.

FOOT SOLDIERS FOR MEDIA FREEDOM who gave a SLIGHTLY LESS BASIC TIP: Andrew Duval, Andrew Kennedy, Benjamin Morgan, Bob Ogden, David Heath, Garry McKenzie, Garth Kidd, Garth Kidd (again), Garth Kidd (yet again, yes, for the third time), Iain Triffitt, Jamie Morrison, Jason Anderson, Jordan Wightman, Kimberley Heitman, Matt Arkell, Michael Strasser, Paul McGarry, Regina Huntington, Shane O’Neill, Tim Bell, Tony Barnes, and four people who choose to remain anonymous.

MEDIA FREEDOM CITIZENS who contributed a BASIC TIP: Brenton Realph, Elissa Harris, Mel, Raena, Ron Lowry, and one person who chooses to remain anonymous.

And another seven people chose to have no reward, even though some of them were the most generous of all. Thank you all so much.

Series Credits