SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 75
*A possible link between the Sun’s solar cycle and La Nina weather patterns
A new study shows a correlation between the end of the Sun’s 11 year solar cycle and a switch from El Nino to La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean.
*Betelgeuse’s great dimming
A new study has confirmed that the mysterious sudden dimming of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse in late 2019 and early 2020 was caused by a dusty veil shading the star, which in turn was the result of a drop in surface temperature.
*Starliner’s next test flight slated for July
Boeing will make a second attempt to undertake an unmanned test flight of its new Starliner spacecraft next month.
*America’s new spy satellite
The U.S. Space Force has successfully launched a new spy satellite.
*The Science Report
No evidence supporting claims that vaccines could alter a person’s DNA.
Vitamin D deficiency may impair muscle function.
Coelacanths may live five times longer than previously thought.
Determining the origins of the Anglo Saxons.
Skeptic's guide to herbal weight-loss aids.
For more SpaceTime and show links: https://linktr.ee/biteszHQ
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 75 AI Transcript
[00:00:00] Stuart: [00:00:00] This is spacetime series 24, episode 75 for broadcast on the 2nd of July, 2021. Coming up on space time, a possible link between the sun solar cycle and LA Nina weather patterns. Bethel GIRs has great dimming and Starline his next flight test. Sled it for this matter. Oh that a mole coming up on space time.
Welcome to space time with steward, Gary.
And you study shows a correlation between the end of the son's 11 years solar cycle, and a switch from El Nino to LA Nina conditions in the Pacific ocean. The findings reported in the journal earth and space science suggests that solar [00:01:00] variability can drive seasonal weather variability on earth. If the connection holds up, it could significantly improve the predictability of the largest El Nino and LA Nina events, which have a number of serious seasonal climatic effects over land.
For example, Eastern Australia becomes drier and more drought prone during an El Nino event while it becomes a wetter during learning. Yeah. And the Southern United States tends to be drier and warmer during Lanea or the Northern U S tends to be colder and wet. The 11 year solar cycle involves a regular polarity flip of the sun's magnetic field.
It's solar minimum. The magnetic north pole becomes magnetic south and the magnetic south pole becomes magnetic north. This coincides with a slow but steady increase in sunspot activity, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections on the solar surface climaxing around solar maximum about five and a half years after solar minimum.
The violent upheaval, then gradually dissipates as the sun moves [00:02:00] back into solar minimum and the start of the next solar cycle, the appearance and disappearance of sound spots. The outwardly visible signs of solar variability have been observed by humans for hundreds of years. The waxing and waning of the number of sunspots takes place over approximately 11 year cycles.
The cycles don't have distinct beginnings and endings. And it's this fuzziness in the length of any particular solar cycle, that's made it challenging for scientists to match up the 11 year solar cycle with changes happening on earth. In this new study, researchers rely on what they describe as a more precise 22 year clock of solar activity.
The 22 year cycle begins when oppositely charged magnetic bands that wrap around the sun appear near the sun's polar latitudes. Over the cycle. These bands migrate towards the equator causing sun spots to appear as they travel across the mid-latitudes. The cycle ends. When the bands meet in the middle mutually annihilating one another in what the [00:03:00] authors call a Terminator event.
And these Terminator events provide precise guiding posts for the end of one cycle. And the beginning of the next researchers then impose these Terminator events over sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific dating back to the 1960s. They found that the five Terminator events that have occurred between that time and 20 10, 20 11, all coincided with a flip from an El Nino when central Eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures are warmer than average to a LA Nina.
When central Eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures are cooler than average. The end of the most recent solar cycle, which is unfolding now also coincided with the beginning of a linear event. The authors undertook a numbers that just tickle analyses to determine the likelihood of this correlation being just a fluke, they found there was only a one in 5,000 chance or less that all five Terminator events included in the study would randomly coincide with a flip in ocean temperatures.
Now [00:04:00] that a sixth Terminator event and the corresponding start of a new solar cycle has also coincided with a LA Nina event. The chance of a random occurrence is even more remote. Well, the authors have yet to determine what causes this apparent correlation. They're looking at the influence of the sun's magnetic field on the amount of cosmic rays that penetrate the inner solar system and ultimately bombard the earth.
However, a robust physical link between cosmic Ray variations in climate as yet to be determined this space. Still the come Betelgeuse is great. Dimming and style line is next test flight slated for this month. All that a mall coming up on space time.
A new study has confirmed that the mysterious sudden Deming [00:05:00] of the red super giant star burgers in late 2019 and early 2020 was caused by a dusty veil shading, the star, which in turn was the result of a drop in stellar surface temperature. The authors found that sometime before the great dimming, the star had injected a large gas bar.
And then when a patch of the surface cool-down shortly afterwards, that temperature decrease was enough to cause the gas bubble to condense into solid grains of dust. The new findings reported in the journal nature follow on from earliest studies, which have reached similar conclusions. The brightest star in the constellation Orion Betelgeuse is a semi-regular variable red super giant, which represents the Scorpion's tail on a Ryan shoulder.
Located somewhere between 530 and 643 light years away. Betelgeuse is the ninth, brightest star in the night sky. And one of the largest, the most luminous stars visible with the unaided I commonly called Beetlejuice. These days, it's named before [00:06:00] centuries of tortured. Mispronunciations started out as Italian Rosa, meaning the hand of the big man, a big man being a Ryan, the hunter.
Battle goes began its life some 10 million years ago as a spectra type, a B BlueStar calculations of Betelgeuse is mass range from slightly under 10 to a little over 20 times that of the sun with some 100,000 times the sun's brightness and around 1,100 times its diameter. Betelgeuse is so big that we're placed where the sun is at the center of our solar system.
Its surface would extend out almost as far as Jupiter engulfing, the orbits of all the inner planets, mercury Venus earth and Mars, as well as the main asteroid belt. These days, it's a bloated old star expected to explode as a core collapse or type two soup. And over any day now, which in astronomical terms could mean a million years from now, or it could mean tomorrow.
When it does finally explode bill goes we'll temporarily art shine, all the other stars in the galaxy. [00:07:00] And it should be clearly visible from here on earth, in the middle of the day, the last star to go shipping over by humans. And our galaxy was Tyco star. That was back in 1572. That was before the invention of the telescope.
When Betelgeuse suddenly became visibly darker in late 20, 19 and early 2020, it had the astronomical community. It had suddenly in a very short space of time gone from being the ninth, brightest star in the night sky to being the 20th brightest. In fact, battle goes as dip in brightness was noticeable even with the unaided eye and that led astronomer magwell montargis and colleagues to point the European Southern observatory is very large telescope or veal T in Chile towards it.
Their observations revealed that the star was being partially concealed by a cloud of dust at discovery, which solves the mystery of the great. An image from December, 2019 when compared to an earlier image taken in January of the same year, showed that the stellar surface was [00:08:00] significantly darker, especially in the star Southern region, but astronomers weren't sure why the team continued observing the star during its great dimming event.
Capturing two other never before seen images in January, 2020 and March, 2020. And by April, 2020, the star had returned to its normal brightness. It was a rare occasion when astronomers were able to see the appearance of iStar changing in real time, on a scale of weeks, battle goes a surface, regularly changes as giant bubbles of gas move, shrink and swell within the star.
The new research confirms that bell goes as great dimming was not an early sign that the star was heading towards a dramatic and eminent supernova to mind. To find out more. And you're directly speaking with astronomer professor, Fred Watson, the mystery of the dipping of the brightness of beetle juice or beetle Gies
Andrew: [00:08:53] or old geezer or whatever, whatever you want to call this particular star.
They think they know what's happening here. [00:09:00] Indeed. They do. And they, in this case is the European Southern observatory whose telescopes are in Northern Chile. Particular, these are the telescopes of the four unit telescopes of the what's called the VLT, the very large telescope, even though it's four. And in fact, it was joined by four more for this as well to link up, to make a kind of array of telescopes.
Yeah. So the great Deming is sometimes called. Beetle juice or beetles years, or however you want to pronounce it. Uh, which is the, the bright star on the shoulder of Orion. And it's a red star. It's a red, super giant staff. It dimmed late in 2019, and during early 2020. And normally when we observe stars, all we see.
Point of light. Now, beetle juice is one of the few stars that you can actually resolve into a disc with very large telescopes. It's a super giant, so it's big. And it's all also only about 500 light years away. And that's a long way, but still near enough that you can actually resolve it's disc, but you need [00:10:00] specialist equipment, and you need facilities like an instrument called sphere on the very large telescope.
And there's also. Something called V LTI, which is the, I think called an interferometer, which makes the telescope a little bit like a radio array where you spread the dishes over an area and you mimic a much larger telescope and that's how they can operate the VLT. Uh, we now have this series of observations that have been released by, uh, scientists using the VLT.
I think the lead part of this research has come from , uh, the Paris observatory and also one of the institutions in Belgium. So it's a European public cation, but it uses a facility that Australian astronomers have access to. Courtesy of the strategic partnership that we have. So what's happened. Well, we've seen the release of a series of images of beetle juice taken over that period when it was dimming and growing brighter.
And they show quite clearly that what we're seeing [00:11:00] is dust around the star dust. Has produced a dropping temperature on parts of the surface of beetle juice and given us this darkening, and that shows up very clearly in these images, what they do in some ways they're reassuring, because one of the possibilities for the dimming of beetle juice was that it was about.
Turn into a supernova. We, we know that one day, this star will turn into a supernova is a candidate for it. But you know, we're talking about over the next 10,000 to a hundred thousand years, and we've never seen what happens to a star in the immediately before it explodes as a supernova. And one of the.
Theoretical work that's been done on it suggest that it would dim to start with. So that's one of the thoughts that maybe we're about to see this stuff become the brightest object in the sky, perhaps even brighter than the full moon. It would be certainly visible during the day, but it looks as though that's not the case, that what we're seeing is actually [00:12:00] dust.
Yeah. I find it's
Stuart: [00:12:01] funny when you alerted me to the story and I, and I went to the website, first thing this morning, I read the headline mystery of beetle juices. In brightness solved. And I went, uh, bet it's dust and that's before I started reading and stuff. But
Andrew: [00:12:16] as I
read through it, I, uh, I also read that,
Stuart: [00:12:25] um, it may have ejected like a giant gas bubble. And th th that is part
Andrew: [00:12:33] of the reason this has happened. Yes. Yeah. I mean this, you know, the star is big enough to incorporate, I think the, the orbit of Mars we'll be inside it. If it's where the sun was. Maybe not quite as much as that, it's a, it's a giant star, right.
And it's outer regions are, they're barely hanging on if I can put it that way. And it's cool enough that it makes X dust. Basically this is the carbon and the Silicon things. They actually solidify [00:13:00] because it's cool enough to do it for that to happen. So you get clouds of. But also, as you say, bubbles of gas, which are part of the normal process of a Star's life, the sun does that.
This is a zone beneath it, visible surface, which we call the convection zone. And this way of bubbles of gas are rising to the surface, but it's much more energetic and much more active in a star like the sun with a surface temperature of about 5,500 degrees. Beetle juice is much cooler and the energy levels are much lower.
So you just got these giant bubbles. The like cool teenagers wandering through a city center and what's happening, dude. They just wonder, wonder through the, through the atmosphere of this star and don't do very much, but they do shrink and swell. And so it suggests exactly as you've said that at some point.
There was a gas bubble that actually was ejected by the star. And when that bubble of gas gets finer from the star surface, it cools down enough. As I said, a minute ago, that you can actually get solid dust condensing from the gas. And that's what, what [00:14:00] seems to have happened. There's a nice quote from one of the authors we've directly witnessed the formation of so-called Stardust, the dust expelled from cool evolved stars, such as the ejection we've just witnessed, could go on to become the building blocks of terrestrial planets.
Is a very nice quote. Wow, that's true. And that ended up just start to
Stuart: [00:14:18] establish life. And
Andrew: [00:14:20] then the thing all goes to them. That's right. But that then, uh, it enriches the medium more with, with other heavier elements when you've got a supernova forming, that's where our gold came from. Now. You said it's
Stuart: [00:14:30] 500 light years away.
Andrew: [00:14:31] So. I guess
Stuart: [00:14:33] theoretically possible that it, um, might've gone stupid over 499 years ago. And in a year's time we will see something
Andrew: [00:14:41] extreme. Yes, that's right. It's always possible. And, um, yeah, that will be, that will be big news beetle. Just turning into supernova is not thought to be a life-threatening event.
I mean, you, you know, that nearby supernovae radiate the region around them. Well, gamma rays and as well as [00:15:00] neutrinos and things of that sort, and that will all KFC boxes of see boxes, old V8 selling the blocks. Oh, the radiation that would come from beetle juice, turning into a supernova apparently is not enough to threaten our wellbeing here on earth, but it would still be nice to be on the other side of the plant when it happens.
Yeah. So I would hope so.
Stuart: [00:15:18] And it would be visible to the naked eye. Imagine this would be. So,
Andrew: [00:15:22] yes, it was very bright. If I remember rightly from things I've read before about maybe half the brightness of a full moon. So it would certainly be visible during the day,
Stuart: [00:15:32] Fred Watson and astronomer with the department of science speaking with Andrew Dunkley on our sister program space nuts.
And this is space time. Still the calm stolen his next test, white slated for the end of this month. And America launches a new spy, satellite, all that, and most thought to come on space time.
[00:16:00] Boeing will make a second attempt to undertake an unmanned test flight of its new style on a spacecraft. Later this month, the orbital test flight to he slated for July the 30th. Aboard an Atlas five rocket from space launch complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral space. A station in Florida. The launch has already been postponed several times.
The last announced flight date being in April. It follows any disastrous first test flight by style, either back in 2019, during which the spacecraft's mission clock triggered an oval insertion burn at the wrong time, preventing the Starliner from Rhonda viewing and docking with the international space station as intended then just before reentry mission managed discovered another crucial software error.
This one incorrectly interpreted the jettison thrust. The firing sequence needed to safely jettison the spacecraft service model. [00:17:00] Had it not been identified in time, the Starliner capture would have collided with him being destroyed by it service module. During the re-entry mission, managers were able to rectify the problem with the last minute and the capsule eventually landed safely in the white sands missile range in New Mexico.
After two days in Spain. A subsequent investigation by a joint NASA Boeing independent review team identified some 80 items needing immediate corrective actions by Boeing or dereliction by NASA and its oversight role. Boeing is now well behind competitive space X and its attempts to fly astronauts to the international space station.
And the nurses commercial crew program space X has already flown three crews to the opening hour per since May, 2020. NASA and Boeing have now completed all the actions recommended by the review team and have finally begun fueling the spacecraft in preparations for launch. If the second eman test flight is successful, Boeing intends to launch its first man crew to the [00:18:00] space station.
Before the end of the year, Boeing has built three Starliner spacecraft. One was used on the pad abort test, which returned to with only two of its three parachutes and was retired where the other two style line is destined for the commercial group program with age expected to be capable of being reused up to 10 times with a six month refurbishment period between each flight.
This is space time still the comma, the us space force has successfully launched a new spy satellite. And later in the science report, researchers say there's no evidence supporting claims on the internet that vaccines could alter a person's DNA, all that, and more coming up. On space time,
the us space forces successfully launched a new [00:19:00] spy settle. The tactically responsive, launched to payload was carried about a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket, which was dropped, launched at 40,000 feet over the Pacific ocean from the belly of stargazer a converted like L 10, 11 Tri-Star airliner, which had taken off earlier from the van Amburg air force base in California.
The integrated space domain awareness technology demonstration satellite was successfully placed into a low earth orbit by the Pegasus. It will be used to detect catalog and monitor man-made objects in space from orbiting space junk through to the satellites of potential adversaries. And it's, this is a military mission tack our old too, as it's being called primary payload, we'll likely observe other satellites.
Tactically responsive launch is a concept that 60 introduced speed agility and flexibility in order to respond to dynamic changes in the space domain or an [00:20:00] operational theater. It's designed to insert or replace assets on orbit much faster than standard timelines in order to meet emerging military needs space launch Delta 30 provided range support for the United States space forces, tactically responsive launch to mission on Sunday, June 13th from Vandenberg space for space.
The launch decision authority for this mission was Colonel Robert Long space launch Delta 30 commander space launch Delta 30 provided launch permission range. Area clearing and weather
Guest: [00:20:31] support for the launch operations support squadron typically provides a wide variety of support to any launch here at the Western range, uh, or whether officers provide on console support by evaluating weather conditions for the rocket launch, to make sure that, uh, the conditions are safe.
We also have Intel operators that are on console, uh, making sure that there's no threats to the launch process from any of our habits. And we also have our, our system maintenance, uh, flight is also on standby to make sure all the equipment, the weather sensors, [00:21:00] uh, are up and operational to support the mission for this specific Pegasus launch.
We also add in our F airfield support. So our airfield team will be here providing services and support to the L 10, 11 aircraft, as well as the air crew to make sure they get off the ground safely and then return safely after the mission is coming. Our weather flight is also then, uh, the challenge for them is to provide weather support at both the launch box area to make sure that whether it's safe for the Pegasus rocket to launch, but also providing that, that weather support at the airfield to make sure a safe departure and return for the aircraft and the route in between.
So looking at the weather from the airfield out to the launch box and making sure that they can do, was there anything that was actually particularly. So the aspects of the launch support that we do typically, a lot of that is very similar to what provide for this, uh, besides the challenge of some of the extra stuff that we do.
In addition, the
Guest: [00:22:00] for OSS support because this launch at a 21 day call up, uh, versus the typical month. Standby for a launch that we can plan for. Uh, the challenge with that was scheduling, right?
Making sure we had the personnel available to support the launch when we didn't really know when it was going to happen. Uh, otherwise a lot of our processes are about the same and we're always prepared to support anything in Western range that needs us to do, uh, let's gauge the, uh, morale and
Stuart: [00:22:25] feelings of the
Guest: [00:22:26] OSS
Stuart: [00:22:27] team members.
Andrew: [00:22:28] Sure.
Guest: [00:22:28] This is a, um,
Stuart: [00:22:30] this is something that's kind of. It's unique.
Guest: [00:22:34] It's a new capability
Stuart: [00:22:36] and the merchant case or space force for the air force. So, uh,
Guest: [00:22:41] how do people, definitely the members of the OSS are excited to be a part of this launch. Uh, I know for a Pegasus launches the first time in eight years, they've had a Pegasus launch from here on the Western range.
So that's exciting to do something we don't get to do. Very often.
Stuart: [00:22:54] The TAC RL two mission was executed by the small launch and targets division within the space and missile [00:23:00] system centers launched enterprise. And the payload was sent into orbit using Northrop Carmen's, Pegasus XL, rocket. This, this is a whole new program for us and they're operating on a much shorter timeline.
So, whereas the timeline would normally be, you know, years in development for a payload and months of planning to. Uh, a launch date set and lead up to that date and actually have a successful mission. The entire timeline for this
Guest: [00:23:26] program was much shorter. This specific mission for tech RL, you know, being part of a demonstration of a brand new capability and just really exciting to be a part of that.
As we start a new, uh, capability for the space force,
Stuart: [00:23:37] mind you fast for launching a satellite, it doesn't necessarily mean fast. In this case, a spacecraft that would normally have taken between two and five years to develop and build was built and ready for launch in a record time. But that record time was still 11 months and then integrating that payload onto the three-stage Pegasus rocket, and then mounting that rocket on the [00:24:00] aircraft and took another 21 days, which I guess just proves that when it comes to space, speed is relative.
This is space time,
and Tom Meditech, another brief look at some of the other stories making using science this week with a science report site to say there's no evidence supporting claims that Mr. And a COVID-19 vaccines such as those produced by a Pfizer, Madonna could alter a person's DNA. Professor Thomas priests later of the RNA biology group of the Australian national university says the way Emma RNA vaccines work makes it exceedingly unlikely that this could occur in patients.
However, he says, that's not to say that the vaccination of billions of people H harboring trillions of cells, which had turned each container, human genome number of such integration events can be predicted to be exactly zero. [00:25:00] But he says, even if such events did rarely occur, the chances of having a detrimental effect on an individual are extremely low.
The concerns follow that study in the proceedings of the national academy of sciences journal P and S which found that very occasionally patients scored positive for genetic material from SARS cov two virus long after they stopped being infectious and had recovered from COVID-19. Although SARS cov two is an RNA virus that replicates itself without integrating into the DNA of the host genome, the authors hypothesized that these persistent positive cases could be caused by rare events where cells integrated small fragments of viral RNA into their genome.
And experiment using cultured human cells that were more likely to permit such an inadvertent integration seemed to support that hypothesis. However, two subsequent studies have presented new evidence that the detection technology used could be to blame for the generation of hybrid human viral [00:26:00] sequences during the analysis, rather than events that occurred in the cell.
The world health organization says more than 8 million people have now been killed by the COVID-19 virus with over 4 million confirmed fatalities and over 180 million people infected since the deadly disease. First spread out of warhead China, a new study warns that vitamin D deficiency could impair muscle function due to a reduction in energy production in muscle.
The findings reported in the journal of endocrinology are based on studies, comparing diets, which either included or lacked vitamin D for three months. Researchers found deficiency in vitamin D resulted in impaired function of muscle mitochondria. That's the Cylus powerhouse, which generates energy.
This mitochondrial impairment may have implications for muscle function, performance and recovery. Your authors say, they now want to determine whether the reduction in mitochondrial function could be a cause of age-related loss of skeletal [00:27:00] muscle, mass, and function. Your researchers found that an ancient lineage of fish, Notre cats may live as long as the century, five times longer than scientists did previously thought long thought to be extinct that wasn't a one was discovered in an African fish market.
The lobe fin silicates cats are considered living fossils. Now report to the general Cara biology claims to a fan of Scilla camp. That's at least 84 years old. The authors also report that the Silicon lives its life extremely slowly, not reaching maturity until the age of about 55 and just stating their offspring for at least five years.
Earliest studies attempted to age Silicon by directly observing growth rings on the scales, which led to the nation that the fish didn't live for much longer than 20 years. But the new study, it looked at fast, smaller microscopic growth rings from a larger sample of animals. Suggesting that silicones are actually about five times older than what was previously thought.
[00:28:00] For years, people were told that Anglo-Saxons were a group, which invaded the British arts from Germany long after the Romans had left. And before the Vikings started to ponder and pilly. But for decades now, there's been debate between anthropologists as to the actual ethnic origin of the Anglo-Saxons.
Were they descendants of immigrants from central Europe where they indigenous to great Britain or were they a combination of both the try and finally resolve this issue? Scientists have been examining human skulls dating back to between 1,620 800 years ago from across England and Denmark comparing their anatomy.
Now report to the general plus one has found early Anglo-Saxons were between 25 and 33% local British ancestry increasing to between 50 and 70% in the middle ages. The authors say this conflicts with many historical texts and suggests an Anglo Saxon could be better to find by culture and language rather than genetics.
[00:29:00] And you study as founder, despite all the promises, those herbal weight-loss pills don't really work. Researchers from the university of Sydney have undertaken a review of complimentary medicines to try and find out just how effective weight loss supplements really are. They discovered an industry running largely unchecked with over a thousand different types of weight, loss supplements being sold across Australia.
Many of which had never been tested for efficacy. In fact, Tim minim from Australian skeptic says just 20% of new listings are checked annually. Treble weightless is obviously pretty rife there. A lot of sort of products out there that are designed to give you the easy fix to solve. I weight issue.
Everyone wants an easy fix. You know, the other one I had to go through exercise and diet. Just give me a pill. I know everyone would say it's easy. I can still sit at my desk and have my hamburgers and milkshakes and things. That'd be fantastic. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. And really, as you're saying, hunger suppressants, things that act like [00:30:00] spade and basically puts you off your hunger.
You can also say cigarettes do the same thing. People who have cigarettes don't have a great hunger. And as soon as they stop, they put on weight except that perhaps food as a substitute for cigarettes, but there's all sorts of things that you could suggest, but they're not reliable. They're not effective.
And there's a study by Sydney university who was looking at the effectiveness of these herbal treatments, et cetera. They reckon there was a world first and they found no evidence that these things will do any good for you. From Australian skeptics.
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