Planetary Radio • Mar 14, 2018

Amateur Astronomers Work To Save Earth From Asteroids!

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On This Episode

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Mat Kaplan

Senior Communications Adviser and former Host of Planetary Radio for The Planetary Society

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Kate Howells

Public Education Specialist for The Planetary Society

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Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society

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Julian Oey

Astronomer for JBL and Blue Mountain Observatories in Australia

Seven astronomers have been selected to receive Shoemaker NEO (Near Earth Object) grants from the Planetary Society. They and their observatories span the planet. We’ll meet an American and an Australian. Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts provides an overview of the grant program and later returns for this week’s edition of What’s Up. The Planetary Society’s Kate Howells reports on the outlook for space funding in Canada’s newly-released federal budget. She and Society CEO Bill Nye also met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Vladimir Benishek
Vladimir Benishek Vladimir Benishek, at Sopot Astronomical Observatory south of Belgrade in Serbia.Image: Vladimir Benishek
Michel Ory
Michel Ory Michel Ory at the Morocco Oukaïmeden Sky Survey (MOSS) in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.Image: Michel Ory
Donald Pray at Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory in Massachusetts, USA
Donald Pray at Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory in Massachusetts, USA 2015 Shoemaker NEO Grant winner Donald Pray at the Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory, South Deerfield, Massachusetts, USA.Image: Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory
Blue Mountains Observatory in New South Wales, Australia
Blue Mountains Observatory in New South Wales, Australia 2015 Shoemaker NEO Grant winner Julian Oey and the 0.64 meter telescope at the Blue Mountains Observatory that will be improved through the grant with a new CCD camera.Image: Blue Mountains Observatory

This week's question:

Of the 88 modern constellations, which is the smallest in area? (By solid angle that they subtend in the sky.)

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, March 21st at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

How many missions in NASA’s Mercury program carried humans into space?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What is the second brightest star in the night sky as seen from either hemisphere?


The second brightest star in the night sky from either hemisphere is Canopus. (By Apparent Magnitude).

Little Miss Sunshine Pageant
Little Miss Sunshine Pageant Image: Planetary Radio Listener Daniel Cazard