Broadcast 1286 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Dr. J.B. Zirker. Topics: Magnetic fields, solar magnetism, astrophysics, astronomy, telescopes. We welcomed Dr. J.B. Zirker to the program today to discuss his new book, "The Magnetic Universe: The Elusive Traces of an Invisible Force." The book is now on the One Giant Leap Foundation book website and if you buy it here, Amazon makes an important contribution to The Space Show. Here is the direct purchase URL: In our first of four segments, Dr. Zirker provided us with an overview of his book ranging from the Earth out to the Galaxies. Dr. Zirker introduced us to the magnetosphere and magnetic fields. We discussed this science from the sun to Jupiter and beyond. Toward the end of this important segment, I asked our guest if it were possible to know 100% of all the science in the world, where were we on the scale of how much science we now know. As you will hear, less than 1%! We started the second segment with a discussion on sunspots, the Little Ice Age, and the possible impact of sunspot cycles on Earth's climate changes. This is a very interesting discussion and it might surprise you as to what our guest said. Later in the segment, we talked about sunquakes and Dr. Zirker's book on the subject, "Sunquakes: Probing the Interior of the Sun." In this discussion, our guest explained the science of sunquakes and what it means to us on Earth. Dr. Zirker was also asked about the most frequent questions he receives when talking to various student groups of different grades and ages. Later in this segment, I asked about potential commercial models for this research or does it all have to be government funded. Listen to what he had to say about the developing field of prediction services. Segment three started off addressing more student questions, Mercury and the Messenger mission, and the accuracy of extrapolating from planetary studies back to Earth. We also talked about the flipping of the Earth's magnetic fields and the movie 2012. Total solar eclipses were mentioned and our guest went into some detail with his discussion of the sun's corona, solar temperatures, and the physical processes that drive these solar properties. Listeners asked about the Martian magnetic field and if it could be recreated and if so, how. The solar thermal and convection physics were explained and we fielded several questions about this science. In the fourth and last segment, we talked about telescopes, adaptive optics and mirror technology and size. We learned that the new large mirror adaptive optic telescopes like those in Hawaii are competitive with the HST. Dr. Zirker explained the interferometer to us and we talked about the economics of building large mirror Earth based telescopes as compared to launch space telescopes. As you will hear, the infrared telescopes need to be in space as we cannot see in that realm from Earth. That said, Dr. Zirker did say that with the new telescopes coming on line and being built, we would be able to explore the surface of other planets in HD right here from Earth. Toward the end of this segment, we talked about the political priority for space studies, astrophysics, science, astronomy, etc. This is an important discussion so listen to it. Our guest also left us with an excellent closing comment. Don't miss it. All of Dr. Zirker's books will soon be available at If you have questions or comments for Dr. J. B. Zirker, please send it to me and I will forward your note to him.



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07 Jan 2010 Dr. Jack B. Zirker
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