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Dr. Pal Brekke, Monday, 3-26-12 March 27, 2012

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Dr. Pal Brekke, Monday, 3-26-12


Guest: Dr. Pal Brekke.  Topics:  Solar physics, astronomy, and his new book, “Our Explosive Sun.”  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  We welcomed Dr. Peter Brekke to the program to discuss his new book, “Our Explosive Sun: A Visual Feast of our Source of Light and Life.”  The book is available on Amazon & if you use this link for your purchase, Amazon will donate to The Space Show/OGLF:  www.amazon.com/Our-Explosive-Sun-Visual-Source/dp/146140570X/ref=onegiantlea20.  Additional information you will hear discussed during this interview can be found at the following websites:  www.norway.org/News_and_events/Research–Technology/Pal-Brekke-at-the-Smithsonian-/www.solarmax.no/Aurora/Home.html; http://www.springer.com/astronomy/extraterrestrial+physics,+space+sciences/book/978-1-4614-0570-2. Dr. Brekke began our discussion with an overview of his new book, how he structured the book, & its appeal to readers of all ages.  We talked about how our knowledge of the sun has increased in recent years, especially since the SOHO satellite in 1995.  He told us that his book is arranged as a visual tour.  We also discussed the sun & cultural differences around the world. Listener Sandy wanted to know about solar storms, solar flares, & CMEs.  This led to a question about the relationship of the sun to climate change on Earth.  Don’t miss this part of our discussion.  Dr. Brekke introduced us to the subjects of auroras & space weather. As the segment ended, a listener asked about the physical location of solar satellites.  How close can they be to the sun? As you will hear, most of the solar satellites are orbiting Earth, but SOHO is the one that is the greatest distance from Earth, parked at 1% of the distance to the sun so it can observe the sun 24 hours day.

In the second segment, Dr. Brekke talked about the SWIFT Gamma-Ray Burst Mission. space solar power, & reflective mirrors in space to beam sunlight to the Earth.  I asked our guest several questions about the Norwegian Space Centre & the Norwegian space industry.  We learned that their industry makes many parts for satellites for NASA as well as ESA.  He said the space awareness of Norwegians is good as they know quite a bit about space.  Binary star systems, the Northern Lights, the southern hemisphere, Polar Lights, & the cause of the auroras were also mentioned.  Near the end of the program, I asked about the impact of NASA budget cuts & program cancellations on the Norwegian space industry.  As you will hear, what NASA & our Congress do does impact the Norwegian industry.  He also talked about the IRIS High Resolution Spectrometer being worked on by Lockheed in the Palo Alto area.  Before the program ended, I asked if the high launch costs impacted the Norwegian industry.  He said no because they make parts for satellites & missions & are not directly involved in the launch side of space.  We also talked about the rate at which solar knowledge was increasing, was there a role for the ISS in solar research, & the increasing role of Earth-based telescopes in solar observation.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on The Space Show blog URL above.  If you want to email our guest, please send it to me and I will forward it for you.



1. Alistair - April 2, 2012

Good show, very informative. Dr. Brekke’s book sounds like an interesting read.

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