Interview with Dr. Ann Virkki of Arecibo Observatory - Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion Video and Podcast April 28, 2020


Hello everyone:

This week on Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we welcome a very special video guest as Dr. Ann Virkki, head of planetary radar studies for Arecibo Observatory, joins us on the show. She is an astronomer who recently made the news with her discovery of an unusual “face mask” on the asteroid 1998 OR2. Join us as we talk about asteroids, and the dangers our planet faces from near-Earth Objects.

In this week's episode of Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we also learn about the unfortunate fate of Comet Atlas, which recently shattered as it approached the Sun, quashing dreams of what could have been a magnificent celestial spectacle. Next, we will learn how temperatures seen on worlds orbiting alien stars are, often, lower than theories predict, and we will discuss a new model that could, potentially, explain these strange findings. We also take a look at how a new range of instruments, both on Earth and in space, could help us search for life around white dwarfs – the corpses of dead stars that were once the size of the Sun.

Watch the video version of this episode:

On May 19, we will talk with Thea Kozakis, a graduate student at the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University. Ms. Kozakis is a pioneering researcher on how to study the atmospheres of worlds around other stars, looking for signs of life.

If you enjoyed this episode of The Cosmic Companion, please download and share the episode on YouTube or any major podcast provider. For more details on space and astronomy news, please visit or

Thanks for watching, listening, and sharing!

- James

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