Thirty non-technical talks on the latest ideas and discoveries in astronomy are now available as audio and video podcasts free of charge through the web and ITunes – http://www.astrosociety.org/education/podcast/.
* Frank Drake, who began the experimental search for intelligent life among the stars,
* Mike Brown, who discovered most of the dwarf planets beyond Pluto (and whose humorous talk is entitled “How I Killed Pluto and Why it Had it Coming”),
* Natalie Batalha, project scientists on the Kepler Mission to find Earths around other stars, and
* Alex Filippenko (national professor of the year) on finding black holes.
Recent topics added to the offerings include: multiple universes, Saturn’s moon Titan (with an atmosphere, rivers, and lakes), our explosive Sun, and whether we should expect doomsday in 2012.
The talks are part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures, jointly sponsored by NASA’s Ames Research Center, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the SETI Institute, and Foothill College. The four organizations have offered six free public lectures per year for the last 12 years, with the audience ranging from 400 to 900 people. Recent talks have been recorded and made available free of charge as a public service thanks to an anonymous donor.