Astronomy Cast

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Astronomy Cast
AstroCast iTunes.jpg
Astronomy Cast Logo
Presentation
Hosting Fraser Cain
Pamela Gay
Genre Astronomy
Language English
Length Approximately 30 minutes
Production
Audio format MP3
Publication
Debut September 10, 2006; 8 years ago (2006-09-10)
Website Official Astronomy Cast site

Astronomy Cast is an educational nonprofit podcast discussing various topics in the field of astronomy. The specific subject matter of each episode shifts from week to week, ranging from planets and stars to cosmology and mythbusting. The show is co-hosted by the editor of the space and astronomy news site Universe Today Fraser Cain and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville astronomy professor Dr. Pamela L. Gay and premiered on September 10, 2006. Each show usually has a length of approximately 30 minutes and all shows, past and present, are accessible for download through the Astronomy Cast archive.

The Astronomy Cast official website also hosts the blog Astronomy Cast LIVE, which covers select astronomy meetings using various bloggers, including Fraser Cain, Dr. Pamela L. Gay, and Phil Plait as well as recent astronomy-related news and events. A public forum, the Astronomy Cast Forum, where registered members and site visitors may share and exchange valuable information can also be found on the website and is created under Bad Astronomer and Universe Today Forum.

This podcast has been continuously featured by iTunes in the Science & Medicine section for its high popularity as well as its excellent listener rating of 5 out of 5 possible stars and is currently ranked #6 [1] in the Natural Sciences podcasts category. The renown of this series has grown rapidly in the past few months and the total number of its listeners stands around 30,000.

Mission[edit]

Astronomy Cast takes a fact based journey through the cosmos as it offers listeners weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology. Hosted by Fraser Cain (Universe Today) and Dr. Pamela L. Gay (SIUE), this show brings the questions of an avid astronomy lover direct to an astronomer. Together Fraser and Pamela explore what is known and being discovered about the universe around us. [2]

Format[edit]

Labeled as "a fact-based journey through the cosmos" that aims to help the listeners understand "not only what we know, but how we know what we know", the show offers a large amount of information in the form of a mutual conversation between the two co-hosts, with more resources and show notes available on the show's website [1] to aid the listeners in their attempt to understand the material covered. Several "enhanced" podcast episodes accompanied by pictures have also been released, but this experiment was terminated due to the large file size associated with the pictures and small number of downloads compared to the regular format. (These are still available for download.)

There are also episodes in which listeners' questions are answered. Initially the question shows were produced irregularly (ten shows as of September 2008), but as the number of questions received increased a question show will be released weekly when possible. The hosts have also experimented with student questions shows where they have sent recording equipment to schools who have requested it. The students have then recorded questions to ask the hosts, which are then answered and edited into a special show available separately on the Astronomy Cast website. As of June 2008 two shows have been done in this format, and this ongoing project has been sponsored by NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope.

Astronomy Cast has covered a wide variety of topics ranging from the planets in our solar system to the end of the universe, from the big bang to black holes. All previous episodes can be downloaded from the Astronomy Cast website archive [2] in MP3 format or through major pod-catching software such as Apple Inc.'s iTunes for iPods and other portable media players.

Audience[edit]

The listeners of Astronomy Cast vary widely in demographics, but the vast majority is between the ages of 18 and 53 according to a conducted survey. It is believed that the lack of young listeners is caused by the fact that Astronomy Cast may prove slightly too advanced for a younger audience and that the shortage of older listeners is due to the generation's relative infamiliarity with technology and portable devices. [3] Moreover, although Astronomy Cast is aimed at both the male and female audiences, only about 9% of the listeners are female. [3]

Milestones[edit]

On August 4, 2008 the 100th Astronomy Cast podcast was produced.

Astronomy Cast was nominated for the Technology/Science section of the 2008 People's Choice Podcast Awards [4]

International Year Of Astronomy[edit]

In 2009 Astronomy Cast supported the 365 Days Of Astronomy podcast.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ iTunes Store - Natural Sciences Podcasts Category - Top Podcasts (Opens in iTunes If Available)
  2. ^ Astronomy Cast - About Us
  3. ^ a b Astronomy Cast: Evaluation of a podcast audience's content needs and listening habits
  4. ^ People's Choice Podcast Awards, retrieved 2008-10-20 

External links[edit]