Episode 131: Heavy Metal Explosion: The Rockstars of the Supernova World, with Matt Nicholl

For more info on the podcast, please see our About page.

Feature Guest: Matt Nicholl

If you thought a supernova was powerful, time to meet its bigger brother, the superluminous supernova. They’ve been described as the rockstars of the supernova world and if one were to go off in our galaxy it would outshine the full moon. Yes, you heard that right. Now until recently we thought such stupendous events were confined to fantastically distant dwarf galaxies, far off and unusual parts of our universe. But now a remarkable new discovery has changed everything, bringing superluminous supernovae much much closer to home.

On today’s episode we’re joined here at The Star Spot by Matt Nicholl whose team was responsible for discovering and characterizing the newest member of this extraordinary family, SN 2017egm


The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

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Current in Space

Tony reminds us that if you’re listening to this on the night of our broadcast, Sunday, August 20th, then you still have the chance to prepare yourself for the 2017 solar eclipse. Tomorrow all of North America will be treated to this remarkable spectacle as the moon completely or partially covers the sun. In order to find out when the eclipse will visit you go to https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/. And remember never look directly at the sun except during the moment of totality. Tell us about your experience by emailing info@thestarspot.ca.

About Our Guest

Matt Nicholl is an astronomer and postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He received his PhD from Queen’s University Belfast.  His interest in the dynamic sky are particularly focused on supernovae. He can be found on instagram and twitter @mattnicholl56


‘Star’ man Matt spies closest ‘super’ supernova to Derry ever recorded! (Derry Journal)

The superluminous supernova SN 2017egm in the nearby galaxy NGC 3191: a metal-rich environment can support a typical SLSN evolution (Scholarly paper)

Follow Matt Nicholl on twitter

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If you have interesting news and story ideas, as well as topics or potential interview guest, please send them to info@thestarspot.ca

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