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Starts With A Bang

New Podcast: Pristine Matter and Future Space Telescopes

By looking at the most distant gas clouds ever, there’s a chance you’ll find one that’s never formed stars. John O’Meara, in conversation here, was the first one to find an object like this, and he found not just one, but two.

The 40th edition of the Starts With A Bang Podcast features Astronomer John O’Meara, the first pristine matter ever seen, and a 15-meter space telescope proposal!


One of the great goals in our study of the Universe is to see past the currently-known frontiers. That means going farther, to greater and greater distances. It means going fainter, to smaller and less-easy-to-see objects. It means going to earlier times and less-evolved conditions. And it means detecting more of the Universe than we’ve ever seen before. Our goal is the most ambitious one you can imagine: understanding what the Universe was like when it was born, how it grew to be the way it is today, and where it’s headed in the future.

Travel the Universe with astrophysicist Ethan Siegel. Subscribers will get the newsletter every Saturday. All aboard!

One huge step that we only took this decade was to detect the first pristine matter left over from the Big Bang, before any stars or galaxies formed from it. A second, that we’re taking today, is to try and create a better space-based observatory than Hubble or even James Webb.

On this edition of the Starts With A Bang podcast, we talk about both of these issues with astronomer and chief scientist at the Keck Observatory: John O’Meara. Enjoy!


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