Episode 042

Welcome back on the bus! This episode we have astronomer and all around adrenaline junky, Patrick Wiggins. Why adrenaline junkie? Because when we first met him, he was jumping out of an airplane. By day, jumping out of airplanes is what Patrick does, but by night, when the sun goes down, he heads over to the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex; where he has made some notable discoveries over the past few years: three supernovae and several planets outside of our own galaxy. 

Patrick has spent thousands of hours staring up into the sky and he doesn't just do it with any ordinary telescope. Patrick has access to the largest amateur optical telescope in the world. Check out pictures of this beauty here.

In this episode, we go over Patrick's process for discovering phenomena in the sky. We also take a look at the difference between supernovae stars and our own star, asteroidal impacts, mass extinctions, the fate of our solar system as well as Patrick's take on the Flat Earth conspiracy. 

Wiggins has discovered a whole host of astronomical events in space, including an asteroid in 2008, which the International Astronomical Union named Univofutah, at Wiggins’ request, to honor the University of Utah. Wiggins’ work has earned him many accolades, including the prestigious Distinguished Public Service Medal, NASA’s highest civilian honor. You can meet Wiggins and the rest of the Phun with Physics scientists during free days at the Natural History Museum of Utah.