Unwinding with Jennifer Delgado: Astrophysicist

If you spent any time on social media this summer, you probably heard that United States government agencies confirmed the existence of video footage of UFOs taken by military aircraft. The videos reignited speculation about the presence of alien life visiting Earth.

In an effort to bring some context to these discussions, we sat down with Associate Teaching Professor Jennifer Delgado from the KU Department of Physics & Astronomy to talk the expansiveness of space, searching for habitable planets outside own solar system, and how anyone can contribute to new discoveries at KU.

After our chat, Professor Delgado wanted to add a bit more clarification to some of the information she provided:

  1. We have directly imaged a few exoplanets in the sense that we have images where we can distinguish the light from a planet in an image, but we do not have the ability to see the surface of the planet, like we would see a picture of a planet in our own Solar System.
  2. Pulsars emit x-rays if they are accreting matter, meaning that if matter falls onto the pulsar, then it can emit x-rays. This is not typical of pulsars unless they are in a binary system and have a companion star from which to obtain matter.  

Additionally, Professor Delgado provided a link to a more in-depth explanation of dark energy.

In this podcast we also briefly touched on a discovery by Assistant Professor Allison Kirkpatrick. Learn more about her discovery of cold quasars here.

Unwinding is a podcast that tells the human stories driving the minds and talents of the University of Kansas. In each episode we sit down with KU researchers to chat about what they’re working on, why they’re passionate about it, why it matters, and what makes them tick as humans. The conversation explores the fascinations and motivations that produce new discoveries.

Unwinding is a production by KU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is the heart of KU. It’s home to more than 50 departments, programs and centers, offering more than 100 majors, minors and certificates. A collaborative and creative community, the College is committed to making the world better through inquiry and research.

Music: Lee Rosevere’s “Let’s Start at the Beginning and “Max Flashback