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Orbital Path

Series produced by Public Radio Exchange (PRX)

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Orbital Path with Michelle Thaller takes a look at the big questions of the cosmos and what the answers can reveal about our life here on Earth. From podcast powerhouse PRX, with support from the Sloan Foundation.

About Our Host: Dr. Michelle Thaller is Deputy Director of Science Communcation at NASA. She is a research scientist who studies binary stars and the life cycles of stars. In her off-hours, Michelle often puts on about 30 lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances.


33 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Artist's rendering, Credit: CALTECH/NSF/LIGO Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet
In the time of the dinosaurs, two stars spiraled to their deaths. And 130 million years later, they taught humans the origin of gold.

  • Added: Feb 09, 2018
  • Length: 24:11
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Science for science’s sake may be luxury we can all do without — until, as happened during the 1980s, it quite literally saves the world.

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 26, 2018
  • Length: 20:02
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The winter solstice gets tricky if your home planet has rings..., Credit: NASA
The winter solstice: a time to curl up by the fire, toast marshmallows, and reflect on the passage of the seasons...on other planets.

  • Added: Dec 29, 2017
  • Length: 17:00
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NASA has been on the lookout for rogue asteroids for years. Then astronomers in Hawaii glimpsed a massive, cigar-shaped object — from another solar...

  • Added: Dec 15, 2017
  • Length: 16:15
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Today’s astrophysicists probe the farthest reaches of the universe using instruments impossible to imagine when the constellations were named. But...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Dec 01, 2017
  • Length: 12:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Almost two years ago, Orbital Path launched with an episode on our fascination with space aliens. But what’s really going on out there on KIC8462852?

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 17, 2017
  • Length: 16:37
  • Purchases: 1
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It’s time we get over out three-dimensional selves. 
Brian Greene — world renowned astrophysicist, New York Times bestselling author, NOVA host, an...

Bought by KUER


  • Added: Oct 20, 2017
  • Length: 29:23
  • Purchases: 1
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People have dreamed of making this trip for millennia. Next year, NASA launches the first ever voyage to the sun.

  • Added: Sep 15, 2017
  • Length: 18:00
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NASA astronomer Andrew Booth joins Michelle in the hot tub to drink a glass of chardonnay, and talk weird science.

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 01, 2017
  • Length: 11:27
  • Purchases: 1
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Michelle visits a Nobel Prize winner who took a “baby picture” of the universe — NASA cosmologist John Mather.

  • Added: Aug 18, 2017
  • Length: 22:53
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A NASA mission probes mysteries of a planet very much like our own....

  • Added: Aug 04, 2017
  • Length: 20:49
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The big one is coming! That is, the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21. Dr. Thaller shares her wisdom on how best to view the eclipse and its larger im...

Bought by KUFM - Montana Public Radio and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 20, 2017
  • Length: 11:16
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/images/index.html">Jupiter from the Juno mission</a>
Recently, we’ve started to get the first images back from Juno, which is on a mission to Jupiter. Host Dr. Michelle Thaller walks us through the re...

Bought by XRAY.fm


  • Added: Jun 30, 2017
  • Length: 06:47
  • Purchases: 1
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Dr. Michelle Thaller visits the NASA lab that discovered that meteorites contain some of the very same chemical elements that we contain. Then, Mic...

Bought by XRAY.fm


  • Added: Jun 20, 2017
  • Length: 16:55
  • Purchases: 1
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When the Cassini spacecraft blasted into space on October 15, 1997, even the most optimistic scientists would have had a hard time predicting the m...

Bought by KUER, KRZA, and PRX Remix


  • Added: May 23, 2017
  • Length: 22:30
  • Purchases: 3
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Nearly 100 years after Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves — huge undulations in the fabric of space-time itself — in 2015, det...

Bought by KVSC


  • Added: Apr 21, 2017
  • Length: 26:21
  • Purchases: 1
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Listeners requested more episodes, so we present the first of our mini episodes. They’ll arrive two weeks after each monthly regular episode, and i...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh and Radio Newark


  • Added: Apr 03, 2017
  • Length: 06:28
  • Purchases: 2
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Space science can help track what’s happening on Earth. In this episode, Orbital Path talks landslides and the satellites that monitor them for the...

Bought by KWMR, KUER, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Mar 20, 2017
  • Length: 22:09
  • Purchases: 3
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Galileo discovered Europa, Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon, in 1610. In 1977, the Voyager spacecraft buzzed past and we realized it was covered in ic...

Bought by KWMR, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KVSC, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Feb 24, 2017
  • Length: 18:44
  • Purchases: 4
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In 1985, the British Antarctic Survey discovered something that shocked scientists around the world: the ozone layer had a hole in it. And the hole...

Bought by KRZA


  • Added: Feb 24, 2017
  • Length: 18:02
  • Purchases: 1