Star Struck: 17 Stellar Mind-Expanding Podcasts About Astronomy

two men on hill gazing at stars

Have you looked up at the sky recently? There’s so much out there, surrounded by a whole lot of emptiness. Outer space is mysterious and virtually infinite. Don’t let the mindboggling amount of empty vacuum distract you from the fact that there are countless stars, planets, and galaxies out there. Here in this list, we have many podcasts for you to find out a little more about the wonders of space – after all, part of the beauty of space is that we keep making discoveries, so many one single podcast isn’t enough to cover them all!

Awesome Astronomy

#1 AWESOME ASTRONOMY

This is one of those podcasts that focuses on being informative and educating the listener. This genre of podcasts usually relies on the content being interesting or the host(s) engagingly delivering the information – and AWESOME ASTRONOMY does both quite well!

The Host: There are many perks to listening to fans of a topic talk about it. Their passion often leads to an in-depth investigation to further their interest. Ralph, Jeni, and Paul show how much knowledge they have about astronomy through this podcast, and the way they explain it all is engaging and didactic.  

The Guests: While there are no guests per se, there often is space for listeners to send questions via Twitter to be answered in the podcast. 

Why You Have to Listen: The name of the podcast is in all caps, underscoring how AWESOME ASTRONOMY can be. But of course, even the most interesting topic requires good delivery to make the listeners feel engaged and keep coming back to your podcast. That’s something Ralph, Paul, and Jeni do quite well, their way of speaking is friendly and they make sure to never go into confusing divagations.

The hosts also make a lot of effort to give good answers to the questions sent by the public! Among this writer’s personal favorites feature the discussion about Betelgeuse, where they discussed what’d be the consequences of Betelgeuse’s collapse. Their answer to the listener’s question was very detailed!

Listen to AWESOME ASTRONOMY 

Must-Listen Episodes

#82 – April 2019 Part 1 

#83 – May 2019 Part 1

#92 – February 2020 Part 1

Rating: All Ages

Small Steps, Giant Leaps

#2 Small Steps, Giant Leaps

As the famous astronaut Neil Armstrong once said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” That’s where the name of this podcast comes from, but Small Steps Giant Leaps isn’t a podcast focused exclusively on Neil Armstrong! It’s a podcast about the technical workforce at NASA.

The Host: Directly from the NASA, the unnamed hostess of the podcast introduces the guests and holds the interview, getting to the meat of each interview in no time.

The Guests: Everyone who gets invited to this podcast works for NASA! Engineers, scientists, researchers…all sorts of roles are welcome here.

Why You Have to Listen: What sets this podcast apart from the rest is that most of the guests that come and talk are involved in NASA’s technical workforce. Their expertise and information are focused on that part of the agency – meaning they also have all sorts of info that will give you a clearer picture of so many of NASA’s training procedures and protocols. It feels like you’re finding out about a facet of NASA that isn’t often noticed!

As an example of what kind of guests you usually will find, here are some of the most recent guests: the NASA Commercial Crew Chief Engineers, NASA Scientist Michelle Thaller, a young NASA engineer, Europa Clipper Project System engineer, and the deputy associate administrator for exploration. As you can see, the variety of roles and jobs that come as guests are varied and always interesting.

Listen to Small Steps, Giant Leaps 

Must-Listen Episodes

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Episode 1, Orion

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Episode 12, Flight Demonstrations and Capabilities

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Episode 31, Commercial Lunar Payload Services

Rating: Teen+

The Space Above Us

#3 The Space Above Us

The history of NASA human spaceflight is rich and heroic. There’s so much to cover and so many facets it’d be difficult for one single person or one single podcast to talk about everything, but the Space Above Us is tackling this challenge. Listen and submerge into this incredibly deep topic!

The Host: JP Burke is really into spaceflight – and how not to, being a software engineer working at the Goddard Space Flight Center! His passion shines in every episode of this podcast.

The Guests: There seem to be no guests in this podcast!

Why You Have to Listen: There are only a few spaceflight missions that are pretty much household names, either because they were huge successes that brought national pride or big tragedies that unified the nation in grief. But what about all the other missions? The ones that flew under the public’s radar? Those are what JP Burke is trying to shine a light on.

The Space Above Us talks about all the spaceflight missions, backed up by documents obtained from the NASA’s archives, and carefully researched to ensure all the information presented is true and concise. It’s common for missions to have more than one half-hour episode dedicated to them, both the most known ones and the lesser-known ones. If you’re a fan of space exploration and our never-ending mission to understand outer space better, this is a great podcast for you.

Listen to The Space Above Us 

Must Listen Episodes

035 – Apollo 10

Supplemental 4 – Apollo 11 Mission Audio 

046 – Apollo 15 (Part 1)

Rating: All Ages

Jodcast

#4 The Jodcast

Did you know the Jodrell Bank Observatory has a podcast? The Jodcast is an educational experience, broadcasted monthly, always with the recent astronomy news, interviews, and questions.

The Host: There are so many hosts! Seven in total. A team from the Jodrell Bank Observatory has fun and brings what’s what in the astronomy world.

The Guests: No guests over here!

Why You Have to Listen: A lot can happen in one month. Astronomy may seem like one of those specializations that don’t have discoveries often, but that’s false! It certainly does – and the Jodcast brings you those developments any astronomy buff should know about.

What’s even better is that, since this podcast comes from an observatory, they’re a firsthand source for this kind of information. When you’re looking for experts who can give you the most recent news, this podcast is the right one for you.

Listen to the Jodcast 

Must-Listen Episodes

February 2020  

March 2020 

Month 4 2020 

Rating: All Ages

Orbital Path

#5 Orbital Path

Do you remember we mentioned NASA scientist Michelle Thaller up in Small Steps, Giant Leaps? Here she is, in her podcast. Orbital Path is her turf! Although the podcast isn’t updated anymore, it was a quite great podcast in its time.

The Host: Michelle Thaller is a scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Hardworking and charismatic, Michelle Thaller brings interesting space facts to you!

The Guests: There are guests from time to time! There are even people Michelle Thaller admires and helped encourage her forays into space. Of special interest, you’ll find theoretical physicist Brian Greene. 

Why You Have to Listen: Orbital Path, a show about the cosmos and our place in it. There’s so much to talk about how Earth and so many things out there have turned into what they are now! Black holes, the Sun, the Earth, asteroids, there’s a bit of everything in this podcast, each topic getting its episode to give it the focus it deserves.

Many episodes of the podcast feel a lot like an educational documentary. The level of detail and easygoing narrating the hostess does, as well as the sound effects and music that pepper the broadcasting, make this a pleasant experience. The episodes that feature guests have less musical ambiance but have the guests’ experience and knowledge as a plus.

Listen to Orbital Path 

Must-Listen Episodes

Warning: Space May Wreak Havoc on Your Body 

Space Robots to Europa! 

Episode 22: Journey to the Sun

Rating: Teen+

Naked Astronomy

#6 Naked Astronomy

Naked Astronomy, by the Naked Scientists! Contrary to what the title may make it sound like, their clothing status is undisclosed. What’s disclosed, though, is how well they explain all the astronomy topics they talk about in this podcast.

The Host: The Naked Scientists are a group that hosts quite a few podcasts! Reflections, genetics, neuroscience, and other topics each get a podcast. This team is composed of eight different people, all of them with some sort of background in science.

The Guests: Every episode has a few guests, ready to discuss something they were involved in or a topic they’re knowledgeable about. Scientists, engineers, astronauts, experts, everyone has a place in this podcast.

Why You Have to Listen: The Naked Scientists are passionate about science, astronomy being one of the many fields they cover. The collection of topics they talk about is rather wide: Pluto, Mars, supernovas, asteroids…you’d be hard-pressed to find something they don’t mention!

It all starts with a catchy introduction, immediately bringing the rocket science terminology and a tune that sets up how dynamic the podcast will be. Even though the host’s voice stays level and professional, there’s always this undercurrent of amenity and lighthearted discussion.

Listen to Naked Astronomy 

Must-Listen Episodes

Is Our Solar System Strange? 

Riding in a Comet’s Wake 

Is there anybody out there?

Rating: Teen+

#7 Space Junk

While all the other podcasts have a more professional outlook or focus on giving news from this field, Space Junk focuses more on amateur astronomy. There’s a lot of advice about what kind of equipment you should have, too. It’s a great podcast for those who want to get into this hobby.

The Host: Tony Darnell and Dustin Gibson are at the helm of this podcast. Tony Darnell is the founder of Deep Astronomy, a YouTube channel and a website with articles and videos about astronomy. On the other hand, Dustin Gibson is from OPT Telescopes, a world leader in telescopes and accessories.

The Guests: Most articles have a guest! Sometimes they’re CEOs of companies involved in astronomy, other times they’re professionals and hobbyists who talk about the equipment they use. It’s very useful information!

Why You Have to Listen: When you dabble in amateur astronomy, you require good equipment to get the maximum enjoyment possible. Space Junk brings you advice, tips, and suggestions of equipment you should use – after all, the first thing you must do when getting into a hobby is get all the information you can about costs and equipment.

That aside, there’s also a lot of content about the joys of astronomy and astrophotography. The hosts and the guests want you to join them into enjoying the hobby and everything space has to offer to you. Astronomy can be a very fulfilling hobby, so take the first step towards this science!

Listen to Space Junk 

Must-Listen Episodes

Looking Back at 2019 With 2020 Vision 

Easy Astrophotography with Jimmy Nguyen 

Space Facts to Impress Your Friends

Rating: Teen+

Astronomy Cast

#8 Astronomy Cast

The podcast’s description says it quite well! ‘Take a fact-based journey through the cosmos.’ It’s like it says: Astronomy Cast is focused on interesting facts – and there are quite many of those available! This is one of the most fruitful astronomy podcasts around.

The Host: The hosts are Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay, a pair who live and breathe astronomy. Mr. Cain is the publisher of Universe Today, while Dr. Gay is a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. 

The Guests: There are no guests over here!

Why You Have to Listen: When we say this is a fruitful podcast, we’re not exaggerating. At the time of writing this, there are 570 episodes available, as well as a few smaller episodes. With each one being half an hour-long, there’s a lot of content to enjoy.

Just to give you an idea of the content they have, peruse some of their most recent ideas: comets, the ethics of commercial and military space, In Situ resource utilization, satellite reparation, and mini-moons. The variety in their episodes is remarkable, and there’s always something new. 

Listen to Astronomy Cast 

Must-Listen Episodes

Ep. 542: Weird Issues: The Age of the Universe

Ep. 548: Stellar nucleosynthesis revisited: In stellar cores & atmospheres

Ep. 560: Betelgeuse

Rating: All Ages

Gravity Assist

#9 Gravity Assist

This is another podcast hosted by a high ranking employee at NASA. Are you ready to find out what sets Gravity Assist apart from the rest? Read our review and find out who hosts this one.

The Host: This is Dr. Jim Green, the director of planetary science! His specialization will make this podcast a very different treat even when compared even to other podcasts created by other workers at NASA.

The Guests: Other NASA employees have featured in this podcast, people on roles that allow them to have interesting information about the many missions and programs currently going on. For example, Mitch Schulte talks about the upcoming Mars Perseverance Rover.

Why You Have to Listen: Dr. Green and his podcast Gravity Assist have their niche of sorts among the astronomy podcasts. This one, in particular, focuses on the planets and the moon, with an emphasis on their composition, atmosphere, and everything else that makes the planet and the moon be what they are.

The way Dr. Green speaks is upbeat, almost cheerful, making the information be received with ease. It’s like listening to your favorite college professor give a conference, there’s this academic atmosphere that doesn’t turn stuffy or boring. This podcast hooks your attention and doesn’t let go!

Listen to Gravity Assist 

Must-Listen Episodes

Gravity Assist: Astronauts Go Back to Moon School, with Kelsey Young 

Gravity Assist: The Sun’s Mysteries with Thomas Zurbuchen 

Gravity Assist Podcast, Venus with David Grinspoon

Rating: All Ages

Cosmic Vertigo

#10 Cosmic Vertigo

Coming from Australia here is Cosmic Vertigo! These bite-sized episodes of astronomy help show the incomprehensible scale of space, full of wonder and mystery.

The Host: Just as the description says, this is a podcast with conversations between two friends who study the sky for a living. Dr. Amanda Bauer is an astronomer and science communicator, while Dr. Alan Duffy is an astrophysicist and associate professor at Swinburne University. Two excellent hosts for an astronomy podcast!

The Guests: Cosmic Vertigo usually doesn’t have guests! The exception may be the episode in which they broadcasted an episode of the ABC Podcast ‘Little Tiny’.

Why You Have to Listen: This is a podcast that strives to give you a feeling of wonder. Outer space is a place full of amazing things and bizarre facts, giving it an almost fantastical quality. Such qualities are better delivered when the host has enthusiasm – and Dr. Bauer and Dr. Duffy have it in spades.

The episodes have high production values. There are background music and sound effects at the right times to emphasize many of the interesting facts they present. Although each one lasts half an hour at most, every episode feels like you’re having a glimpse of outer space and everything it has to offer.

Listen to Cosmic Vertigo 

Must-Listen Episodes

Cosmic Vertigo | Stargazing Special 

Cosmic Query | Clusters and Milkshakes 

016 | Cooler than Cool

Rating: All Ages

Space Nuts

#11 Space Nuts

Astronomy is a field as wide as outer space itself. It’s only natural there’d be an endless trove of news and discoveries to talk about, so of course, there’s a lot of material for Space Nuts to inform, educate, and entertain.

The Host: This podcast has a quite interesting pair as hosts: Astronomer Professor Fred Watson and broadcasted Andrew Dunkley. Between the two they create a really interesting podcast for any fan of astronomy.

The Guests: From time to time the hosts answer questions sent by their fans and listeners. Doesn’t this make their listeners the show’s guests, even if it’s in a roundabout manner?

Why You Have to Listen: Space Nuts is one of the podcasts created by bitesz.com. In this podcast space news and interesting space-related facts are broadcasted out the wazoo! Labeled with eye-catching titles with as ‘Stunning Jupiter,’ ‘Big Black Hole Announcement,’ and ‘Asteroids Destroying Each Other,’ each episode will catch your attention and entertain you for almost one hour.

This is another podcast that has existed for a while, releasing episodes weekly. Currently, there are more than 200 episodes, all of them full to the brim of interesting information that will ignite your interest in astronomy in no time.

Listen to Space Nuts 

Must-Listen Episodes

172: Tabby’s Star Theory 

Hibernation? 

176: First All-Female Spacewalk

Rating: All Ages

Space Rocket History Podcast

#12 Space Rocket History Podcast

The history of rocketry is vast, rich, and full of turns. Telling it all in one podcast is a difficult endeavor, but Space Rocket History Podcast is giving it a try. Their way of doing it is excellent.

The Host: Michael Annis narrates the events of spaceflight and space exploration. Every line is said calmly and with great dictation, making it a treat to listen to.

The Guests: Only the great history of rocketry features in this podcast!

Why You Have to Listen: This podcast truly feels like you’re listening to someone narrate an audiobook about space rocket history – in a good way! The content is structured in a way that all the information imparted is orderly, almost tidy. Given how long and interesting the history of rocketry is, this makes understanding it all much easier.

What’s even better is that the level of detail in the history Mr. Annis narrates is astounding. Every episode has so many details a topic often needs more than one episode to be analyzed properly – and the podcast isn’t over yet. There’s still plenty of history to be covered in this show.

Listen to Space Rocket History Podcast 

Must-Listen Episodes

Space Rocket History #190 – Apollo 10 – The Launch

Space Rocket History #209 – Apollo 11 – Mission Training – Part 1 

Space Rocket History #214 – Apollo 11 – The Climb to Orbit

Rating: All Ages

Ask a Spaceman

#13 Ask a Spaceman

Ask and ye shall receive! An answer, that is. This podcast’s point is for people to submit questions for the host of Ask a Spaceman to answer. It’s very interactive – and the content of the podcast changes every episode!

The Host: Astrophysicist Paul Sutter is here to spread his knowledge! Mr. Sutter spends a lot of time bringing science closer to new audiences, kindling interest not only in astronomy but also in the scientific process in general.

The Guests: Every question Mr. Sutter answers is like a guest in this show – but other than that, no guests.

Why You Have to Listen: As we mentioned, the core of this podcast are the questions sent by the public, questions Mr. Sutter receives via Twitter and Facebook. Mr. Sutter selects them and answers it with a surprising amount of detail – the episodes can take more than half an hour sometimes!

What’s even better is that he doesn’t limit himself to the question he got, he also uses topics and additional questions that may complement that particular answer to craft a comprehensive lesson. His dedication shines in every episode!

Listen to Ask a Spaceman 

Must-Listen Episodes

AaS! 77: Seriously, what is gravity? (Part 1) 

AaS! 115: Is String Theory Worth It? (Part 1: Unify This!)

AaS! 124: Why is the speed of light the way it is?

Rating: All Ages

Weekly Space Hangout

#14 Weekly Space Hangout Radio

The Cosmoquest Google Plus page has a podcast of sorts – or at least that’s where it’s recorded. The final result is the Weekly Space Hangout Audio, an astronomy podcast bringing you the news that came out during the week.

The Host: There’s indeed a host in this podcast! Fraser Cain created this podcast – and he’s also the creator of Universe Today and the Guide to Space. He lives and breathes space!

The Guests: There are a lot of guests here! Each episode has at least one and you’ll find a guest’s name right there on the title every time. You’ll find all sorts of experts, people who have all sorts of knowledge about each episode’s theme.

Why You Have to Listen: This podcast is somewhat more specialized than most podcasts that feature in this list. Their use of terminology is fluid but requires some knowledge to fully understand it – but fret not, even if you don’t have a grasp of all the jargon, it still is a podcast you should try listening! After all, the information presented here is worth it.

The podcast discusses the news that comes during the week, which makes it different from other podcasts that treat those monthly. They also answer questions from the audience, enriching each episode. All in all, this is a podcast full of content, perfect for astronomy buffs.

Listen to Weekly Space Hangout Radio 

Must-Listen Episodes

Weekly Space Hangout: March 11, 2020 – Dr. Jon Willis talks Galaxy Cluster XLSSC 122 

Weekly Space Hangout: March 18, 2020 – Dr. Meng Jin and Modeling Coronal Mass Ejections 

Weekly Space Hangout: April 29, 2020 – Alcohol in Space with Chris Carberry

Rating: 18+

The Rocket Ranch

#15 The Rocket Ranch

This is the official podcast of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, one of their most known centers in the world! Even the mainstream public has heard of it – this center’s role is known by everyone. Enjoy their podcast: the Rocket Ranch.

The Host: There’s a host in this astronomy podcast, an anonymous man who introduces the person they’ll interview and talks about that person’s role in the center. As a host, this man does a great job of building up interest in the person the episode will be about.

The Guests: The guests are the stars of this podcast! From engineers to scientists to technicians, everyone has a place in the Rocket Ranch. You’ll feel like you’ll know more about their job in one of the most famous space centers in existence.

Why You Have to Listen: This is a podcast that focuses on the people who work at the center, instead of on the science or the astronomy itself. This gives a very human component to the podcast, setting it apart from most astronomy podcasts out there. After all, what makes places like the Kennedy Space Center work is the people who take part in its operations.

The atmosphere in this podcast is almost heroic, thanks to the introduction the host gives to each person they feature, the use of background music, and the glowing way they speak of their guests. Although every episode is relatively short, it’s always a pleasant experience, perhaps even heartwarming at times because of how proud the podcast sounds when it talks about the guests. This is an homage to everyone who makes the Kennedy Space Center work!

Listen to The Rocket Ranch 

Must-Listen Episodes

Episode 4: Rocket Roundup 

Episode 19: Launching Artemis

Episode 22: NASA Astronauts’ Friendship Key to History Making SpaceX Flight

Rating: All Ages

WeMartians Podcast

#16 WeMartians Podcast

A goal that’s closer every day is Mars. Humankind strives to reach Mars at some point – and it may be a foregone conclusion we’ll manage to. It’ll be a historical moment for humanity! For now, though, there are podcasts like WeMartians, specifically tailored to discuss that red planet in our sky.

The Host: Jake Robins is immensely dedicated to astronomy and Mars. Recently – just a few months ago – Mr. Robins quit his day job to work on the podcast full time, proving this here is one of his most fulfilling projects. With such dedication, this podcast can only be great!

The Guests: Most of the guests in this podcast have some sort of involvement in planetary science, but there are also astronauts and engineers who work on the technical matters that will lead to this objective.

Why You Have to Listen: Podcasts that talk about niche topics are a bit of a risky gamble, given you can specialize in something specific, but narrowing your topic too much can reduce the potential audience for your podcast. WeMartians Podcast hits the right amount of specialization – Mars is a topic of interest in astronomy, and it’s relevant enough to last years without losing any audience. It also helps there are developments in this area from time to time, meaning there’s a stream of content for you!

Mr. Robins has a lot of information to tell you, organized in a manner that makes it informative and entertaining. This is a podcast that seeks to get you interested in Mars, and it succeeds at this goal. Even if, coming to this podcast, you like astronomy but you’re not particularly interested in Mars, you may change your mind by listening to this podcast.

Listen to WeMartians Podcast 

Must-Listen Episodes

1 – The Waxing Interest in Mars

53 – The State of Mars 2019 (feat. Brendan Byrne and Emilee Speck) 

68 – The Case of the Inexplicable Oxygen (feat. Melissa Trainer)

Rating: All Ages

Space

#17 Space

The podcast’s name is rather simple – simply ‘Space’. It’s not as straightforward as calling it ‘Astronomy Podcast’, but it’s close. Still, don’t let the simplicity make you think this podcast doesn’t have a lot of work behind it. After all, the BBC doesn’t do things half-heartedly!

The Host: This is a rare podcast in that it doesn’t have a host! The host who took part in the BBC World Service in that episode is considered the host instead.

The Guests: There are guests in each episode, guests with important jobs in the field of astronomy, or professors in colleges and universities.

Why You Have to Listen: This podcast is more like an archive of episodes of the BBC World Service that talked about space and astronomy. That means this archive doesn’t get updated too often – it hasn’t been updated since July of 2019!

Despite the infrequency of their updates, the content they have is outstanding. The BBC has gathered guests of great quality, interviewing them with purpose and professionalism. Everything presented in this archive is backed up by science; you can trust it’s all true, accurate information. When it’s about educational content of a somewhat high level, the BBC truly is a great source for it.

Listen to Space 

Must-Listen Episodes

The Beagle 2 Mission to Mars 

Women with the Right Stuff

Caravans in Space

Rating: Teen+

————

Astronomy is one of those fields that always get people’s attention, thanks to how it tries to reveal what’s beyond what we see with the naked eye. We have found out a lot about outer space and about everything that’s in it, but we have barely scratched the surface of all there’s to know. It could even be said those scratches are superficial, too! Outer space continues being such a mystery!

But we’re on our way to finding out all it has. Thanks to these astronomy podcasts, the information is just a few clicks away. You too can share the excitement and wonder of outer space. Enjoy!

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About the author

Summary

Podcasts, audio, writing, and reviews are what Nicolas' life revolves around. At day he searches interesting podcasts for listening and sharing, at night he searches ways to improve himself. Find out about some of the podcasts he has listened to!

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Four years of writing experience have given Nicolas versatility -- and the podcasts he listened during that work made it all rather enjoyable! Now, as part of Vurbl's editorial team, he uses his skills to bring podcasts to the spotlight.

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