Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer


Title: Travelers in the Night Eps.645 & 646: Shrinking Stratosphere & Young Martian Volcanoes

Organization: Travelers in The Night

Link : Travelers in the Night ; @Nmcanopus

Description: Today’s two stroy:

  • The troposphere is expanding and the stratosphere is shrinking.
  • Using data from Mars orbiting satellites these researchers found an unusual 8 mile wide deposit of ash and rock which surrounds a 20 mile long volcanic fissure in the plains of the Elysium region on Mars.

Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona.  This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.

He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.

Today’s sponsor:  Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month: Rob Leeson, David Bowes, Brett Duane, Benett Bolek, Mary Ann, Frank Frankovic, Michael Freedman, Kim Hay, Steven Emert, Frank Tippin, Rani Bush, Jako Danar, Joseph J. Biernat, Nik Whitehead, Michael W, Cherry Wood, Steve Nerlich, Steven Kluth, James K Wood, Katrina Ince, Phyllis Foster, Don Swartwout, Barbara Geier, Steven Jansen, Donald Immerwahr

Please consider sponsoring a day or two. Just click on the “Donate” button on the lower left side of this webpage, or contact us at

Or please visit our Patreon page:


645: Shrinking Stratosphere

We live in the layer in our atmosphere called the troposphere where most of the weather occurs.  Above that extending from 6 to 30 miles above us is the stratosphere where airliners fly, large meteors explode, ozone layers form, and volcanic dust can cause climate change.  In a recent paper published in Environmental Research Letters a team of researchers headed by Dr. Petr Pisoft of the Czech Republic report as a result of human caused increases in green house gases the troposphere is expanding and the stratosphere is shrinking.  

Between 1980 and 2018 the stratosphere has become a quarter of a mile thinner and is projected to contract in total by nearly a mile by 2080 if the present human increases in green house gases continues. Although the stratosphere will continue to cause large meteors to explode high above us other changes are coming. The contraction of the stratosphere is likely to effect satellite orbital life times, the propagation of radio waves, and the performance of the Global Positioning System.  A thinner stratosphere suggests that thunderstorms and hurricanes may get taller and more intense.  Usually the stratosphere is very dry,  has few clouds and not much turbulence which is why airliners fly there.  In a paper published  in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, Dr. Paul Williams reports  increasing amounts of human produced carbon dioxide will cause transatlantic clear air turbulence in the lower stratosphere to increase dramatically.  Buckle up for safety has more than one meaning in the era of climate change we are moving into.

646: Young Martian Volcanoes

Mars is not a dead planet. Recently a team of astronomers at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the Planetary Science Institute published an article in the scientific journal Icarus reporting the discovery of a volcanic eruption on the Red Planet which appears to have occurred about the time when early humans began to move out of Africa.. Using data from Mars orbiting satellites these researchers found an unusual 8 mile wide deposit of ash and rock which surrounds a 20 mile long volcanic fissure in the plains of the Elysium region on Mars.

In a second paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Research Letters other University of Arizona researchers investigated the possibility that this discovery is a young explosive volcanic eruption caused by an interaction between subsurface magma and frozen water deposits. They report that to within the errors, the eruption that produced this volcanic explosion is simultaneous with the formation of the nearby 6.4 mile diameter impact crater Zunil. This suggests that the Marsquake caused by an asteroid impact may have triggered an explosive volcanic eruption. In the present era, about 1,000 miles away, the NASA’s insight lander has been reporting small Marsquakes which could be the result of magma moving far below the martian surface in the same plains of the Elysium region on Mars. All of this relatively recent volcanic activity observed on Mars suggests that where subsurface martian magma and frozen water meet is where microbial life could flourish in the current era. 

For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Planetary Science Institute. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. 

This show is made possible thanks to the generous donations of people like you! Please consider supporting to our show on and get access to bonus content. 

After 10 years, the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast is entering its second decade of sharing important milestone in space exploration and astronomy discoveries. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!