Cosmic Vertigo

Do you ever feel dizzy when you think about the incomprehensible scale of space? We call that feeling Cosmic Vertigo. Welcome to a head-spinning conversation between two friends who study the sky for a living.


  • The Moon Landing 010 - The journey home

    Jul 21 2019

    Their humanity-defining mission accomplished, it's almost time to come home.

  • The Moon Landing 009 - Last moments on the Moon

    Jul 21 2019

    They've done their experiments, jumped for the camera and planted the flag. The walk is nearly over.

  • The Moon Landing 008 - Footsteps on the Moon

    Jul 21 2019

    Six hours of patience and preparation, and Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are ready to open the hatch.

  • The Moon Landing 007 - Preparing for the Moonwalk

    Jul 20 2019

    After their dramatic landing, the astronauts' scheduled rest was never going to happen.

  • The Moon Landing 006 - The Eagle is landing

    Jul 20 2019

    This is it. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong begin their descent to the lunar surface. But all does not go to plan...

  • The Moon Landing 005 - Dark side of the moon

    Jul 19 2019

    As the Apollo 11 crew finalise their lunar orbit, they drift around to the far side of the moon - and out of radio contact...

  • The Moon Landing 004 - Enter the Lunar Module

    Jul 18 2019

    So far on their journey to the moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts haven't been inside the Lunar Module - that's about to change...

  • The Moon Landing 003 - Chicken stew in space

    Jul 17 2019

    As they continued their trip to the moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts had to figure out how to live in space

  • The Moon Landing 002 - The view via space TV

    Jul 17 2019

    Exactly 50 years ago, the three Apollo 11 astronauts were on their way to the moon - and they shared their view with those watching closely back on Earth.

  • Cosmic Vertigo presents.. The Moon Landing 001 - Lift-off!

    Jul 16 2019

    50 years after the Apollo 11 mission successfully landed humans on the moon, hear about the journey's crucial moments - and the near misses.

  • Cosmic Vertigo presents.. Little Tiny

    Feb 11 2019

    ABC podcast Little Tiny explores world history via the small things that have shaped it - all in the space of a coffee break! In this episode, host Kara Schlegl delves into the discovery of the cosmic microwave background. To hear more, search for Little Tiny on the ABC Listen app, or wherever you get your podcasts. Host Kara Schlegl Producer Bryce Halliday History consultant Zoë Tan Executive Producer Joel Werner

  • Cosmic Query | Total eclipse of the Sun

    Jul 17 2018

    We join two observers for a total eclipse of the sun.

  • 019 | Faster than slow

    Jul 10 2018

    The International Space Station is travelling in low Earth orbit at a leisurely 7.66km per second (approx). Moving at that speed, the crew of the ISS witnesses a sunrise and sunset every 90 minutes.

  • Cosmic Query | First contact

    Jul 03 2018

    The search for alien life continues but at what point do we declare that we are alone in the Universe?

  • 018 | Quicker than quick

    Jun 26 2018

    You'd think we'd notice thousands of explosions in the night sky. Shorter than a millisecond, these bursts were first recorded in 2007 and while scientists know they're there, we are still unsure of their origin.

  • 017 | Longer than long

    Jun 26 2018

    If you wait long enough, would another Universe spontaneously arise in front of you? Chances are it won’t happen in your lifetime… But it could.

  • Cosmic Query | clusters and milkshakes

    Jun 19 2018

    A serving of Globular Clusters and Amanda's favourite milkshake (it's not chocolate).

  • 016 | Cooler than Cool

    Jun 12 2018

    Temperature levels across the Universe vary wildly. The Boomerang Nebula is the coldest known object, but back on Earth scientists are working towards achieving absolute zero. It doesn't get any cooler than that.

  • 015 | Hotter than hot

    Jun 12 2018

    The hottest thing in the Universe isn't the core of a planet, or the centre of an exploding star. It's created here on Earth by scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider.

  • Cosmic Query | Lighting up the night

    Jun 05 2018

    Could there be a time when we look up at the night sky and see more objects, planets and stars, than dark space? Join Alan and Amanda as they tackle another of your Cosmic Queries.

  • Cosmic Vertigo | Stargazing Special

    Jun 01 2018

    Stargazing Live on ABC TV gathered astronomers and astrophysicists for three nights of discoveries and record-breaking observation. Join Alan as he explores the Siding Spring Observatory, where Amanda worked, and asks these professional stargazers (plus one red-haired comedian) what makes them feel Cosmic Vertigo. Featuring Karlie Noon, Fred Watson, Becky Smethurst, Greg Quicke, Andrea Boyd, Amalia Sicardi, Tim Minchin and Kumi Taguchi.

  • 014 | Emptier than empty

    May 29 2018

    We’re told space is a vast empty vacuum. But how empty can it be, if we know it’s full of stars and black holes, nebulas and galaxies? Alan and Amanda hop aboard a space elevator and rise through the Earth's atmospheric layers to explore our not-so-empty Universe.

  • 013 | Denser than dense

    May 29 2018

    Imagine the mass of the sun crushed into something the size of the earth – what you're picturing is a white dwarf. But things can get much more dense than that. Amanda and Alan deliver a lesson in density with a side of salt and aioli (BYO chips).

  • Cosmic Query | Robots on the moon?

    May 23 2018

    In Season one, Amanda and Alan took an inventory of what we've left on the Moon: golf balls, a couple of flags, 96 bags of human waste ... But Ashton, a listener, wonders whether any robots (or humans) are up there.

  • 012 | Smaller than small

    May 15 2018

    Zooming right in from the decommissioned dwarf planet Pluto to the humble yet powerful atom helium, Amanda and Alan measure up the smallest things in the Universe — with the aid of a strand of your hair.

  • 011 | Bigger than big

    May 15 2018

    The biggest things in the Universe don't necessarily last the longest. Massive swollen stars, hundreds of times bigger than our own sun, burn through their fuel and either explode into a supernova or become a black hole.

  • Cosmic Query | Red planet... Wet planet?

    May 10 2018

    Cosmic Vertigo is back — and when they're not discussing the extremes of the Universe, Alan and Amanda are answering the big questions. Your questions. This week, it's the little issue of water on Mars.


    Feb 07 2018

    Cosmic Vertigo season 2 is COMING SOON! And we need your help. Want to share your own personal experience of Cosmic Vertigo? Or do you have a spacey question you're burning to ask Alan and Amanda? Grab a smartphone, and use the inbuilt audio recorder to record your message. Then email that file to cosmicvertigo@abc.net.au

  • Cosmic Vertigo presents.. Sum of All Parts

    Oct 12 2017

    Cosmic Vertigo producer Joel Werner has a new podcast! Sum of All Parts tells extraordinary stories from the world of numbers. The episode featured here is.. 'Phoenix + Electron'.. Melbourne, 1989. Two teenagers hack Australia's recently established internet connection, and infiltrate some of the world’s most secure computer networks. Listen online or wherever you get your podcasts.. iTunes (AU) iTunes (US) Pocket Casts RSS

  • Total Solar Eclipse [BONUS SHORT]

    Aug 18 2017

    Amanda and Alan are back (for a hot minute) to celebrate the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017!

  • Cosmic Vertigo presents.. Off Track

    May 24 2017

    Missing Cosmic Vertigo? Well, check out this story about a telescope so powerful it listens to time..

  • Outer Space Takes [BONUS EPISODE]

    May 18 2017

    Surprise! Bonus episode! Take a trip behind the scenes in the making of Cosmic Vertigo - LIVE! from the 2017 World Science Festival in Brisbane, Australia.

  • 010 | Baby pictures and bird poo

    May 04 2017

    It’s amazing what you find when you try to see the dawn of time. This season of Cosmic Vertigo ends at the very beginning: the Big Bang.

  • 009 | Emptier than empty and getting even emptier

    Apr 27 2017

    In the unimaginably vast gaps between galaxies, something is accelerating the universe towards a lonely future. Alan and Amanda shake their heads at Dark Energy.

  • 008 | The invisible wind

    Apr 20 2017

    Dark Matter flies through solid walls like a ghost. Humans have buried super-sensitive crystals to try and detect it - and our Universe doesn’t make any sense without it.

  • 007 | Black holes don't suck

    Apr 13 2017

    Science fiction movies make it pretty clear that black holes are terrifying, all-consuming monsters. For astronomers there’s no cooler place to try and see.

  • 006 | A pretty exciting place

    Apr 06 2017

    It's a patchy, pale river in the sky - and a twirling spiral of 400 billion stars. It’s also headed for a dazzling intergalactic train wreck. Welcome to our Milky Way.

  • 005 | Where are all the aliens?

    Apr 04 2017

    Alan and Amanda debate the number of civilisations that might be out there, get the maths wrong, and argue about whether our biggest barriers to coexistence would be linguistic or… dietary.

  • 004 | Wobble and wink

    Mar 30 2017

    The science of exoplanets is stupendously fast-moving. The more we look for alien worlds, the more of them we find. Thousands and thousands of them, all with terrible names.

  • 003 | The bigger they are, the faster they burn

    Mar 23 2017

    What makes a star a star? When will Betelgeuse explode? Amanda explores what "any day now" means in astronomy and Alan starts measuring mass in millions of marsupials.

  • 002 | Measly little specks of dust

    Mar 16 2017

    Our Solar System started out as a chaotic Primordial Pancake. Now it hosts the eight planets we know and love, plus poor old Pluto, plus some other stuff. Like asteroids with their own moons.

  • 001 | A giant lump of rock and iron

    Mar 15 2017

    It’s drifting away from Earth at the same rate that your fingernails grow, but the Moon is still our closest neighbour - so close, that we’ve left quite a lot of litter on its surface…

  • 000 | Welcome to the party! (That's us)

    Mar 07 2017

    Meet your hosts, astronomers Dr Amanda Bauer and Dr Alan Duffy.