IRrelevant Astronomy is a web series produced by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Each episode explains a general science concept or reveals science news relevant to Spitzer. The "IR" in the title stands for "infrared", making the title refer to "infrared-relevant astronomy." The first episode launched on January 15, 2008 on the Spitzer Space Telescope website.
Cast and guest stars
Sean Astin - Well known for leading roles in such films as Goonies, Rudy, and the Lord of the Rings series, Sean first appears in the episode Part Two as a scientist struggling to save the Spitzer Space Telescope. He also provides the voice of a badly-edited audiobook in the episode Behind the Scenes: When Galaxies Collide, and appears as a fictional version of himself in Behind the Scenes: Dead Stars.
Veronica Belmont - Co-host of Tekzilla on Revision3, and host of Qore on the PlayStation 3, Veronica appears on Astronomy Anemone and is consumed...by her love of space science.
Brigitte Dale - A new media actress and producer, Brigitte voices the computer in Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Destroyer of Worlds, and stars in the episode Big Bang: The Musical.
Felicia Day - Famous for her web series The Guild, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and more, Felicia appears as a fictional version of herself in the comedic Behind the Scenes: When Galaxies Collide.
Cameron Diaz - Acclaimed actress Cameron Diaz appears in the episode RATS In Progress: The Mass of Asteroids.
Phillip Gabriel - Phillip provides the voice of Mountie Martin in Dubya: Mountie Martin and the Space Diamonds. He also provides the voiceover for the film-within-a-film at the end of Behind the Scenes: When Galaxies Collide.
Mark Hamill - Famous for the original Star Wars trilogy, his iconic turn as the Joker in the Batman Animated series, and countless other films & TV shows, Mark provides a cameo as a fictional version of himself in the episode Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Gravity & the Great Attractor.
Linda Hamilton - Linda spoofs her robot-fighting character from the Terminator films in Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Back In Time.
Buffy Henshaw - Buffy is an actress with multiple awards, including: an Aegis Award, a CINE Golden Eagle, a 2005 Inland Theatre League Award, a 2006 Inland Theatre League Award, two 2007 Inland Theatre League Awards, three 2007-2008 Season Footlighters Excellence Awards, and a Kids First "Best of Festival" award. Buffy provides voices for the episodes M51 & Gizmo, Dubya, and Psych Out. She also appears as a deluded film director in the episodes Behind the Scenes: When Galaxies Collide, Spitzer Space Telescope: The Musical, and Behind the Scenes: Dead Stars.
Casey McKinnon - Known for her work on web series Galacticast and A Comicbook Orange, Casey stars in the episode Fusion vs. Fission.
Ellen McLain - A voice actress well known for her role as GLaDOS in the Portal videogame series. She provides the voice of NOTGLaDOS in the episode Fusion vs. Fission.
Amy Okuda - Known for her role in the comedy series The Guild, Amy appears as a fictional version of herself in the episode Spaceship Spitzer: Bots of Both Worlds.
Sandeep Parikh - Famous for starring in The Guild as well as creating, directing, writing, and producing The Legend of Neil, Sandeep plays a fictional version of himself in the episode Behind the Scenes: Dead Stars.
Tom Phillips - Tom appears as "Flunky #2" (as well as additional Flunkies) in the episodes Behind the Scenes: When Galaxies Collide, Spitzer Space Telescope: The Musical, Behind the Scenes: Dead Stars, Big Bang: The Musical, and Fusion vs. Fission.
Mike Romo - A Los Angeles-based actor & a regular writer for the iFanboy audio podcast, Mike stars in the episode Fusion vs. Fission.
Dean Stockwell - Recently known for playing an evil cylon robot on Battlestar Galactica, Dean lends a sympathetic ear to the evil robots in Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Back In Time.
George Takei - Well known as Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek, in addition to well-loved recurring appearances on Heroes, the Howard Stern Show, and more, George appears as a fictional version of himself in the episode Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Gravity & the Great Attractor.
Danny Tieger - A singer/songwriter living in the Los Angeles area, Danny is a prolific writer of science-based songs, among other music. He composed the themes for, and stars in, the episodes Spitzer Space Telescope: The Musical and Big Bang: The Musical.
Alan Tudyk - Known for his live-action roles in Firefly and Suburgatory, and an expansive list of voice roles including in Wreck-It Ralph, Alan voices the titular microbe in the episode Ask an Astronomy Brain Parasite.
Osa Wallander - An independent film actress, and the winner of a Best Actress award at the 2007 Shockerfest Film Festival, Osa appears in the episodes Part Two and Ask an Astronomy Brain Parasite.
Ed Wasser - Famous for his recurring role as the sinister Mr. Morden on Babylon 5, as well as other film & TV appearances, Ed is credited as the voice role of robot IR-2 in the Robot Astronomy Talk Show series beginning with episode 8. He also appears as robot IR-2 in the episode Spaceship Spitzer: Bots of Both Worlds.
Wil Wheaton - Starring in Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Guild, and current recurring roles on Eureka and The Big Bang Theory, Wil appears in a dual role in the episode "Spaceship Spitzer: Bots of Both Worlds": as both himself and the voice of robot co-pilot Irwin. Wil next appears as "The Physician" in the Doctor Who spoof "Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Destroyer of Worlds", and cameos in the episode "Ask an Astronomy Brain Parasite".
Betty White - A celebrated actress for over 50 years, Betty's filmography includes the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Golden Girls, Boston Legal, and many more films & TV shows too numerous to count. Betty voices a fictional version of herself in the episode Part Two.
Tim Pyle - director/co-creator/writer/animator/music composer/producer (2008–present) - Tim worked for 10 years as an animator in the visual effects industry, including on the cult-favorite Invader Zim. Other projects include the Academy Award nominated Jimmy Neutron, Emmy nominated series Starship Troopers: the Series, and the Emmy winning Children of Dune. He has personally won two Aegis Awards, a Telly Award, a CINE Golden Eagle, and 2006 & 2008 NASA awards for producing CG animation. He was the writer and director of Decaying Orbit, a sci-fi DVD feature.
Kenneth Kolb - producer (2009–present) - Kenneth worked 10 years with the Walt Disney Company including Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, and as a coordinator for the Disney Channel. He has worked as the CFO of the Kendrea International Corporation for the past five years, produced several indie short films, and also currently works as a producer for Hogofilm, where he assisted with the production of the feature film Decaying Orbit. He began co-producing IRrelevant Astronomy starting with the episodes released in April 2009.
Dr. Carolyn Brinkworth - science writer (2013–present) - Carolyn is a professional astronomer and educator. She graduated from the University of Southampton (U.K.) with her PhD in Astrophysics in 2005, and moved to Caltech, where she now works as the Education and Outreach Scientist for a number of NASA missions. She has been involved in education and public outreach for 15 years, since working at the U.K.‘s National Space Center in Leicester as an undergraduate, and is now studying for her MA in Education from Claremont Graduate University. In her spare time, Carolyn volunteers with The Trevor Project.
Jim Keller - co-creator/writer/producer (2008-2009, 2013) - Jim is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA, and the Actors' Equity Association, having appeared in shows like Days of our Lives and Melrose Place. His work on NASA's Ask an Astronomer video podcast series has won a Silver Telly Award, a Bronze Telly Award, an Aegis Award, and two Aegis Finalists. Additional awards include an Aegis Award and a CINE Golden Eagle.
Austin Wintory - music composer (2008-2009) - Austin is a music composer for film, TV, and video games. He composed the score for Captain Abu Raed, a multiple award-winning film including the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. The film has been submitted by the Kingdom of Jordan for a 2009 Foreign Language Oscar. Austin also composed the score to Sony's Flow video game and expansion packs for the Sony PlayStation 3 & PSP, which earned strong reviews for the quality of music.
Ask an Astronomy Brain Parasite: (1 episode) Deep inside an astronomer's head, a parasite taps into his brain to learn about science.
Astronomy Anemone: (1 episode) A giant, surly man-eating sea anemone hosts an astronomy-themed talk show.
The Musical: (2 episodes) Mini-musicals, using song to teach astronomy concepts.
Behind the Scenes: (2 episodes) A mock behind-the-scenes look at the production of an educational video.
Part Two: (1 episode) A spoof of old action TV shows. The bulk of the episode shows scenes from a fictitious first episode that never existed, followed by a quick conclusion that appears to wrap everything up neatly.
Psych Out: (1 episode) A short about an astronomer visiting a therapist and taking a Rorschach-type inkblot test using images from the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Robot Astronomy Talk Show: (11 episodes) A series about robots who want to rule the Universe, while producing a talk show featuring interviews with celebrities and astronomers.
Dub'ya: (1 episode) An old movie is edited down and re-dubbed with dialogue about current Spitzer Space Telescope science.
Spaceship Spitzer: (3 episodes) Spitzer astronomer Dr. Michelle Thaller travels with a robot pilot in a spaceship based on the design of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Integrating live action and CG animation, there are currently two episodes: "Enemy Mine" and "The Slowlian Web."
M51 & Gizmo: (1 episode) Innocent alien M51 accidentally unleashes havoc on the planet Earth, and learns about how life exists in the Universe.
Skinfrared: (2 episodes) A series of direct educational narratives about infrared as it relates to the human body. Originally screened as part of the 2007 "Skin Festival" in Pasadena, CA.
Fusion vs. Fission: (1 episode) Spoofing GLaDOS from the videogame series Portal, a description of nuclear fusion in the Sun.
On October 19, 2008, IRrelevant Astronomy was nominated for "Best Technology/Science Podcast" at the 2008 Podcast Awards. It was one of 10 finalists in this category following a nomination process that included 281,000 votes. In October 2009, the IRrelevant Astronomy episode "Psych Out" was an official selection at the 2nd annual Imagine Science Film Festival. The IRrelevant Astronomy episode "M51 & Gizmo" has previously won multiple awards including an Aegis Award, CINE Golden Eagle, and winning a "Best of Festival" award at the Kids First Film Festival.