Ian: Cool, I must admit though, I quite liked the Hawaii rainstorms. Great rainbows.
Grant: Local expression: No rain, no rainbows.
Ian: Hehe, true.
Are you ready for some questions to be thrown at you?
Grant: Sure, fire away.
Ian: Right, last year, I remember reading first about WR 104 and the potential danger it poses for Earth. A lot of it was media hype, but I found the science behind it fascinating.
How did you get into researching WR 104? Was it a well known star system before the concern that it was "facing right at us"?
Grant: I first got interested in Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars in general about 20 years ago while an undergraduate student. Over the years I was interested in various aspects of them and got interested in WR colliding wind systems almost 15 years ago.
I started observing WR 104 in 2001 shortly after some of the remarkable images of it were published that implied it was a colliding wind system. At that time it was immediately obvious that it appeared to be face-on, but the implications with regard to its possible future as a gamma-ray burst had not been discussed.