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Thursday December 4th 2014

‘News Item of the Week’ Archives

A Sense of Planetary Scale

A Sense of Planetary Scale

A great video showing what it would be like if different planets in out solar system shared an orbit with our Moon. Scale from Brad Goodspeed on Vimeo.

Phil Plait’s Bad Universe

Phil Plait’s Bad Universe

If you like Astronomy then you have probably heard about the "Bad Astronomer" Phil Plait. Phil is a skeptic and a scientist who spends some of his time debunking half truths and myths and tries to set the record straight in a fun sort of way. Well I'm a fan! So I thought I would point out that he has just announced a new series which premieres [...]

2010 Perseids over the VLT

2010 Perseids over the VLT

Source, ESO VLT Picture of the week: Despite the Perseids being best visible in the northern hemisphere, due to the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle's orbit, the shower was also spotted from the exceptionally dark skies over ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. In order not to miss any meteors in the display, ESO Photo Ambassador Stéphane Guisard [...]

World’s Biggest Telescope to be Located on Armazones, Chile

World’s Biggest Telescope to be Located on Armazones, Chile

On 26 April 2010, the ESO Council selected Cerro Armazones as the baseline site for the planned 42-metre European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Cerro Armazones is a mountain at an altitude of 3060 metres in the central part of Chile’s Atacama Desert, some 130 kilometres south of the town of Antofagasta and about 20 kilometres from Cerro [...]

Saturn’s Rings – Up close

Saturn’s Rings – Up close

There are a number of sources of fantastic images these days, Hubble, HiRISE and Cassini. Here is another gorgeous  natural color view of  gradations in the transparency of Saturn's inner rings taken by the Cassini spacecraft.  We can see the myriad of dark shadows of the rings separate Saturn's southern hemisphere in the bottom of the image [...]

Symphony of Science latest release

Finding new ways to deliver scientific content is tough, but here again John Boswell from Symphony of Science delivers. Recently released, "The Poetry of Reality", is a collection of  thoughts from 12 scientists offering their perspective on science. The collection now stands at 5 Music Videos, and all are well worth a watch.

Happy Astronomical Valentine’s Day

Happy Astronomical Valentine’s Day

There is a term called Pareidolia which is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.  The face on Mars is another [...]

Betelgeuse in unprecedented detail

Betelgeuse in unprecedented detail

Betelgeuse is one of my favourite stars. Firstly it is easily identifiable as part of the Orion constellation and secondly did you know that it is actually the destination star for the original Planet of the Apes novel (in French by the way!). But on a more serious note it is a  semiregular variable star located approximately 640 light-years from [...]

Cassini spies Saturn’s Northern Lights

Cassini spies Saturn’s Northern Lights

Nasa have recently released a nice false color short video taken by Cassini of Saturn's northern lights. The images were taken over 81 hours in black and white and colored orange to enhance them from the background of space. The aurora is high above the northern part of Saturn and moves from the night side to the day side of the [...]

Intersteller Travel – Story of the week

Intersteller Travel – Story of the week

Each week I select a paper from my news feed which I liked the most. This one just caught my imagination! Thinking hard about interstellar travel using existing or feasible technology. I'd love to see a craft sent to another star within a lifetime.  NASA may not have anything planned but the following article discusses the recent Icarus [...]

Communicating with distant stars using the Gravitational Lens – Story of the Week

Communicating with distant stars using the Gravitational Lens – Story of the Week

Each week I select a paper from my news feed which I liked the most. This one is a bit more technical than most but the idea is very interesting. This is an amazing technique which was recently used in the detection of an extra solar planet in the Andromeda galaxy.  There is a proposal to use the gravitational lens of a our Sun to help image [...]

NightSky: Story of the Week – Is Ares 1-X the right next step for NASA?

NightSky: Story of the Week – Is Ares 1-X the right next step for NASA?

Each week I pick out my favourite astronomy based news item. This week saw a lot of hype about the NASA Ares 1-x and how it was the next step in spacecraft technology set to improve NASA's ability to put payloads into low earth orbit, and potentially beyond.  However, not everyone believes this is the right focus for NASA as described by the [...]

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