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Close-up of Comet 67P

Bouncing boulders on Comet 67P

A 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko update by Melanie Davies FRAS In September 2019, at a major planetary sciences conference (EPSC-DPS), scientists lead by Jean-Baptiste Vincent presented evidence of curious bouncing boulders on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. EPSC-DPS is the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division of Planetary Sciences, and last year was held in Geneva,Continue reading “Bouncing boulders on Comet 67P”

Looking East: The rise of the Chinese Space Programme

Melanie Davies looks back at ancient Chinese rocketry and delves into the impressive emergence of the space industry in China Some might argue that the birth of the space age can be traced back to 3rd century China when the word ‘rocket’ first appeared during the Three Kingdoms period (220 – 280). In 228 theContinue reading “Looking East: The rise of the Chinese Space Programme”

A new Saturnian hexagon high above the clouds

Using data captured by the Cassini spacecraft, scientists working at the University of Leicester have recently detected a high-altitude hexagonal feature, towering high above the clouds. As part of a long-term study, they discovered a North Polar Stratospheric Vortex (NPSV). This newly discovered detail, abundant in hydrocarbons, could be influenced by a much larger featureContinue reading “A new Saturnian hexagon high above the clouds”

Announcing an all new workshop: Digital Cosmos

A new workshop for the new academic year; Digital Cosmos combines science, technology and art (the S, T and A in STEAM!). Using computers, iPads and mobile phones, participants in this educational workshop will learn about astronomy whilst improving their IT, literacy and numeracy skills. The workshop integrates different activities using varied digital media. It’sContinue reading “Announcing an all new workshop: Digital Cosmos”

The Rainbow Star

A sensory astronomy show for babies and toddlers

Using an awesome fulldome film created by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, Creative Space has developed a planetarium show suitable for little people as young as 6 months old. Amanda Twyman, PA to the Head of Early Years at Hazelwood School Nursery & Early Years Centre in Oxted, Surrey, challenged us with the task of creating a show thatContinue reading “A sensory astronomy show for babies and toddlers”

Supernova

Cosmic twins

Supernova pairs have been used to accurately measure cosmological distances. Within the last 20 years, astronomers have discovered that the Universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate due to dark energy. One technique used to detect this increase is to measure the distances to bright supernovae. Only a Type 1a supernova is used forContinue reading “Cosmic twins”

Star Map

Star maps

This is one of a series of star maps I’ve just produced for a Stargazing Guide. This will be printed at a fairly tiny size, so I had to limit the amount of detail I put into the illustrations. Leaving things out was the hardest part of this job – especially when there are so manyContinue reading “Star maps”

Rosetta: The comet chaser

There are not many space missions that have touched the hearts and minds of people throughout the world as much as Rosetta. Named after the Rosetta Stone – a slab of volcanic basalt responsible for revealing the mysteries of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics – this intrepid comet chaser has inspired a generation of science explorers, uncovering mysteries bound up in its icy companion, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Close encounter of the first kind

Finally, a much-anticipated astronomical event that didn’t leave us disappointed! The close encounter of Comet Siding Spring with Mars on 19th October 2014 resulted in some great imagery and, hopefully, some interesting science to come. Siding Spring passed a mere 87,000 miles above the red planet: less than half the distance between the Earth andContinue reading “Close encounter of the first kind”

The Eleven Dwarfs

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) caused a cosmic stir when it kicked Pluto out of the planet gang, demoting it to ‘dwarf planet’ status. The decision by the IAU – the body responsible for naming and categorising astronomical objects – was, and still is, hotly contested.

Strange New Worlds

Until fairly recently, it was generally thought (and taught) that the planets in our solar system were formed more or less where they currently reside on their solar orbits. Within the the last few decades, planetary scientists have had to re-think this theory.

Harvest Moon

This is September’s Harvest Moon; the full Moon associated with bringing in the harvest as the fullness of the moon, and therefore its brightness, appears to last for several days.

Enceladus

Is chemical evolution underway on Enceladus?

Many hypotheses abound regarding the conditions under which life began on Earth, and many origin scientists have compared these scenarios with conditions on other worlds with the hope of discovering extraterrestrial life. As space science and technology surge ever forward, the possibilities for life developing elsewhere within the Solar System – and beyond – continueContinue reading “Is chemical evolution underway on Enceladus?”

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