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Skywatching

A hole in time and space

Apr 22, 2019 / 11:00 am

We have just seen released one of the most important astronomical images in years: an image of a black hole. It shows a black, circular blob surrounded by a...

Searching for aliens

Apr 13, 2019 / 11:00 am

Our planet is surrounded by a sphere of radio waves. That sphere is expanding at the speed of light and now has a radius of about 100 light years. A light year...

Space: the final frontier?

Apr 6, 2019 / 3:00 pm

Somebody described space as what stops everything from being in the same place. For a long time that is exactly how we saw it — a void, nothingness, with...

Super-sized solar storms

Mar 30, 2019 / 11:00 am

On March 10, 1989, there was an explosion on the sun. It catapulted a large mass of hot solar plasma off into space at thousands of kilometres a second. In the...

Working on the moon

Mar 25, 2019 / 10:00 am

One day, we will have observatories on the moon. Since the moon has no atmosphere, they will encounter no cloudy nights and all the cosmically interesting...

Back to the moon

Mar 16, 2019 / 11:00 am

After many years, we are on our way back to the moon. Moreover Canada will be part of it. There are many reasons to be excited about the prospect. It marks a...

Storms rage on Jupiter

Mar 9, 2019 / 11:05 am

In 1979, the two Voyager spacecraft flew past Jupiter on their way to the outer solar system. As they shot past, they sent back images of enormous storms. Now...

Women stars of astronomy

Mar 2, 2019 / 11:00 am

Beatrix Potter was interested in the natural sciences and wanted to be a botanist. However, in 19th Century England, it was nearly impossible for women to break...

Over the moon

Feb 25, 2019 / 11:00 am

One of the images sent back by the Chinese Longjiang-2 spacecraft shows the far side of the moon, a monochrome, heavily cratered disc, and in the distance the...

Starry senior citizen

Feb 16, 2019 / 11:04 am

Among the stars of our galaxy, the Milky Way, there is a small, dim red star that is attracting a lot of interest. It is only about 14 per cent of the mass of...

An old, far-flung rock

Feb 9, 2019 / 1:18 pm

Our Earth, along with the other bodies in the solar system, formed some 4.5 billion years ago from the collapse of a cloud of gas and dust. Tiny bits collided...

Rivers run through Titan

Feb 2, 2019 / 6:00 am

Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is, like Earth, a world with an atmosphere, rivers, lakes and seas. However, lying almost 10 times the Earth's distance...

Dancing with the bear

Jan 28, 2019 / 11:00 am

Ursa Major, The Great Bear, is a big constellation. It fills a substantial chunk of the northern sky and looks like a large animal, maybe something like a bear....

Clicks from space

Jan 19, 2019 / 11:00 am

Over the last week or two, we have all enjoyed the media reports describing "fast radio bursts" or FRBs, observed with the new CHIME (Canadian...

Into the unknown

Jan 14, 2019 / 11:00 am

On New Year's Day, the New Horizons spacecraft had a close look at the most distant object yet explored, a snowman-shaped lump of ice and rock known as...

Water, water everywhere

Jan 5, 2019 / 12:24 pm

Thirty-some years ago, one of my radio astronomy colleagues at NRC pronounced that "One way or another he was going to detect water on Mars.” This...

Long trip away from home

Dec 22, 2018 / 11:00 am

In 2013, Voyager 1 left the solar system, moving at around 62,000 km/h. In the last few weeks, Voyager 2 followed. They bear messages to any alien civilizations...

Winter solstice is coming

Dec 14, 2018 / 11:00 am

At 22:23 Universal Time Dec. 21, that is 14:23 PST, the sun will reach the southernmost point in its yearly travels across our skies; the winter solstice. We...

Binoculars for Christmas

Dec 8, 2018 / 11:00 am

Every astronomer, young or old, beginner or experienced should have a good pair of binoculars, maybe more than one. They can be used for a short bit of...

Looking into a star

Nov 30, 2018 / 3:12 pm

Virtual reality (VR) is radically changing the way we do science. For example, this is an experience I had at a recent solar conference. I put on the headset,...

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