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Skywatching

Pulses from deep space

Feb 21, 2020 / 3:00 pm

In the 1930s, we first started running high power radio transmitters at wavelengths that can penetrate the ionosphere and escape out into space. So today, any...

How big is the universe?

Feb 14, 2020 / 11:00 am

This might sound like the ultimate unanswerable question, but thanks to astronomical knowledge accumulated over many centuries, and the power of modern...

Twisting space-time

Feb 7, 2020 / 11:00 am

Twenty or so years ago, the radio telescope at Parkes, Australia, found something unusual: a white dwarf star and a neutron star in close orbit around one...

The space junk hazard

Jan 31, 2020 / 11:00 am

Back in the late 1950s and early '60s, when our first artificial satellites were put into orbit, we didn't pay much attention to what went with them. ...

Living on the far side

Jan 24, 2020 / 11:00 am

The Earth's gravity pulls at the side of the moon closest to us more strongly than it pulls at the other side. Long ago, when the moon was still hot and...

Can we believe our eyes?

Jan 17, 2020 / 11:00 am

In some way or other, our eyes have been strongly involved in almost every scientific discovery we have ever made. Despite this they are pretty awful measuring...

Whistles from space

Jan 10, 2020 / 11:00 am

In midsummer, quite a few years ago now, an ionospheric physicist friend and I were in a car parked on a remote logging road in Algonquin Park, Ont. On the...

Beetle Juice will die soon

Jan 3, 2020 / 11:00 am

Orion, The Hunter is one of the most spectacular constellations in the winter sky. The easiest way to find it is to start at the brightest, fiercely sparkling...

A new sort of astronomy

Dec 27, 2019 / 6:00 am

As we sit on the threshold of a new decade, it is interesting to pick what was the most significant astronomical development of the last one. Considering what...

Tasting the water

Dec 20, 2019 / 11:00 am

One of the most ludicrous ways in which to encounter extraterrestrial life was in a comic I read a long, long time ago. The astronauts were on Mars, and an...

A celestial crab

Dec 13, 2019 / 5:11 pm

On dark nights this time of year, the southern sky contains one of the most fascinating objects in our galaxy, the Crab Nebula. This object is so intriguing and...

Telling aliens where we are

Dec 6, 2019 / 11:00 am

An alien spacecraft coming into the Solar System would have no trouble finding us. All they would need is a radio. For more than a century, we have been...

Binoculars for Christmas

Nov 29, 2019 / 11:00 am

The range of things available to backyard astronomers is now, er, astronomical. Choosing presents for the family astronomer is more complicated than ever. That...

Oxygen on Mars

Nov 22, 2019 / 11:00 am

The most powerful tool we have for searching for life on other worlds is to look for its chemical signatures in their atmospheres. There are chemicals that are...

Underground astronomy

Nov 15, 2019 / 6:00 am

We put our radio telescopes in valleys that screen them from manmade interference, but where there is a good view of the sky. Our optical telescopes get put in...

The universe has a skeleton

Nov 8, 2019 / 11:47 am

We have known about Dark Matter and Dark Energy for at least a decade, but, as yet, still have no idea what they are. To make the issue worse, these two...

Mercury transiting the sun

Nov 1, 2019 / 11:00 am

On Remembrance Day, Mercury, the closest known planet to the sun, will cross the solar disc. Observers will see a small, round disc move slowly across the sun...

Double star on Luke's world

Oct 25, 2019 / 11:00 am

There is a scene in the first Star Wars movie where, on the desert planet Tatooine, Luke Skywalker watches the setting of twin suns. Was this scene realistic?...

When is the moon full?

Oct 18, 2019 / 1:00 pm

If you have never watched the full moon rising above the hills on the other side of a lake, you really need to do something about that. It is beautiful and...

Saturn is the moon king

Oct 11, 2019 / 11:00 am

Researchers using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii have found 20 more moons orbiting Saturn. This brings the total orbiting the planet to 82, overtaking Jupiter,...

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