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Skywatching

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,...

One-eye closed method

Nov 24, 2018 / 11:00 am

When we first rode in a car or train, one thing that we immediately noticed was that things nearby flash past while distant things move through our field of...

Solar wind a brisk breeze

Nov 19, 2018 / 11:00 am

Whether we have been lucky enough to see a total eclipse of the sun, or have just seen pictures, the most striking thing is the pearly, streamers and loops of...

Using radio to see the sky

Nov 10, 2018 / 11:00 am

As you come onto our observatory site, you get a good view of the assortment of antennas that act as the signal collectors for our radio telescopes. In front...

Redder than red

Nov 5, 2018 / 11:00 am

In the 18th Century, Isaac Newton passed white light through a prism, splitting it into a rainbow of colours. This happened because the different wavelengths of...

Birth of a planet

Oct 27, 2018 / 3:00 pm

Although we have a pretty good idea how stars and planets form, we have only now got our first image of a newborn planet. This image was obtained by astronomers...

Hopping on an asteroid

Oct 22, 2018 / 11:00 am

Last summer a spacecraft arrived at the 900-metre diameter asteroid Ryugu, and deployed landers on its surface. The gravity of that small body is far too weak...

Life on Mars

Oct 12, 2018 / 11:00 am

One day, we will be living on Mars, either as visitor explorers and scientists, or as colonists. It might take a while, but if the will is there, our technology...

Sand dunes have a story

Oct 8, 2018 / 11:00 am

All of us, either in desert movies like David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, or in real life have seen sand dunes. They look like huge waves or crescents, up to...

Black hole of Huge Data

Sep 29, 2018 / 3:00 pm

We now live in an age of Big Data. Once we developed the technologies for handling and storing huge amounts of information, we went on to collect more and more...

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