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Skywatching

Another near miss

Jun 14, 2019 / 11:00 am

This autumn, we will have a close encounter with asteroid 2006 QV89. At its closest, it is estimated to be about 6.7 million kilometres away (around 17 times...

Our debt to starlight

Jun 7, 2019 / 3:55 pm

Everything we have ever seen, we have seen by starlight. During the day, our surroundings are lit by the sun, a yellow dwarf star. On a clear night, we can see...

How big is the universe?

May 31, 2019 / 3:00 pm

The universe has been described as a tremendous amount of space, which we are still trying to understand, contaminated with traces of gas and dust, in the form...

ALMA is a winner

May 24, 2019 / 6:00 am

Despite its austere beauty, the Atacama Plateau in Chile is one of the least hospitable places on Earth. It is a 1,000-kilometre strip of land west of the Andes...

Drowning in data

May 17, 2019 / 11:19 am

That recent successful experiment to image a black hole produced an enormous amount of data. It all had to be shipped to the processing facility; there was far...

Canada got there first

May 10, 2019 / 11:00 am

n the 1960s, Canada was the first country to successfully use a radio telescope thousands of kilometres in diameter. A technique was developed to make multiple...

Dark energy matters

May 6, 2019 / 11:00 am

Until very recently, one of the wry jokes about fast radio bursts (FRBs) is that the number of theories attempting to explain them was bigger than the number of...

Cosmic dust in your eyes

Apr 29, 2019 / 3:00 pm

Dust might not sound like a very exciting subject compared with, say, black holes, but actually it is. Not only is it the raw material for making new planets,...

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...

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