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Skywatching

A celestial crab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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,...

Black holes shred stars

Black holes shred stars

Oct 4, 2019 / 11:00 am

The term "tidal disruption event" or TDE must be one of the biggest cosmic euphemisms around. This is what we say is happening when a star is being...

Visitors from beyond

Visitors from beyond

Sep 27, 2019 / 11:00 am

Every year, we can count on a comet or two visiting our neighbourhood in the solar system. For a few weeks these objects can be the most spectacular objects in...

A warm, wet world

A warm, wet world

Sep 20, 2019 / 11:00 am

Bizarre exoplanets — planets orbiting other stars — are interesting in that they help us understand how planetary systems form and how they work....

A world of extremes

A world of extremes

Sep 13, 2019 / 6:00 am

Hal Clement, a well-known science fiction writer, had a very particular story theme. He imagined bizarre worlds with extreme conditions, such as gravitational...

Heating up the Earth

Heating up the Earth

Sep 6, 2019 / 11:00 am

If, on a clear, sunny day you hold up a one-metre-square, flat piece of black cardboard to the sun, the cardboard will rapidly become very hot. That is because...

Mission to Europa

Mission to Europa

Aug 30, 2019 / 6:00 am

When the Voyager spacecraft sent back the first close-up images of Jupiter's moon Europa, we all had a shock. It looked nothing like what we expected. Until...

Flashes from the sky

Flashes from the sky

Aug 23, 2019 / 11:00 am

Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are among the most puzzling things in modern astronomy. From some place in the sky, there is a sudden flash of radio emission,...

Search for aliens

Search for aliens

Aug 16, 2019 / 11:00 am

On page 190 of the Observer's Book of Astronomy, published in 1962, author Patrick Moore wrote about Mars: "The planet cannot be regarded as...

Star light, stars very bright

Star light, stars very bright

Aug 9, 2019 / 11:00 am

During clear evenings at this time of year, almost overhead you'll see the bright, bluish star Vega. Now, scan westward to find the bright, orange star...

Earth having meteor shower

Earth having meteor shower

Aug 2, 2019 / 6:00 am

We are about to pass through a stream of meteoric material once again. Most of it is made up of dust and sand grain sized particles of rock or ice, but there...

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