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Skywatching

Big sky astronomy

Sep 1, 2018 / 1:00 pm

In the past, most radio astronomy consisted of pointing the instrument at the right place in the sky. Most cosmic objects change little over a human lifetime....

Life needs a sun like ours

Aug 27, 2018 / 11:00 am

Current thinking is that here on Earth, chemical-based life, like ours, started in bodies of water, muddy waterside places or on slimy rocks. Organic molecules...

Getting close to the sun

Aug 18, 2018 / 11:34 am

We are seriously interested in understanding the sun for two reasons. First, it is the only star in the universe that is close enough to study in fine detail....

Lake under Martian ice cap?

Aug 13, 2018 / 11:00 am

In 1993, a huge lake of liquid water was detected under Earth’s Antarctic ice. It lay some four kilometres below the surface of the ice, and 500 metres...

Close encounter with Mars

Aug 4, 2018 / 11:00 am

We are now having a close encounter with Mars. The planet rises as a brilliant reddish lamp in the southeastern sky around 10 p.m. It's clear why Mars is...

To the stars

Jul 28, 2018 / 3:00 pm

Although we have no technologies that can get us to the stars in a human lifetime, our science fiction writers have been out there among the stars for decades....

Universe's speed limit

Jul 21, 2018 / 11:00 am

The fastest manmade object is the Juno spacecraft, which reached a speed of about 265,000 km/h. At that speed, we could get to the moon in about 90 minutes,...

Dust in the Martian wind

Jul 16, 2018 / 1:00 pm

One of the most fascinating videos sent back by the Curiosity rover, currently exploring the surface of Mars, shows a number of dust storms marching across the...

Lights in the sky

Jul 9, 2018 / 3:00 pm

One night, some years ago I had a phone call from a rather worried-sounding man. He lived a few kilometres to the north of where I live. He said that his...

Signs of life

Jun 30, 2018 / 3:00 pm

In the shallow waters of Shark Bay, Australia are strange, mushroom-shaped rocks, called stromatolites. These are produced by living creatures. Millions of...

Little green men

Jun 23, 2018 / 1:00 pm

In 1967, Cambridge graduate student Jocelyn Bell was investigating how the solar wind makes distant radio sources twinkle. These observations can tell us how...

Size matters in telescopes

Jun 16, 2018 / 3:00 pm

During the last two or three decades, the progress made in development of new astronomical instrumentation has been nothing short of stunning. We can make...

The northern lights

Jun 9, 2018 / 11:00 am

My very first encounter with an aurora was in England, before I came to Canada, at the house of a radio amateur. He was communicating by sending shortwave...

Interstellar visitors

Jun 2, 2018 / 3:00 pm

Last year, an asteroid from interstellar space flew through our Solar System and is now on its way back out into the space between the stars. Now, astronomers...

Solar flares

May 26, 2018 / 11:00 am

The Sun has many times demonstrated its power to disrupt our power, communication and transportation infrastructure, and to cause problems for many aspects of...

Another near miss

May 19, 2018 / 1:00 pm

By the time you read this, asteroid 2010 WC9 will have passed the Earth at around 12.8 kilometres a second (46,000 kilometres an hour), at a distance of roughly...

Fly me to the moon

May 12, 2018 / 11:00 am

This is the first time I have had the opportunity to squeeze one of my favourite jazz titles into an astronomy article. Considering the rigours of the journey...

Cosmic collisions

May 5, 2018 / 3:00 pm

All telescopes on Earth are limited to seeing what the atmosphere lets through. For looking at short-wavelength radio waves — millimetre waves, we choose...

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