JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) The moons of Jupiter have been at the forefront of astronomy since Galileo discovered them in 1610. At the time, using his primitive homemade telescope, he could see nothing more than four "stars" moving oddly around the planet. Little did he know that those fours stars, would turn out to … Continue reading 4 things to watch in space and astronomy in 2023
What is an Exoplanet?
30 years ago we knew for certain of 8 planets in the Solar System. On the 9th January 1992, the first confirmed planet orbiting another star was announced. A planet orbiting another star is called an exoplanet. Their discovery changed the way we think about the universe. Overnight it was proven that our solar system … Continue reading What is an Exoplanet?
Perseverance’s 7 Minutes of Terror
This Thursday (18th Feb), if everything goes smoothly, NASA's Perseverance Rover will touch down on the surface of Mars. The landing sequence required to get it safely to the surface is like something from science fiction. It is a complex landing sequence, made all the more difficult by the fact that real time communication with … Continue reading Perseverance’s 7 Minutes of Terror
Distances in Space
Space is big, really big, way bigger than any of us can really comprehend. On Earth, we use measurements such as metres and kilometres. These will be sufficient for some features on the planets and moon or moons like craters and mountains. Consider the distance from the Sun to Neptune which is about 4,498,396,441 km. … Continue reading Distances in Space
Could There Be Life On Venus?
Today, 14th September 2020, the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) held a virtual press conference via Zoom for what could be one of the most significant discoveries in decades. A group of researchers from MIT, the University of Manchester and University of Cardiff have found a gas called phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. They made … Continue reading Could There Be Life On Venus?
Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover
Last week, the latest NASA mission to Mars, the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover, launched successfully from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Over the next 7 months, the rover will make its way to the Red Planet. It will land in Jezero crater on 18th February 2021. The mission is known as Mars 2020, due to … Continue reading Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover
If we think back to 2005, Pluto was the 9th planet from the Sun and we knew very little about it. It was a dark distant dot far out in the Solar System. Now, Pluto has been reclassified as a Dwarf Planet. Until 2015, the best we could do is generate computer models of the … Continue reading Pluto
Neptune is the eighth and last planet in the Solar System. It is smaller than Uranus and is distinctly blue in colour. Neptune as seen by Voyager 2 in 1998 Credit: NASA Neptune is an ice giant, similar to Uranus, with its atmosphere containing mainly hydrogen, helium and some methane. It orbits the Sun once … Continue reading Neptune
Uranus is the sixth planet on our journey through the Solar System. It is a featureless planet and it is known as an ice giant. The reason it is called an ice giant as opposed to a gas giant like Jupiter and Saturn, is that while the planet is composed of mostly hydrogen and helium, … Continue reading Uranus
Saturn- The Lord of the Rings
Saturn is one of the most beautiful planets. It has spectacular rings, or as Galileo described them, ears. Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest in our Solar System. Saturn Approach by Voyager in 1992 Cedit: NASA Saturn is named after the Roman god of wealth and agriculture. Similar to … Continue reading Saturn- The Lord of the Rings