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
Category: The Solar System
The Great Conjunction of 2020
2020 has certainly been the year of once in a lifetime events! This December 21st will be your chance to witness another. A planetary conjunction is when two planets appear next to each other in the sky. This year, Jupiter and Saturn will come together in the sky to form what is being called "The … Continue reading The Great Conjunction of 2020
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
Comet NEOWISE update
Comet NEOWISE is continuing to improve is the sky in Ireland. It is continuing to rise in the sky, and is still visible in the northwest once the sky has gotten dark. It is one of the best comets I have seen! It will continue to get closer to the Earth and make it's closest … Continue reading Comet NEOWISE update
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
You may have heard about comet Neowise that has been visible in the skies above Ireland recently. Comet C2020 F3 NEOWISE was discovered by the NEOWISE spacecraft on 27th March 2020. It made it’s closest approach to the Sun on 3rd of July 2020 and since emerging from the encounter with the Sun, has become … Continue reading Comet NEOWISE