Comet ISON Update: The Latest News & Photos
by Andrew Symes, Ottawa, 7th May 2013
Discovered in September, 2012, Comet C/2012 SI ISON is just a few months away from its rendezvous with the inner solar system. Since its discovery and our initial article in October 2012, the comet has been photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope and we know a lot more about this potentially exciting object. [Read more...]
Mankind's Need For Speed
by ActiveAstro, London, 22nd March 2013
On Earth the most efficient way to travel between two points is in a straight line, but in space it's achieved by increasing the circle of your orbit around Earth until it stretches into a giant ellipse that encompasses the planet or moon to which you intend travelling. This can also involve using the mass of other solar system bodies to pull on the spacecraft and give you a 'gravitational assist' and speed you up.
But there must be ways to get to the planets much quicker than we do now? So, what's in the pipe-line and what has history already taught us about our pursuit of ever more speed? [Read more...]
The First Great Comet of 2013
by ActiveAstro, London, 10th March 2013
Get the most out of this great event and enjoy the first of three comets that should be visible in 2013! [Read more]
Mars Was Once a Habitable Planet
by Zantippy, Florida, 15th March 2013
This is the first place away from Earth ever to be confirmed as a place where life could have possibly had a place to survive [Read more...]
The First Great Comet of 2013 is Almost Here
by Andrew Symes, Ottawa, 23rd February 2013
In March, Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) should become visible to the naken eye low in the western sky at dusk.
Looking For the Conditions For Life on Mars & the Gas Giants' Moons
by Zantippy Skiphop, Florida, 10th February 2013
But if you're impatient for Curiosity to make more exciting finds, she still has a lot more diverse areas to explore. And if you find it more exciting to explore for present-day life off our Earth, you'll love the astrobiological potential on Mars and the plans to explore some outer-planet moons. [Read more...]
2012 DA14 the very Near Earth Asteroid
by Active Astro, London, 28th January 2012
For stargazers, there was a big show to watch on the evening of the 15th February 2013, as a chuck of primordial rock from the early days of the solar system, some 4.5 billion years old, made a really close pass of planet Earth.
When I say 'really close', I mean really really close because this was the closest flyby of natural space debris that any human has ever witnessed. Here's how it went. [Read more...]
Post Tunguska & Chelyabinsk - The Asteroid Lottery!
by Active Astro, London, 31st January 2012
As Russia witnessed another close call on the same day asteroid 2012 DA14 buzzed the Earth beneath the orbits of some satellites, here's a few facts about asteroid impacts past, present & future. [Read more...]
Imaging the Lakes on Titan in High-Resolution
by David Bood & Active Astro, UK, 3rd January 2013
Recent Cassini spacecraft images from a fly over of the northern regions on the largest of Saturn's moons, Titan are in. These high-resolution images beamed back to Cassini mission control in Pasadena, Califormia, revealed a 'Nile'-like river flowing into a large sea.
From the images and radar data, scientists have concluded that the river is filled with liquid hydrocarbons rather than water. [Read more...]
The Loss of a National Treasure
by Active Astro, London, 9th December 2012.
Few people have attained his iconic status - a consequence of his relentless devotion to astronomy outreach and his constant presence on the BBC's flagship astronomy programme, The Sky at Night. [Read more...]
NASA's Big Announcement - An Update
by Active Astronomy Mars Correspondent, Zantippy, Florida, 30th November 2012
When National Public Radio reported on November 20 that data from a Martian soil sample had been described as “one for the history books”, anyone with an ear towards Curiosity thought that this data must be something pretty big. But it was the word “earthshaking” that tilted reactions from perked-up interest to expectations of something momentous. [Read more...]
Are NASA Teasing Us Before the Announcement of the Discovery of Life on Mars?
by Active Astronomy Mars Correspondent, Zantippy, Florida, 20th November 2012
"We're getting data... as we speak, and the data looks really interesting... This data is going to be one for the history books. It's looking really good." [Read more...]
A Total Solar Eclipse We Can All Enjoy
by Active Astronomy writer Andrew Symes, Ottowa, 10th November 2012
On November 13/14th 2012, Northeastern Australia will be treated to a 2 minute long total solar eclipse.
But even if you aren't one of the lucky ones able to witness the event in person, you'll be able to see it online - you just need to to know when and where to watch!
Andrew shows you how you can enjoy this - and future - incredible events, wherever you are in the world.
Exploring Environments Never Seen on Earth Before, And What This May Mean For Life on Europa
by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy, Florida, 27th October 2012
A Promising Comet for 2013?
by Active Astronomy writer Andrew Symes, Ottowa, 13th October 2012
Right now Comet ISON is a tiny, dim dot visible in only the largest telescopes. Its orbit, however, is similar to that of the Great Comet of 1680 which put on a spectacular show in that year with a magnitude of +2 and a tail some 15 degrees long. But what can we expect from Comet ISON next year and what can we know this early on?
New Possibilities for Life on Mars - A Geological Perspective
by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy, Florida, 28th September 2012
Mars Science Laboratory rover 'Curiosity' has found a dry stream bed on Mars.
This is the first time that a rover has found a Martian geologic feature that seems so Earth-like in terms of flowing liquid water and it opens up new possibilities in considering what kind of potential life may have inhabited Mars in the past.
The Most Advanced Study of Mars
by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy, Florida, 20th September 2012
Curiosity then set off again towards Glenelg, a site which has rocks that are thought to have been formed in watery conditions. Examining water-formed minerals is what Curiosity's mission is all about, since those minerals could possibly show a past habitable environment for microbes!
by Active Astronomy writer Andrew Symes, Ottowa, 30th August 2012
Why is there so much confusion? It turns out that there are two equally valid definitions of a 'blue moon' - neither of which have anything to do with its colour.
The Data From Mars (and Bradbury Landing) Pours In
by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy Skiphop, Florida, 27th August 2012
In the past week, Curiosity has analysed rocks at two different spots, flexed her arm to get it ready for field geology in the desert, test drove her six wheels, shot neutrons into the ground and gulped down Martian air. And Curiosity's landing site has now officially been named 'Bradbury Landing', by NASA, after science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who inspired so many Mars explorers
The Retirement of Venerable Telescopes from America's Arsenal: A Blow for Astronomy?
by Active Astronomy and Astronomy-Wise writer David Bood, Bridlington, 22nd August 2012
The proposal's aims are to help make way for new projects over the next decade, which includes state of the art facilities and mid-sized projects, but there will be winners and losers, with the review highlighting that funding for some facilities must be discontinued. [Read more...]
The Geological Analysis of Martian Rocks Begins! by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy Skiphop, Florida, 20th August 2012
Curiosity has blasted her first Martian rock! A small stone was picked as the first victim/recipient of Curiosity's laser, which is designed to target selected rocks and vaporize a spot into an ionic cloud, so that her onboard spectrometer can then analyze the chemical make-up on the rock
This is the first time a laser and spectrometer instrument of this kind has been use on another planet so, on Martian Sol 14/Earth day August 19th, the little rock called N165 made history. [Read more...]
Voyager Where Are You Now? by Astronomy-Wise writer David Bood, Bridlington, 8th August 2012
In a week which saw the Curiosity Rover grabbing all the headlines: spare a thought for the trailblazing Voyager spacecraft.At the end of July 2012 NASA reported that Voyager 1 was heading towards interstellar space, The Spacecraft , which is racing out into the galaxy, is continuing to provide NASA with useful data. [Read more...]
Curiosity Has Landed! by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy Skiphop, Florida, 6th August 2012
The mission control room at JPL was joyful all evening. It was almost a party atmosphere, with the team restraining themselves enough to do their job.
But just after 10:00pm, their smiles started looking more determined and forced, and there were patches of silence. They were waiting for 10:10pm, the time that Curiosity would be entering the atmosphere of Mars. The team knew that when this happened, they would still need to wait 14 minutes for the signal to arrive back on Earth to confirm entry and that while they waited, Curiosity was screeching through the Martian atmosphere to either crash or land. [Read more...]
Mars Curiosity Resources - How You Can Get Involoved! by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy Skiphop, Florida, 5th August 2012
Landing on Mars Sunday, August 5, 10:30pm, Pacific Daylight Time in the U.S. (the local time for JPL and the Curiosity teams on Earth). Here's how you can be part of the discoveries to come from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, the Curiosity rover. [Read more...]
Crashing Curiosity in Beta Shows What a Tough Job NASA Have to Avoid Doing the Same! by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy Skiphop, Florida, 4th August 2012
NASA's Unity 3D rover experience is still in its Beta stage, but who can wait when they have a chance to drive a virtual Martian rover?
I really wanted to experience driving Curiosity, and with Unity, driving the rover on Mars doesn't have to mean accepting a pick-up line by an engineer at Cal-Tech; I could safely virtually drive it on my own computer... and see what may be the first view Curiosity has when she opens her 'eyes'. [Read more...]
Here are some trusty tips for improving your odds of seeing and photographing an aurora over the next year [Read more...]
Be part of the mission: NASA Launches Video Games as Curiosity's Landing Nears! by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy Skiphop, Florida, 1st August 2012NASA will use social media and video games to help Curiosity's mission capture people's hearts [Read more...]
Why the Upcoming Curiosity Rover Should Not Only Tell Us About the Early Conditions for Life On Mars, But Also Here on Earth by Active Astronomy writer Zantippy Skiphop, Florida, 22nd July 2012
The rover Curiosity, our latest robotic explorer, is about to land on Mars. It has the mission of acting as our field geologist inside a Martian crater, and has perhaps the larger responsibility of letting Earthlings experience Mars through its eyes.
If you want to be part of the moment when Curiosity lands on Mars, the rover will land in Gale crater on August 5, at 10:30pm U.S. Pacific Time (05:30 GMT). Right before the landing will be 7 minutes of nail-biting anxiety [Read more...]
The friendliest astronomy event to learn, observe with others or astroimage under the uber-dark skies in the Brecon Beacons
Book for May 2013 here