The Brightness of Venus

Anyone, even the most casual observer,  looking at  the evening sky in the last month will have noticed the brilliant white planet Venus shining in the west. Often known as the Evening Star, Venus is the third brightest natural object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon. In this post I’ll talk about… Continue reading The Brightness of Venus

Measuring and Mapping Light Pollution

As discussed in a previous post , light pollution is a major nuisance to astronomers both amateur and professional. When astronomers classify how much light pollution there is at a particular location, they often use the Bortle Scale, devised by John Bortle and first published in the popular astronomy magazine Sky and Telescope (Bortle 2001). Rather… Continue reading Measuring and Mapping Light Pollution

British coverage of Apollo 11

Last year as all my readers will know was the fiftieth anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landing. Image credit NASA Although the pictures and video from the Apollo 11 mission, including Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon, are famous throughout the world and are freely available on platforms such as YouTube, it is… Continue reading British coverage of Apollo 11

SpaceX Starlink Satellites

Many of you will have seen the pictures last year showing long ‘trains’ composed of as many as sixty SpaceX Starlink satellites crossing the sky. A 'train' of SpaceX Starlink satellites just after their launch. In the days after launch these trains break up as the satellites position themselves into their final orbits These satellites… Continue reading SpaceX Starlink Satellites

Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year! And happy new decade! 2020 could well be an important year for manned space flight. It might be the year that America finally puts humans back into space on American spacecraft. If this happens it will be on spacecraft designed and built by commercial companies rather than NASA. . The landing of… Continue reading Happy New Year 2020