Chinese Moon samples

Like many of my readers I was pleased to see that the Chang’e 5 spacecraft returned to Earth on 16 December 2020 with around 2 kg of lunar rocks. This great achievement was the first lunar sample return mission for China and is indeed the first time any rocks have been brought from the Moon… Continue reading Chinese Moon samples

Dark energy an unexpected finding

I offered recently to write an article for my local astronomy society on the discovery of dark energy.  It is  an expanded version of the blog post I wrote  on the topic last year and, at over 3000 words, it is longer  than my usual posts. I thought it would be of interest to many… Continue reading Dark energy an unexpected finding

Arecibo Update

Since the publication of this post on 2 December 2020 it appears that Arecibo observatory may be rebuilt. Although the $8 million pledged by the Puerto Rico Rico government is clearly not enough I was saddened to see that the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has closed following catastrophic damage to its cables and… Continue reading Arecibo Update

Reasons for the Great Silence

In recent years there has been an increase in interest in SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence).  SETI now has its own telescope, an array of 42 separate radio dishes known as the Allen Telescope Array.   The Allen Telescope Array In 2016 the Breakthrough Listen programme started and is expected to run for ten… Continue reading Reasons for the Great Silence

The changing pole star

Many people know that Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor (The Little Bear), is also known as the pole star. Indeed, the name Polaris itself was invented in the sixteenth century and is derived from the Latin stella polaris -pole star. The location of Polaris - Image credit Wikimedia Commons Polaris is… Continue reading The changing pole star