Satellite Navigation

Satellite navigation systems have come to affect countless aspects of our daily lives, from directing our holiday aeroplanes to enabling us to drive round an unfamiliar city without any map other than the one on our mobile phone. Most new cars sold today have an inbuilt Sat Nav and you can buy trackers relatively cheaply… Continue reading Satellite Navigation

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

Surveying the Cosmos – Part I

In this post I'm going to talk about a new 500 million dollar telescope,  the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), being built at Cerro Pachón in Chile,  and the survey of the cosmos it will  be undertaking over a 10 year period. Cerro Pachón is located in the foothills of the Andes at a latitude… Continue reading Surveying the Cosmos – Part I

How tides work

Although the Moon is much smaller and less massive than the Earth its gravitational field still has significant effects on the Earth. The most noticeable of these are tides, the periodic rise and fall of sea levels. High and low tides- Images from Wikimedia Commons     Causes of Tides The average Earth- Moon distance… Continue reading How tides work

Dark Sky Places

In this post I will talk about the work of the International Dark-Sky Association (https://www.darksky.org/)and the visit I made a few years ago to the Kielder Observatory, which is in the Northumberland Dark Sky park in northern  England. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) was founded in 1988 by David Crawford a professional astronomer, who spent… Continue reading Dark Sky Places