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

Jupiter at opposition 9 May 2018

On May 9 the planet Jupiter will be what is known as 'at opposition'.  This event, which occurs every 399 days, happens when Jupiter is at its closest to the Earth and at its brightest.  To the naked eye it will be a brilliant white object, three times brighter than the brightest star. Features such… Continue reading Jupiter at opposition 9 May 2018

Johannes Kepler

My latest post is about the work of the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630).  He is most famous for his improvement to the earlier model of Copernicus by introducing the idea that the planets move in elliptical, rather than circular, orbits and that their movements in these orbits are governed by a set of laws,… Continue reading Johannes Kepler

Mission Juno

On 4 July 2016 the NASA spacecraft Juno will arrive at Jupiter after a 5 year journey. It will be the ninth space probe to visit the planet. The first was Pioneer 10, which flew past in December 1973, (see notes). Juno will go into an orbit around the planet which will take it close to its poles.… Continue reading Mission Juno