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
I was very excited to read about the discovery published last week by NASA’s Curiosity rover of the seasonal variation in the amount of methane in Mars’ atmosphere. Curiosity found that the average methane concentration varied from 0.24 parts per billion (ppb) in the northern hemisphere winter to around 0.65 ppb in the summer. This… Continue reading Methane on Mars
Three years ago my first ever post was about Saturn’s moon Enceladus. It is interesting that once again this small moon is in the headlines as a possible place on which there could be life.
The Science Geek
Hello and welcome to the first post from the Science Geek 01. I intend to write a weekly blog about various topics of interest, which will cover all aspects of science. The articles will be aimed at the non scientist and won’t require any previous detailed knowledge. I hope you enjoy reading them and please feel free to comment.
My first posts will deal with the subject of life within the solar system, which in astronomical terms is our own backyard.
Life on Mars
Throughout most of the twentieth century many scientists thought that there could be life on Mars. Indeed the famous American astronomer Percival Lowell (1855-1916) claimed to have seen through his telescope a large network of canals built by an intelligent civilization and even produced maps of the Martian canal network. These canals certainly provided great material for science fiction writers but they were probably all due to Lowell’s imagination!
Percival Lowell’s Martian…
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Anybody who has looked up into the western sky after sunset in the past month will have noticed a brilliant white object - the planet Venus, sometimes called the Evening Star. It is brighter than any other planet and ten times brighter than the brightest star Sirius. The "Evening Star" Venus next to the Moon… Continue reading The Evening Star-Venus.
As most of you will already know, and much to our disappointment, the Schiaparelli probe failed to land successfully on Mars last Wednesday. The plan was that when it entered the Martian atmosphere, the spacecraft would immediately begin to slow down to 1700 km/h as a result of the friction caused by the atmosphere hitting its heat-shield. When it reached… Continue reading Schiaparelli on Mars -updated