Fake Astronomical Images

A friend of mine, the active amateur astronomer Colin Henshaw, brought the following photograph to my attention. It appears to show the Moon rising over Mossel Bay in South Africa. Although it was passed off as a genuine image, for reasons which Colin pointed out, it is a fake. If you study the Moon, it… Continue reading Fake Astronomical Images

Overview of tides

Even though the Moon is far smaller and less massive than the Earth its gravitational field still has significant effects on our planet. The most noticeable of these are tides, the periodic rise and fall of sea levels. In this post I'll give an overview of the causes of tides. This is something which many… Continue reading Overview of tides

Human spaceflight in 2021

2021 will be an interesting year for human space flight. Not only is it the sixtieth anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic first manned spaceflight, but it will be the first time that a privately operated spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station (ISS).  This private spacecraft is not just a one-off but will be… Continue reading Human spaceflight in 2021

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

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