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

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

Daylight Saving Time

As mentioned in my previous post, in the early hours of Sunday 27 October the clocks go back an hour throughout the European Union and daylight saving time comes to an end. Although many Europeans will welcome the extra hour in bed on the night of 26/27 October, I suspect that a lot of people… Continue reading Daylight Saving Time

Time and time zones

In this post I’ll talk about the measurement of time and the use of time zones throughout the world. This is particularly topical at this time of year.  In the early hours of Sunday 27 October the clocks go back an hour throughout the EU as Europe switches to winter time. The natural day There… Continue reading Time and time zones

Stellar aberration

This post is a bit more technical than usual and discusses stellar aberration, the apparent movement of stars as a result of the motion of the Earth.  It is an interesting case of the application of the scientific method.  Observations were made to test a scientific theory, but unexpected results were found, which in turn… Continue reading Stellar aberration