December 21 2018 – the solstice

This year, the northern hemisphere winter solstice will fall on 21 December in Britain.  On this date there are the fewest hours of daylight and the Sun is at its lowest maximum elevation. The origin of the word solstice is from two Latin words:  sol, which means Sun, and sistere, to stand still. At the time of the winter… Continue reading December 21 2018 – the solstice

Lunar eclipse 27 July 2018

On 27 July 2018 there will be a total eclipse of the Moon, which will be viewable from many areas of the world. This will be the first total lunar eclipse able to be observed in the UK for nearly three years and it will be worth making the effort to see, especially since, for… Continue reading Lunar eclipse 27 July 2018

June 21 2018 – the solstice

This year, the June solstice will fall on 21 June.  In the northern hemisphere, it is the day when there is the most daylight and when the Sun is at its highest in the midday sky.   Sunrise at the solstice at Stonehenge, England - image from Wikimedia commons The origin of the word solstice is… Continue reading June 21 2018 – the solstice

20 March 2018 – the equinox

Now that we are in the month of March, it is only a short time until 21 March, the first day of spring (or first day of autumn if you're one of my readers in the southern hemisphere). There is a commonly held view that 21 March is an equinox and that the equinoxes are the two… Continue reading 20 March 2018 – the equinox

Kepler’s other achievements

As discussed in my previous post, Kepler's improvement of Copernicus's heliocentric system led to its more general acceptance, and his three laws describing the way planets move are fundamental laws of astronomy. However, this wasn't his only contribution to science. He was one of the greatest thinkers of the seventeenth century scientific revolution and in… Continue reading Kepler’s other achievements