Life on Venus?

Many of you will have seen the story widely reported in the media of the discovery of the gas phosphine in the clouds of Venus - if not, you can find the story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54133538. On Earth phosphine is produced by bacteria and it has led to the interesting speculation as to whether there could be… Continue reading Life on Venus?

Surveying the Cosmos – Part II

In a previous post  I talked about the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a large telescope being built in Chile which will spend 90% of its time surveying most of the sky a total of  1000 times over a 10 year period (in the remaining 10% it will revisit areas of specific interest).  In this… Continue reading Surveying the Cosmos – Part II

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

SpaceX Starlink Satellites

Many of you will have seen the pictures last year showing long ‘trains’ composed of as many as sixty SpaceX Starlink satellites crossing the sky. A 'train' of SpaceX Starlink satellites just after their launch. In the days after launch these trains break up as the satellites position themselves into their final orbits These satellites… Continue reading SpaceX Starlink Satellites

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