The Perseids 2021

The night of  12/13  August will be the peak of the Perseids, one of the most famous prolific meteor showers. Meteors (also known as shooting stars) are bright streaks of light caused by small lumps of rock or metal called meteoroids hitting the Earth’s atmosphere at very high speed (in the case of the Perseids around 200,000 km/h).… Continue reading The Perseids 2021

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

Update April 2021 - A video containing some of the material in the post is now available on the Explaining Science YouTube channel Many of you will have seen the pictures in 2019 showing long ‘trains’ composed of as many as sixty SpaceX Starlink satellites crossing the sky. A 'train' of SpaceX Starlink satellites just… Continue reading SpaceX Starlink Satellites