Summer is the season for Noctilucent Clouds

Full Moon and Perigee Moon converge for a Supermoon

Track down two asteroids, Ceres and Vesta

Planetary pairings of Saturn and Mars, Jupiter and Venus

The Perseid meteor shower peaks

The Equinox restores balance to days and nights

Mars meets its rival, Antares

An early Harvest Moon occurs in September

Look out for Noctilucent Clouds
Full details in the Sky Guide » »

What if the Apollo 11 crew hadn’t returned safely?

Posted by Marc on July 21st, 2009

Memo to Nixon on ApolloA memo was prepared for President Nixon in the event of the Eagle lander being unable to lift off the Moon’s surface after landing. It included an address to the nation which adapted lines from a Rupert Brooke poem: “For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.” The memo suggested that following loss of contact with the astronauts that the same procedure be adopted as with burials at sea.

Apollo 11 Trivia – Part II

Posted by Lydia on July 20th, 2009

Saturn V RocketMore Apollo Trivia – Part II:

It all started with SPUTNIK, Laika the Dog and Yuri Gagarin.

Here is more interesting trivia for your enjoyment.

1. Who said: “Houston, Tranquillity Base here, The Eagle Has Landed.”

What was the next statement made from the lunar surface after this one?

2. Who described the lunar surface and his space travel experience as: “Magnificent Desolation “?

3. Who said: “We chose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard”?

4. How long after JFK voiced America’s goal to reach the moon was Apollo 11 launched?

5. How long was the journey from Earth to Moon?

6. Who is the record holder for the longest moonwalk?

7. With no air or wind on the Moon, how does the American flag, placed there by Neil Armstrong, remain unfurled?

8. The Apollo 11 moonwalkers left a plaque on the Moon. What does it say?

9. How many flags have been placed on the lunar surface? Are they all American flags? Are they all still standing?

10. How many American Astronauts have lost their lives while working for the space programme?

11. How many Apollo missions were there?

Read the rest of this post …

Astronomy News on 20 July 2009

Posted by Lydia on July 20th, 2009

The century’s longest solar eclipse will take place on 22 July 2009 over Shanghai, China.

The city’s inhabitants and a myriad of scientists and eclipse chasers will experience a full six minutes of darkness, revealing the solar corona. Totality will also trek through various cities and townships in India and other areas of China.


Something has hit our planetary neighbour, Jupiter, leaving a scar at the southern pole, visible by larger telescopes.


Today Only – Commemorating the Lunar Landing, visit Carina for free astronomy software downloads.

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Lunar Landing

Posted by Lydia on July 17th, 2009

Leaving the EagleWe celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lunar Landing which was quite an accomplishment considering the technology available at the time. You may wish to listen and watch a re-enactment of the lunar landing with “We Choose the Moon“, from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. To test your Apollo 11 knowledge we’ve posted some trivia questions after the jump: Read the rest of this post …

STS-127 Updates

Posted by Lydia on July 13th, 2009

STS-127 Logo

LATEST UPDATE: 1812 CDT 14 July 2009.

Endeavor is on its way to the International Space Station with a seven member crew made up of six Americans and one Canadian after five suspended launch attempts due to rainy summer Floridian weather. Tomorrow the laser tipped robotic arm will review the Shuttle for possible damage caused by launch debris.  A record thirteen member crew will “comfortably” inhabit the Space Station for the next eleven days, thanks to the added living space constructed during past missions.  Sixteen countries have collaborated in the decade long ongoing construction of the International Space Station, now the size of a four bedroom house. Only seven additional trips to the ISS are scheduled before the Shuttle mission is to be retired next year.

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Endeavour and STS-127 is an eleven day mission with five planned spacewalks. The main goal is to attach a platform outside the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory, completing construction of the lab.

Having been postponed again yesterday, the launch is rescheduled for today at 1851 EDT, weather permitting, with pre-launch coverage beginning at 1330 EDT on NASA TV.

UPDATE: 2139 CDT – the mission was postponed again due to weather and has been rescheduled for Wednesday 15 July at 1703 CDT. Launch coverage will begin at noon on NASA TV. Read the rest of this post …

Stamp Sheet - Moon LandingWhere does stamp-collecting intersect with space exploration? On Buckingham Covers’ Stamp Sheet Presentation Pack it seems! the pack is released in commemoration of the Moon landing 40 years ago. It consists of original UK stamps along with labels and stickers and, for good measure, is signed by Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the Moon. More at Buckingham Covers.

A new website is being launched to complement PBS’s TV Special: 400 Years of the Telescope. Taking a look around the site, I note that there’s a wealth of material for teachers to put to use in the classroom amongst a wide array of resources.
For more, visit: the 400 years website.

Your Cosmology Questions Answered

Posted by Lydia on June 6th, 2009

We received some very interesting questions on the Astronomy Today Forum last month which I sent to several amateur astronomers whom I consider to be “experts” on the subject.

Question 1: When we look into space we can see back in time some 14 billion years. Can we see this far in all directions? If so wouldn’t that mean we are at the centre?

Question 2: I understand the universe is expanding with our galaxy likened to dots on a balloon. The space constantly increasing between them as the balloon is inflated. So how is it possible for galaxies to collide? A short cut through warped space? Perhaps it should be compared to two or more balloons inside one another, lots of “little” Big bangs. Possibly not all at the exact same location.

Question 3: If our galaxy and Andromeda are going to collide and we were both created at approximately the same point in space shouldn’t a line between them have to point at the approximate centre of the universe? Would a line drawn between other colliding galaxies point to the same location?

Question 4: If everything were created from a single location in a microsecond of time everything should be moving away from that point. After some time that point in space should be devoid of most matter, a big huge empty sphere. Has anything like that been seen?

Question 5: Perhaps with the improved Hubble we will see the edge of space, (moments after the big bang) not the farthermost edge but the edge of that huge empty sphere in the middle. It might appear all around us due to warped space.

Answers after the jump: Read the rest of this post …

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