How long have we got?

How long have we got?

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (what a brilliant name) has been on the best sellers’ list for months. Back in England it’s the focus of my wife’s book club; other friends there have read it and wished to discuss it, but alas I’m at the end of the queue and...

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Cygnus (The Swan)

Cygnus (The Swan)

Back in El Valle Lecrin for my summer sojourn in southern Spain at 36 degrees North where I can observe better the nearer equatorial constellations and stars eg. Scorpio and Sagittarius. However even here, although they’re very clear by eye, I am in a valley and the heat rising off...

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Cygnus (The Swan)

Cygnus (The Swan)

Back in El Valle Lecrin for my summer sojourn in southern Spain at 36 degrees North where I can observe better the nearer equatorial constellations and stars eg. Scorpio and Sagittarius. However even here, although they’re very clear by eye, I am in a valley and the heat rising off...

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Jupiter: King of the planets or a failed star?

Jupiter: King of the planets or a failed star?

The brilliant planet Jupiter made its closest approach to the planet Earth in April this year and remains a fantastic sight to behold especially in telescopes above 4” aperture. Roman observers named Jupiter after the patron deity of the Roman state following Greek mythology, which associated it with the supreme...

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Omega Centauri: The Milky Way’s Lunch?

Omega Centauri: The Milky Way’s Lunch?

The sight of countless brilliant stars in an inky black sky exhilarates the human spirit, for reasons no one can explain. Such intensity reaches its epitome in a crowded star cluster, and the best of these are the “globulars”. Some 150 known globular clusters surround the centre of the Milky...

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Galaxy Hunting

Galaxy Hunting

My first really good view of a galaxy and the only one visible with the naked eye was in Scotland in 1987. We were sailing a beautiful 1930s motor yacht for my friend Martin (also the owner) up the east coast of England to the west coast of Scotland by...

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Death’s Debris, Life’s Renaissance

Death’s Debris, Life’s Renaissance

Scott Beadle FRAS explores the death of a star and the rebirth of planetary life. In December I wrote a piece about a visual snapshot of the end of our Sun using the Helix Nebula as an example of the likely evolutionary track of our own star’s demise. As their...

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Astronomy: Helix Nebula

Astronomy: Helix Nebula

Deep in the far south of the zodiacal constellation Aquarius lies NGC7293, the Helix Nebula. This object illustrates one of the best examples of the last stages in the evolutionary track of a star similar to our Sun. It was discovered in 1824 by Karl Ludwig Harding during his early...

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White holes in theory

White holes in theory

In 1928 Bristol born Paul Dirac discovered the existence of antimatter. His electron equations contained a negative solution, which opened the doors to the previously unknown zoo of antimatter. Electrons, neutrons, protons and so on… all have a corresponding character in Alice’s Wonderland of antimatter. When matter and antimatter touch,...

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Night of the supermoon

Night of the supermoon

Tonight (14 November) the moon will appear about 1/6th larger and 1/3rd brighter than normal, a so-called ‘supermoon’. The 69-year cycle repeats and the moon will be at the perigee ( shortest distance) of its orbit around Earth. Almost every 14th full moon is a supermoon. Tides will also rise...

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