Mars

Mars

Down here in southern Spain, the views of Mars as it made its closest and brightest approach in 15 years on 27th July, were spectacular, and as I write this, it still dominates the southern sky, shining at magnitude -2.1 in the constellation of Capricornus. I’m observing with my old...

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Europa

Europa

Here in the valley of Lecrin in Andalucia, southern Spain, about fifty people gathered to watch the Blood Moon on the evening of the 27th July, at La Conca Arts Club, next to the lake at Beznar. We had my old 4” Vixen refractor telescope on an equatorial mount, a...

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SOHO (No, not that one!)

SOHO (No, not that one!)

The Solar and Heliocentric Observatory (SOHO) is a satellite that keeps an eye on the Sun’s activity. It is a joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) and is currently in its 22nd year of operation. SOHO is the longest-lived heliophysics mission still operating and has provided a...

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In The Beginning

In The Beginning

I was born in Yorkshire in 1947. My first children’s encyclopaedia in the early 50s, was beautifully illustrated with the origins of the universe and the origins of the moon and solar system etc. It said the moon was born out of the Earth or a captured body (not really...

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Dark Matter

Dark Matter

At 0915hrs in Chelsea & Westminster Hospital lying on my left side, I found myself having an in-depth conversation with my consultant as to the nature of dark matter and dark energy. Not a subject that I would necessarily advise during a colonoscopy, still, at least he was talking about...

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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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