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February 7, 2020

This month  . . .  Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

The most powerful storm in the solar system, so large Earth can fit inside it, still baffles astronomers today. The image above is an enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Jason Major using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’...

February 7, 2020

Professor Richard (Dick) Hunstead died on Thursday 30 January 2020 at the age of 76 after a short illness. He was a widely respected astronomer, who will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues at Sydney University and at other institutions around Australia and internationally. The photograph above is courtesy...

February 5, 2020

Sunspot activity for the month of January remained extremely low however, on the 3rd January a single Axx spot was observed of the new solar cycle 25 in Active Region 12755.

Due to very consistent smoke haze from bush fires and cloud cover no observations were made until the 12th when a very faint Prominence was seen on...

February 3, 2020

20 February 1962

John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth in his Friendship 7 spacecraft circling it three times. The flight lasting 4 hours and 55 minutes and travelling a total of 121,794 kilometres reached a maximum 261 kilometres above Earth. He safely splashed down 1,290 kilometres southeast of Cape...

January 18, 2020

It is now 250 years since James Cook and the crew and scientists on the Endeavour sighted the shoreline of the land we now call Australia. This blog explores a twist of fate and history and the possibility that Cook may not have been chosen as the commander because there were other options(1). I will provide background...

January 12, 2020

This month . . . Dwarfs. No, not Snow White and her seven companions. Dwarf stars. They come in a variety of colours and are the last stage in a star’s life. It is believed our own Sun will become a white dwarf at the end of its life.

White dwarf stars are relatively rare. There are only eight known white dwarf stars in...

December 31, 2019

7 January 1610

Galileo discovers four moons orbiting the planet Jupiter. Looking at what he thought were a group of stars, he noted the objects appeared to move in a regular pattern and realised they were in orbit around Jupiter. Today, Jupiter’s four largest satellites—Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto—are named the G...

December 23, 2019

DID YOU KNOW

This month . . . The North Star

The North Star or Pole Star is located close to the north celestial pole, the point around which the entire northern sky revolves. It is almost straight above Earth's north pole and when seen from Earth it appears to always stay in the same place in the sky. The image below wa...

November 30, 2019

11th December 1972

Apollo 17, the last of the Apollo missions, lands on the Moon. Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, still holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the Moon as no humans have been back since. The mission carried the only trained geologist to walk on the lunar surface, Lunar Module Pilot...

Aurora are sporadic, faint visual phenomenon associated with geomagnetic activity that occurs mainly in the high latitude night sky. These can be spectacular and moving. According to Geoffrey Wyatt, Senior Science Educator for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences:  

"It's hard to convey what it's...

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February 3, 2020

December 31, 2019

November 30, 2019

November 28, 2019

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