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In this month: May

2nd May 1780 Sir William Herschel discovers the first binary star, Xi Ursae Majoris, also named Alula Australis, in the constellation of Ursa Major. It was the first visual double star for which an orbit was calculated. Xi Ursae Majoris is found in the left hind paw of the Great Bear 1st May 1930 Pluto (picture above) is officially named. Discovered on the 18th February 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory Pluto receives its name from an eleven year old schoolgirl, Venetia Burney. On the announcement Venetia received £5 as a reward. Pluto is named for the Roman god of the underworld. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union downgraded Pluto to dwarf planet status. By the way, Wa

Sara Cabrera: an engaging talk by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Sara Cabrera is a Sydney City Skywatcher member and an active observer. Her curiousity to always learn more about astronomy took her recently to the United States where, amongst many other adventures, Sara attended a lecture in San Jose by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson titled 'Why an Astrophysicist should read the newspaper'. Sara reported back with enthusiasm: "The talk was based on how US newspaper and media operators use Astronomy and Science to make an impact on selling news and enhancing readership but in doing so they release articles with information which has very little proven scientific evidence. These articles inform people, and those who are not scientifically liter

Did you know? Telescopes

This month ……. Telescopes. From the Greek “tele” meaning far, and “skopein” meaning to look or see Telescopes aren’t just for astronomical observation. In the early days they were commonly used for terrestrial observation, in particular naval warfare. Merchants also used them to get advance warning of their supply ships approaching. Telescopes come in different shapes and sizes. The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT - pictured above), located on Mt. Graham in Arizona, USA is like a giant pair of binoculars, consisting of two side-by-side telescopes, each 8.4 metres across. The Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico is a 305 metre dish shaped radio telescope built into a mountain range. The largest te

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