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June 30, 2020

4 July 1054

Chinese astronomers notice a star explode becoming a supernova in the constellation Taurus. It remained visible in the night sky for 653 days. The remnant of that exploding star is what we now know as the Crab Nebula. The supernova shone roughly four times brighter than Venus and for a while was the third-br...

June 7, 2020

This month . . . .   Orion

Named after the mythological Greek hunter, the constellation Orion is one of the most famous, and recognisable, constellations in the night sky.

Orion is a hunter with a shield in his hand, a belt and sword around his waist, surrounded by his hunting dogs Canis Major and Canis Minor and fi...

May 31, 2020

2 June 1966   

Surveyor 1, the first of the Surveyor robotic spacecraft, soft lands on the Moon. It was the first American spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on an extra-terrestrial body. NASA’s Surveyor Program sent seven robotic spacecraft to the surface of the Moon, its primary goal was to demonstrate the feas...

May 10, 2020

The Parkes Telescope - “The Dish” - from its historic role in the Apollo 11 Moon landing to looking for ET it has played an important part in Australian astronomy.  

The dish is not fixed to the top of its tower, but just sits on it. The moving part of the telescope weighs 1000 tonnes but is not fixed to the tower,...

April 30, 2020

13 May 1861

John Tebbutt discovers the Great Comet of 1861, also known as Comet C/1861 J1, one of the most brilliant comets known. He sent letters to the Government Astronomer at Sydney Observatory, Rev. William Scott, and to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper advising of his find. However, at the time there was no mea...

March 31, 2020

12 April 1633

The inquisition of Galileo by the Roman Catholic church begins. He was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. He was found guilty and agreed to stop teaching and spent the...

March 27, 2020

Every month there is a focus on an astronomical phenomenon by Sydney City Skywatchers' Secretary, Elizabeth Cocking. This month Elizabeth has researched meteor showers. In February meteor scientist and Senior Research Manager, Ross Pogson,gave an inspiring talk to Skywatcher members about meteorites and their significa...

March 8, 2020

Blamed for turning Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk, Gamma Rays and Gamma Ray Bursts are the most energetic and luminous electromagnetic events since the Big Bang.

There is more energy released in a few short seconds of a Gamma Ray Burst than will be released by the Sun in its entire lifetime.

Gamma rays have the sm...

March 1, 2020

7 March 1831

The Royal Astronomical Society receives its Royal charter from King William IV. The society was founded in 1820 as the Astronomical Society of London to promote astronomical research. At that time, most members were 'gentleman astronomers' rather than professionals. In 1915 A Supplemental Charter granted by...

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’...

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