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July 17, 2020

This month . . . .   Naming the three planets in our solar system discovered in “modern” times was not a straightforward process. There were several alternatives before arriving at the names we know them as today.

The first five planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - were known in antiquity and named...

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...

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...

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...

November 7, 2019

This month ……. The Andromeda Galaxy (M31). On a collision course with the Milky Way it will be visiting us “shortly”

The Andromeda Galaxy is one of the closest galaxies to our own Milky Way and is travelling in our direction at approximately 100 to 140 kilometres per second. In about 4.5 billion years the Andromeda Gala...

October 16, 2019

The Southern Cross is an iconic constellation steeped in our nation’s history and culture. The photograph in this post was taken by Geoffrey Wyatt, Senior Education Producer Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

The Southern Cross is the smallest of the 88 constellations spanning only six degrees from north to...

September 7, 2019

This month Pluto…. Once our ninth planet Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet’ in 2006. However, with the New Horizons mission enigmatic Pluto, once shrouded in mystery, is giving up its secrets. The image below is Pluto photographed by the LORRI and Ralph instruments aboard the New Horizons spacecraft in 2015.

After...

July 18, 2019

This month we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon with a few little known facts of the Apollo missions. Where were you when the “one small step for man” was taken?

Australia played an important role in the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing with the Parkes telescope - “The Dish” - broadcasting t...

June 3, 2019

The long and short of it….. the orbital period of comets can range from long period comets like Comet McNaught, 92,700 years, to Comet Encke that zips around the Sun every 3.3 years.

Comet Hyakutake holds the record of having the longest tail, at a length of 560 million kilometres. This is almost double the size of the...

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June 30, 2020

April 30, 2020

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