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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...

November 23, 2019

On Boxing day this year there will be an annular eclipse which will be a surprise to many.  

Even though I am a keen amateur astronomer, this eclipse will be too close to Christmas to justify a long road trip from the southern states to the Northern Territory, northern Queensland or northern Western Australia, espe...

November 15, 2019

Sunspot activity on the Sun is now proving to be very rare as the Solar Cycle 24 is now at minimum. Not one Sunspot was observed by me for the whole of the month. The only activity seen on the face of the Sun was a very small faint Filament seen on the first of October about 60° east and 10° south.

Prominences were a li...

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...

November 1, 2019

27th November 1783

The first reference to black holes is mentioned by John Michell, an English natural philosopher, in a paper for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. He called them "dark stars". Michell suggested that there might be many "dark stars" in the universe, and today astronomers bel...

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...

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March 31, 2020

February 3, 2020

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