Just by the False Cross in the Southern Sky are the two beautiful clusters Omicron Velorum and NGC 2516. These are very easy to find, you just have to navigate from the Southern Cross to the False Cross.
In 4 days it’s the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s arrival at the Moon and tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of its launch.
This Christmas it is 50 years since the first humans got an up close and personal look at the Moon. Apollo 8 was launched on 21 December 1968 and entered lunar orbit on 24 December, just in time for the crew to celebrate Christmas further from the Earth than anyone had ever celebrated Christmas, or anything else, ever.
Recent research suggests there may be a link between a supernova about 2.6 million years ago and the extinction of a large number of marine megafauna on the Earth at the time.
This is a short video on how to find the Sculptor Galaxy in the Southern Sky. This is a beautiful and bright galaxy that is well worth a look at.
A light hearted look at how you might make a blackhole if you happen to have a large star handy.
It’s not easy to make a star, you need a lot of cold space and a huge amount of hydrogen. But if you manage to do that then you can have your very own Sun sized star to keep you warm in winter.
BepiColombo is due to launch on Saturday on an Ariane 5 rocket. The mission will get to Mercury in 2025 helping us learn a lot more about the planet that is the closest to the Sun.
This Saturday night is International Observe the Moon Night so hopefully the weather will be great and we can all catch a glimpse of the Moon.
Aside from the Big Bang, Gamma Ray Bursts are the most powerful releases of energy in the universe, sometimes releasing over 100 times the entire energy of the Sun over it’s 10 billion year lifespan.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has developed a glitch and gone into safe mode. The 19 year old spacecraft is well past it’s design life but continues to produce incredible science so hopefully it’ll be back to full serviceability very soon.
The aborted launch of the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft with Expedition 57 to the International Space Station reminded the world that space flight can still be dangerous. Fortunately both Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin return safely to the surface of the Earth.
The amount of interstellar particles being detected by Voyager 2 may indicate that the spacecraft is about to pass through the heliopause into interstellar space.
The Hubble Space Telescope is currently in safe mode while technicians at NASA figure out what has gone wrong with a gyroscope that was found to be not performing properly. Hopefully it’s an easy fix and Hubble will be back to full operations soon.
Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe and are amazingly powerful. They are caused by Super Massive Black Holes.
Last week was Mars Week at Oxford Area School in the South Island. It was a great week running Mars Missions and learning all about Mars.
The night sky is full of stars and some of the very brightest we see have some very interesting characteristics. Next time you’re looking at Sirius or Canopus you’ll be able to appreciate just how big they are compared to our very own star – the Sun.
It’s the Winter of the Planets and in the early evening this week you can see Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Then there is the Lunar Eclipse on Saturday morning as well.
Next year is the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s voyage to the Pacific Ocean. One the things he did was contribute to a more accurate calculation of the distance between the Earth and the Sun by observing the transit of Venus.
The night sky this week is still all about the planets but if you’re quick, you can still spot some deep sky objects before the Moon gets too bright.
A great week for deep sky observing, why not try and see if you can Barnard’s Galaxy or the Saturn Nebula.