Switching the stars on

April 22, 2018

I was quite worried about stargazing on Friday, because I was out of practice and the weather report was distinctly dodgy. Actually it all went well. I particularly enjoyed the little kids who were looking through a telescope for the first time. Witha bit of luck I set someone on their first steps to enjoying science. I was hoping to show people a crescent Venus (yes, it goes through phases…


Trappist-1 and it’s 7 dwarves

Well squee! NASA announced that the little star TRAPPIST-1 has 7 rocky planets, ranging in size from 40% to 140% of Earth’s mass. They’re all very close to the star, closer than Mercury is to our own Sun, but TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf star, with a surface temperature of perhaps 2,500 ºC. Our sun is about 5,500 ºC. This means that several of the planets are in the Goldilocks…

February 23, 2017

Vera Rubin

December 28, 2016

Among all the more famous deaths of 2016, I want to mention Vera Rubin. She was the only person graduating with an Astronomy degree from her class in 1948. She wanted to do her PhD at Princeton, but they didn’t accept women for post grad studies at the time, so she went to Cornell. That’s where she discovered that galaxies didn’t seem to be flying straight out after the Big…


Foundations for the Large Sized Telescope

Digging foundations for the Large Size Telescope, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma 17/08/2016
August 17, 2016

  The digger’s started wotk on the foundations for the Large Size Telescope I gather the plan is to dig down 3 m, which is less than I’d thought for such a big structure. But the the MAGIC telescope is very light for its size, so perhaps the LST will be too. Cross posted to http://lapalma-island.com