Planet Birth

Planets forming around a star
November 7, 2014

  The Alma radio telescope took this amazing picture of planets forming around the sun-like star, HL Tau. This is a baby star, less than a million years old, which is 450 light years from Earth in the constellation Taurus. And the disc of dust and gas around the star is already forming planets and asteroids – that’s what makes the dark rings in the brighter dust. It’s the first…


Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

Jupiter's red spot
June 12, 2013

  Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was discovered by the English scientist Robert Hooke in 17th century. It lies very close to the giant planet’s equator and its major axis is 40,000 km (twice the diameter of the Earth. We now know that it’s a hurricane, which rotates anticlockwise with wind speeds around the edge of up to 400 km / sec. Photo taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe.


Curiosity is sitting on a stream bed

Rounded gravel fragments, or clasts, up to a couple inches (few centimetres), on dry stream beds on Mars and Earth Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and PSI
September 30, 2012

  The Mars rover Curiosity is driving over a dried-up stream bed. Looking at the gravel under Curiosity, NASA scientists say the water must have flowed about 1 m/s and been somewhere between 10 cm and a metre deep. That’s a lot of water, although it was probably billions of years ago.


Diamond Ice on Mars

Diamond dust in Antarctica. Credit: Wikipedia commons
June 24, 2012

  Sometimes it snows on Mars.  In autumn, the snow is probably water ice, and in the depths of winter, when temperatures drop to -125 º C, it’s carbon dioxide snow. The atmosphere is thin and dry, and the temperature drops very fast after sunset, so the snow flakes are tiny, about 7 microns in diameter, like a human red blood cell.  In fact, it’s a lot like the diamond ice…


NASA video of the Venus transit

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded this video in ultraviolet ( a wavelength of 171 angstroms.) It shows Venus passing in front of the sun, and also very large coronal loops, which are found around sunspots and in active regions. These structures are associated with the closed magnetic field lines that connect magnetic regions on the solar surface. Many coronal loops last for days or weeks but most change quite rapidly….

June 6, 2012

Internet feeds of the Venus transit

If you live somewhere where you can see part or all of the transit, -I hope the clouds stay away for you.  REMEMBER NOT TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. If you’re on the wrong part of the planet (like me) or unlucky with the weather, here’s some places to watch it live on the Internet for free. will be broadcasting ten feeds of the Venus transit live from…

June 5, 2012