Category Archives: Astronomy

What high-speed astronomy can tell us about the galactic zoo

For most of human history, the distant ‘celestial sphere’ was regarded as perfect and unchanging. Stars remained in place, planets moved predictably, and the few rogue comets were viewed as atmospheric phenomena. This began to change with the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe’s observation of the supernova of 1572 – apparently, a new star – and his studies of the Great Comet of 1577, which he proved was actually a distant object. Nonetheless, the impression of permanence is strong. There are very few astronomical objects that noticeably vary to the naked eye: only the brightest comets, novae and supernovae. For observers in the northern hemisphere, the last naked-eye supernova was in 1604.

Continue reading What high-speed astronomy can tell us about the galactic zoo

First-ever image of a Black Hole

This is the first image ever of a black hole. The EHT (Event Horizon Telescope) captured an image of the nearby elliptical galaxy Messier 87’s (M87’s) supermassive black hole in the center of the Virgo galaxy cluster, 53 million light-years away. It was revealed today (April 10, Wednesday) in multiple press conferences around the world, and was the result of a global collaborative effort from over 200 scientists working with the EHT.

Continue reading First-ever image of a Black Hole

25 Amazing Astronomy Facts

As early as prehistoric times, humankind was fascinated by the night sky and all of its beauty. For centuries, philosophers and scholars would attribute magical properties to the bright stars and the Milky Way. In more recent times, we understand better what these mysterious objects are, and we can observe far more than our ancestors – planets, clusters, galaxies, and nebulae.

Continue reading 25 Amazing Astronomy Facts

Meteor which blasted over the Bering Sea was recorded by a satellite

On December 18, 2018, at around noon local time, a meteor about 10 meters (30 feet) long and weighing more than 1,500 tons, plunged into Earth’s atmosphere. It exploded over the Bering Sea and released energy equivalent to 173 kilotons of TNT – at least ten times more powerful than “Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Japanese weather satellite Himawari 8 has recorded the fireball of the meteor before it exploded.

Continue reading Meteor which blasted over the Bering Sea was recorded by a satellite

Top 10 Largest Non-Planets In Our Solar System

There are eight planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Two of the largest moons are bigger than the smallest planet, Mercury. Here are the top 10 largest non-planets in our solar system (eight of them are moons and two of them are dwarf planets).

Continue reading Top 10 Largest Non-Planets In Our Solar System

FarFarOut: the new farthest object in our solar system

In December 2018, astronomers discovered the farthest known object in our solar system, which is about 120 times farther than Earth is from the Sun (120 Astronomical Units -AU) and named it “Farout” (far-out-there). But its record didn’t last long. Now, while searching for the hypothetical Planet X, Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. has found what might be the most distant object ever identified in the Solar System. It orbits the Sun at a massive distance of 140 Astronomical Units (AU), and for now, the astronomers are jokingly calling the new object “FarFarOut”.

Continue reading FarFarOut: the new farthest object in our solar system

How many great minds does it take to invent a telescope?

On 11 January 1672, the Fellows of the British Royal Society were treated to a demonstration of Isaac Newton’s reflecting telescope, which formed images with mirrors rather than with the lenses that had been used since the time of Galileo. Afterward, the fellows hailed Newton as the inventor of this marvelous new instrument, an attribution that sticks to the present. However, this linear historical account obscures a far more interesting, convoluted story. Newton’s claim was immediately challenged on behalf of two other contenders, James Gregory, and Laurent Cassegrain. More confounding, the earliest known concept of using a curved mirror to focus light predated Newton by more than 1,500 years; the final realisation of a practical reflecting telescope post-dated him by more than a half century.

Continue reading How many great minds does it take to invent a telescope?

Moon Drawings of Galileo Galilei

Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, and polymath Galileo Galilei’s (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) moon drawings. These were the first realistic images of the Moon, due to Galileo’s training in art and an understanding of chiaroscuro (a technique for shading light and dark) he understood that the shadows he was seeing were actually mountains and craters.

Continue reading Moon Drawings of Galileo Galilei

Watch: The shadow of the Moon during a solar eclipse

This… is… amazing!

Astrophotographer Martin Junius recorded this stunning video of the total solar eclipse on March 20, 2015, during the E-Flight AB 1000. In the video, you can see the shadow of the moon moving across the clouds below. The plane was 35,000 feet (10,600 meters) above the Northern Atlantic / Norwegian Sea when the video was recorded.

Continue reading Watch: The shadow of the Moon during a solar eclipse