In astronomy you’ll often see objects described as being so many degrees apart, or 3 arc minutes wide, or 45 arc seconds or so. What on Earth do all these numbers mean?
The entire sky is divided up into degrees, The whole sky is in fact 360 degrees. If you look from one horizon the opposite horizon, well that’s 180 degrees. The highest point in the sky is called the meridian, now look from the meridian down to the horizon, and…yes you’ve guessed it, 90 degrees. So objects such as the Moon, stars, and planets’ diameters and Read more →
All times are GMT, one hour is added for BST between March 25th and October 28th
The dark star studded nights of winter are far behind us, giving way to the fainter constellations of spring.
Get yourself outside under the stars if it’s clear, pull up a deck chair, and scan the star clusters, nebulae, and even see other galaxies with your binoculars. Their lower power makes them just perfect for objects such as the larger open clusters, giving you great views and of course as you get to use both eyes, providing almost a 3D view. Just
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Betelgeuse position in Orion
Red supergiant Betelgeuse sits at Orion’s left shoulder in the northern winter sky. Everyone has probably looked at it, in this striking constellation. But you will never see it again as just a boring point of light. It is a turbulent, volatile monster of a star on a one way trip to destruction in a supernova.
Maybe just a few million years old, Betelgeuse has evolved at a rapid rate due to its large mass, it is a live fast die young star. In fact it is so large that if it was Read more →
This page keeps track of the planets daily, telling you where they are in the sky if visible, with rising/setting times, and highest points. Also information about how long you’ll be able to see them in the night sky, with detailed descriptions of each. Apart from Uranus and Neptune, it’s possible to see all with your unaided eyes. Read more →
From a dark location the Milky Way can be an incredible sight
Our home galaxy the Milky Way, a barred spiral galaxy, a colossal 100,000 light year wide disk of hundreds of billions of stars, planets, dust, gas, and dark matter slowly turning in interstellar space. On a clear night from a location without light pollution, the Milky Way arching overhead is an absolutely astounding and amazing sight. Star clouds, dark nebulae,
and star clusters are packed into a narrow band of light that is the Galaxy of which we are part. If you view the Milky Way with imagination and see
the scene as it actually is, the plane of our Galaxy and not just a band of
stars, Read more →
Times are GMT, one hour is added for British summer time between March 25th and October 28th.
As the Earth travels around in its orbit, it passes through the dusty trails of various comets that orbit the Sun. This is when we can see meteor showers. As comets get nearer the Sun in their orbits, the Sun’s radiation has an effect of vapourising gases from the comets nucleus creating a long tail. Some tails have been measured at over 150 million kilometres long. Comets are frozen balls of dust, ice, and rock, and meteors are the grains of dust in the comet’s tail that burn up as “shooting stars” as they enter Earth’s atmosphere. During a meteor shower peak the bright Moon is an Read more →