Year: 2012

Daily cosmobite: the wonderful star

December 5, 2012

Nick Lomb
In the early evening the star Mira, "the wonderful", is high in north in the constellation of Cetus the Whale. Mira's brightness varies over a cycle of about 11 months. At its brightest it is easily visible to the unaided eye while at its dimmest it is far too faint be seen even from a dark spot.

Harry examines Moretus a crater way down south on the Moon

December 4, 2012

Nick Lomb
A sketch of the lunar crater Moretus with marked features that are described in the text below. Sketch and copyright Harry Roberts ©, all rights reserved Moretus is a spectacular lunar crater - and one of the more ‘mysterious’.

Daily cosmobite: stars in the east

December 4, 2012

Nick Lomb
At this time of the year we can see many bright stars in the evening sky. If we start from the east we find Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Procyon, the brightest star of the constellation Canis Minor the Little Dog is below and to the left or north.

Daily cosmobite: Jupiter at its brightest

December 3, 2012

Nick Lomb
The giant planet Jupiter is eleven times wider than the Earth and could fit 1300 earths inside it. Jupiter can be seen each evening after dusk low in the north-east sky. Tonight the planet is at opposition, that is, in a direction opposite to the Sun, and at its closest to Earth and at its brightest for the year.

Daily cosmobite: start of summer

December 1, 2012

Nick Lomb
Summer starts today in Australia. This convention is different to that in many other countries which would start their summer three weeks later on the date of the solstice. Starting at the beginning of the month suits the Australian climate for the hottest days tend to come in the middle of the three summer months.

Daily cosmobite: meteor fall anniversary

November 30, 2012

Nick Lomb
On this day in 1954 in Sylacauga, Alabama, USA a 31-year old woman become the first known person to be hit by a meteorite. She was hit on the left arm and hip by a 4 kg rock that fell through her roof.

Daily cosmobite: chimp launch anniversary

November 29, 2012

Nick Lomb
On this day in 1961 NASA launched the Mercury 5 spacecraft into orbit around the Earth. A chimpanzee named Enos was on board as a final test before a manned orbital mission. The chimp survived the acceleration into space, weightlessness and the landing despite his suit temperature reaching 38°C.

Round the Moon by Jules Verne – book review

November 28, 2012

Nick Lomb
The famous photograph of the Earth from the vicinity of the Moon taken by the astronauts of Apollo 8 on 22 December 1968. Courtesy NASA Round the Moon by Jules Verne. Free ebook available in a variety of formats from Project Gutenberg I have recently read this book by Jules Verne and was struck by the number of uncanny similarities between this imaginary voyage that Verne describes as happening in the 1860s and the first lunar circling mission of Apollo 8 made a century later.

Daily cosmobite: Jupiter and the Moon

November 28, 2012

Nick Lomb
The giant planet Jupiter can now be seen each evening after dusk towards the north-east. Tonight the gibbous Moon is making its second close approach to Jupiter for the month when it is above and to the left or north of the planet.

Daily cosmobite: de Lacaille’s constellations

November 27, 2012

Nick Lomb
The French astronomer de Lacaille observed the southern stars from South Africa from 1751 to 1752. He introduced 14 new constellations that he named after the latest inventions of his day. In the early evening high in the south-east we can find a number of them including Fornax the Chemical Furnace.

Daily cosmobite: Venus and Saturn

November 26, 2012

Nick Lomb
Early risers are in for a treat tomorrow morning. The brightest planet Venus passes just over one moon-width from the ringed planet Saturn low in the east. Such close proximity should allow the two planets to be in the same field of view if observed with a pair of binoculars or with a small telescope and a low-power eyepiece.

Daily cosmobite: the last constellations

November 24, 2012

Nick Lomb
Astronomers recognise 88 star groups or constellations. Some constellations go back to ancient times while other ones are more recent. The latest ones that astronomers accept are those introduced by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1754.

Daphne Gonzalvez reports on her eclipse adventure

November 23, 2012

Geoff Wyatt
Edited and Posted by Kamal Jayakumar, Work Experience Student (Girraween High School) Port Douglas, North Queensland, Australia Wednesday, 14 November 2012 Earlier this year we told our friends in Sydney that we were going to Cairns to see the Solar Eclipse.