Year: 2014

Daily cosmobite: when does the year start?

December 31, 2014

In England during the Middle Ages 25 December was taken as the start of the year. In the late 12th century the start of the year was shifted by nine months to 25 March. The official start of the year only became the familiar 1 January in 1752, the year in which England adopted the Gregorian Calendar.

Daily Cosmobite: A time ball to usher in 2015

December 30, 2014

Sydney Observatory's time ball has been in operation since 1858. It will drop at exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve to usher in the new year. If you are nearby look for the time ball on top of our tower - when it drops 2015 begins.

Daily Cosmobite: Sydney Observatory Conservation Plan

December 29, 2014

The Sydney Observatory Conservation Plan (revised edition of 2002) has, for many years, been a guide for MAAS staff when considering both conservation and development plans for the Observatory site. It also forms an essential reference to much of Sydney Observatory's history.

Daily Cosmobite: astronomical heritage

December 28, 2014

Brenan Dew is  usually a guide at Sydney Observatory but he is currently overseas as a part the Macquarie Theban Tomb Project along with several of his colleagues from Macquarie University, excavating and recording the tomb of an official by the name of Amenmose who lived in the Ramesside period of ancient Egypt, some 3300 years ago.

Daily Cosmobite: Kepler’s birthday

December 27, 2014

Today's Cosmobite is by Sam Knox, an astronomy guide at MAAS - Sydney Observatory. December 27th 1571 marked the birth of the mastermind behind the laws of planetary motion, Johannes Kepler. His three laws described the motion of all the planets around the Sun and consolidated Copernicus’ Sun centered, or heliocentric, solar system.

Daily Cosmobite: winter solstice at Deir el Bahari

December 26, 2014

This special Boxing Day 2014 Cosmobite is prepared by Brenan Dew, Sydney Observatory guide, archaeologist and cultural astronomy researcher. Hello! My name is Brenan and I am usually a guide at Sydney Observatory.

January 2015 night sky guide podcast, transcript and sky chart

December 24, 2014

To help you learn about the southern night sky, Sydney Observatory provides an audio guide/podcast, transcript of that audio, and a sky map or chart each month. This month's guide is presented by Dr Nick Lomb (pictured at right), Sydney Observatory's Curator of Astronomy.

Daily Cosmobite: Comets

December 22, 2014

Today's Cosmobite is by Sam Knox, an astronomy guide at MAAS - Sydney Observatory. Comets have been in the news a lot this month. We have seen incredible images taken from the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko by the incredibly nimble lander Philae and from Rosetta, Philae’s orbital companion.

Daily cosmobite: the Great Nebula in Orion

December 21, 2014

The constellation called 'Orion' is currently prominent in the night sky from around 9pm in Eastern Australia. An area of the constellation is said to represent Orion's 'belt', also known by some Australians as the 'Saucepan'.

Daily Cosmobite: First successful spacecraft rendezvous

December 16, 2014

The first successful rendezvous in space, of the Gemini 6A and Gemini 7 spacecraft, was in December 1965. This marked the beginning of many space rendezvous and demonstrated the potential for two spacecraft to dock in orbit.  The two craft were not equipped for docking but came within 1 foot (or approx.

Daily Cosmobite: Pleiades

December 10, 2014

The Pleiades or also known as the Seven Sisters is an open cluster system consisting of approximately 3000 stars. Pleiades has 9 bright stars, 7 named for the daughters and 2 for the parents in Greek Mythology.

140th Anniversary of the transit of Venus

December 9, 2014

On 9 December 1874 a rare astronomical event occurred – the transit of Venus.  This involves Venus passing directly between the Earth and the Sun. The Government Astronomer of the day (Henry Chamberlain Russell) decided that NSW would take a major role in the observation of this rare event.

Daily Cosmobite : Sirius

December 9, 2014

The brightest star in the night sky award belongs to Sirius.  It rises around 8:40pm  and is part of the constellation Canis Major rising in the southeast in the night sky.  With an apparent magnitude of -1.46 it doubles the next brightest star in comparison called Canopus with an apparent magnitude of -.72.

Accessing the Sky – building Sydney Observatory’s new dome – post 7

December 7, 2014

This is the seventh post in a series which documents building a new dome for Sydney Observatory which is especially designed for people with disabilities and their carers. This project is important to our visitors and we plan to open the project late January 2015, with public tours from February 2015, thanks to funding from the NSW Department of Ageing Disability and Home Care.

December 2014 night sky guide podcast, transcript and sky chart

November 26, 2014

To help you learn about the southern night sky, Sydney Observatory provides an audio guide/podcast, transcript of that audio, and a sky map or chart each month. This month's guide is presented by Geoffrey Wyatt, Astronomy Educator at Sydney Observatory (pictured at right).