Cheops and TOI-178

It’s easy to forget that it was only 25 years ago that the first planet around another Sun-like star was discovered. Since then, research into ‘exoplanets’ has become one of the most active areas of astronomy, with links being made with groups working on theoretical models of how planetary systems Read more…

Rare Stars – PHL 417 and the V366 Aquariids

By Prof. Simon Jeffery Enter the name ‘PHL 417’ in the public database which tells you nearly everything known about nearly every star in the sky, and you will find an almost blank entry.  It is enigmatically identified as a ‘Blue object’ of the 17th magnitude, or about 200,000 times fainter than the faintest stars visible to the naked eye. It has no other names, and no scientific Read more…

COVID Astronomy: Watching a bus-sized asteroid whiz by Earth during a pandemic

by Galin Borisov and Apostolos Christou This September, we had the first opportunity to make astronomical observations while physically present at the telescope since the start of the COVID19 pandemic. Our instrument of choice was the 2-m RCC telescope at Rozhen Observatory on the Rhodope mountains in SW Bulgaria. So here we are at 1700m above sea level with a forecast for good weather and ready for new discoveries! One Read more…