In a nutshell, comets are small bodies of ice and dust in orbit around the Sun. When they pass near the sun, they start to vaporize creating long tails of dust and gas. Even this small amount of information makes us ask so many questions about these members of our solar system.
Article written by: Heather Alexander, Education officer At the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium we have been having a look at all the things that are going to happen throughout the year and trying to select some of the events that we are most looking forward to. Needless to say this Read more…
Our view of the cosmos is biased by the vista that is apparent to our eyes. This is what the view in what we call the optically visible portion of the spectrum. To the unaided eye it is a view of a universe full of stars, together with five planets, one Moon and of course the Sun. When augmented with a telescope, our eyes can then see a universe full of galaxies – giant cities of stars.
Here we are, on the count down to Christmas, and we’re having a look at all the Astronotes that have been written for our blog this year. We’ve had input not just from the Education Team this year, but also the Academic Staff of the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium.
The long cold dark nights have well and truly settled in, and now that it’s December it’s officially acceptable to say the C word. Christmas, Christmas is coming! And so is Santa Claus! Decorations are going up, there’s mad panic to buy Christmas presents and families are organising who’s having dinner and where. Ahh I love this time of year.
The discovery of planets orbiting around other stars has been one of humankinds greatest achievements. The existance of these ‘exo-planets’ can challenge our perception of our place in the universe. Since the first confirmed detection of a planet around another normal star (51 Peg) in 1995, many thousands of planets have been discovered. Indeed, it is likely that most stars will have their own system of planets. It is important in answering the question – is there intelligent life out there?
October is here! It is one of our favourite months as there is so much more to see in the sky and the nights are getting deliciously darker. One thing to remember when you are stargazing is to wrap up warm when you venture outside. The nights are getting much colder, and with some of the best stargazing occurring in the early hours of the morning, we don’t want anyone catching a chill. Thermals and a thermos filled with hot chocolate or coffee will do the trick. Also don’t forget that we will be starting our Star Tracker evenings in the coming months!
Have you ever been worried about the impact of an asteroid wiping out human life? Well, I have some disturbing news for you: there is another possibility involving the explosion of a massive star that gives rise to a gamma-ray burst (called by astronomers simply a GRB), when the star ends its life producing a black hole.