Eclipse

Why do eclipses happen?

18 March 2015 Keith Cooper

Solar eclipses are relatively rare; they happen when the Moon moves directly and precisely in front of the Sun. Why are they so infrequent, and why do solar eclipses always come in pairs with lunar eclipses?

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The day it rained fire over Chelyabinsk

15 February 2015 Keith Cooper

Two years ago, on February 15th, the morning routine of the Chelyabinsk region in Russia was shattered by the arrival of a 20-metre-wide meteoroid that dramatically fragmented in the atmosphere. The ensuing shockwave shattered windows, damaged buildings and 1,491 people received injuries. What have we learned since 2013?

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How to prevent another Chelyabinsk

14 February 2015 Keith Cooper

The Chelyabinsk event two years ago heightened public awareness of the threat posed to humanity by an asteroid strike, but what can be done to prevent it happening again? The forthcoming Sentinel Space Telescope and ATLAS Project will hopefully prevent us being caught off guard.

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Lost Beagle 2 spacecraft found on Mars

16 January 2015 Keith Cooper

The UK’s Beagle 2 mission to Mars, which was lost in 2003 as it entered the red planet’s atmosphere, has been rediscovered by NASA’s eagle eye in the Martian sky, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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10 years since we landed on Titan

14 January 2015 Keith Cooper

Ten years ago today, on 14 January 2005, a compact, flattened cylinder called Huygens, chock-full of sensors, cameras and scientific experiments, went hurtling through the orange skies of the mysterious moon Titan.

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Pew! Rosetta’s comet stinks!

30 October 2014 Keith Cooper

If it were possible to breath in space, one would smell a pungent aroma of rotten eggs, ammonia, vinegary sulphur dioxide and toxic hydrogen cyanide coming from comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, according to sensors on the Rosetta mission.

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Mars probes will hide from comet dust

17 October 2014 Keith Cooper

This Sunday, a comet will come closer to Mars than any other comet has ever been seen to approach a planet without actually hitting it, sending our assorted spacecraft orbiting the red planet running for cover.

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Mars versus the comet

17 October 2014 Keith Cooper

A flotilla of spacecraft orbiting Mars will be turning their instruments in two directions – one towards Comet Siding Spring, and the other towards Mars itself, to find out what happens when a planetary atmosphere brushes against the fuzzy atmosphere of a comet.