Category: space

Open University plays fast and loose

I’M ASTONISHED to see that the Open University has suppressed a comment I left pointing out a basic error on one of its new YouTube videos. Universities are supposed to be about sharing knowledge, not suppressing it, and the OU of…

Why that was no meteor shower

I was lucky enough to witness the strange fireball in the sky at about 11pm last night, Friday 21 September 2012. It was certainly a spectacular, and initially puzzling, sight – but I don’t think it can be called a…

The day I met Neil Armstrong

If you know only two things about Neil Armstrong, you will know that he was the first man to set foot on the moon, and that after his adventures in space he retreated to the quiet life of an engineering professor. What seems to…

Celebrating fakery

The Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Sky At Night magazine, has announced its results. Nearly 800 images, from shots of meteors streaking over the sky to deep-space images of nebulae, were submitted…

Lost in space

I have been known to shout at the television. I know it doesn’t help, but it makes me feel better. I was certainly doing so when watching what I thought would be a fascinating BBC documentary called Around the World…

Why ET doesn’t live on GJ 1214b

This looks like being quite a week in the search for extraterrestrial life. Today the European Southern Observatory has released details of the first analysis of the atmosphere of an exoplanet, while tomorrow (Thursday) NASA jumps on the bandwagon with…