As unwitting passengers while the Earth spins around its axis, revolves around the Sun, accompanies the Sun as it circles the centre of the Galaxy and moves with the Galaxy through the Universe, how far do we travel? Should we be all be getting frequent flyer points?

September 13, 2011

Nick Lomb
The Galileo spacecraft obtained this image of the Earth with Australia prominently visible on 11 December 1990. Courtesy NASA/JPL Yesterday (12 September 2011) one of my colleagues at Sydney Observatory announced a significant birthday on the Observatory's Facebook page with the comment that in his lifetime he had travelled just under 47 billion km around the Sun.

Know your constellations: Lyra the Lyre

September 7, 2011

Nick Lomb
The northern hemisphere constellation of Lyra the Lyre with its bright star Vega. Drawing Nick Lomb using Stellarium software Did you know there is an upside down lyre hanging low in the northern sky each evening after dusk?

Watching the Galilean moons of a bright Jupiter through binoculars

September 6, 2011

Nick Lomb
Jupiter and its Galilean moons on 2 September 2011 at 2:07 UT as seen from a spot off the coast of Brazil. Diagram Nick Lomb using Stellarium Jayce Varghese asks: Hi I am a navigational officer onboard a Maersk line vessel (Maersk Lima) and I think I just sighted jupiter at its brightest in my entire sea life and near to it were three small white dots which I think are the moons.

Deadly Moons – an interactive workshop for teaching young children – wins an award from Science journal

August 30, 2011

Nick Lomb
Participants in a Deadly Moons workshop at the Wicklow Arts Festival pose with the creator of the workshop Deirdre Kelleghan. Courtesy Deadly Moons/UNAWE/Deirdre Kelleghan Deadly Moons is a drawing workshop to inspire children with astronomical images created by Deirdre Kelleghan of Ireland and an occasional contributor to the Sydney Observatory blog with her wonderful astronomical sketches.

September 2011 night sky guide podcast, transcript and sky map

August 27, 2011

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 audio sky guide is presented by Geoffrey Wyatt, senior astronomy educator at Sydney Observatory.

National Science Week outreach. Transit of Venus in Bega and Eden

August 22, 2011

Geoff Wyatt
The Transit of Venus outreach wound up with a visit to Bega and Eden last Friday, August 19th. Three high schools and two public sessions permitted around 90 people to attend despite the heavy morning rain at Bega Council Chambers and later at Eden Marine High School.

Basic astronomy 2: The astronomical coordinate system and time by the stars

August 17, 2011

Nick Lomb
The astronomical coordinate system around the south celestial pole. The circles represent lines of declination while the radial lines from the pole are the line of right ascension. Drawing from Stellarium To locate stars in the sky astronomers use a two coordinate system very similar to the longitude–latitude system used to specify coordinates on Earth.

National Science Week 2011- MadLab and Indigenous Astronomy

August 16, 2011

Geoff Wyatt
Just over 40 primary age children from the inner city schools of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Waterloo and Alexandria Park Community School attended Waterloo Community Library on Monday for a wonderful opportunity to make their own electronic circuits.

National Science Week 2011- The Transit of Venus

August 16, 2011

Geoff Wyatt
National Science Week 2011 started with a clear view of the Sun for the Transit of Venus Workshops at Springwood High School today. Springwood High School, Blue Mountains Grammar School and Korowal High School sent 55 physics, chemistry and maths students to attend the first of three outreach visits to areas associated with Sydney Observatory’s 1874 Transit of Venus observations.

Harry and Monty record increased activity on the Sun

August 15, 2011

Nick Lomb
A prominence, sketched in the light of hydrogen atoms, with an interesting 'hedgerow' shape. It occurred on 5 August 2011 and stretched 250 000 km around the edge of the Sun. Image and copyright Harry Roberts ©, all rights reserved Over the last few weeks the Sun has been becoming increasingly active as can be expected at this stage of the 11-year sunspot cycle.