Harry reports on the latest exciting development on the Sun: the disappearance of the magnetic hole at its north pole!

May 4, 2011

Nick Lomb
The magnetic field simulations are shown for 2010 November 6th and for 2011 February 16. Open field is marked pink or green while closed field connecting opposite polarities is yellow. Harry Roberts and the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory While the sun doesn’t look magnetic in a small telescope, our star is a wholly magnetic body – and despite it’s huge size, one that can change quickly.

Want to see bits of dust left behind by Halley’s Comet burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere? Watch out for the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower on the early morning of Friday 6 May 2011

May 3, 2011

Nick Lomb
The position of Earth and the path of Halley’s Comet on 6 May 2011. Image courtesy JPL Each year in early May the Earth runs into a stream of dust left behind by Halley’s Comet. The comet itself is far away, almost at the furthest point of its long, elongated, oval-shaped path round the Sun.

May 2011 night sky guide and podcast

April 29, 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 Melissa Hulbert, Astronomy Educator at Sydney Observatory.

May 2011 night sky guide transcript

April 29, 2011

This is a transcript of a podcast of the May 2011 night sky guide presented by Melissa Hulbert. Download and listen to the podcast as you gaze up at the night sky. Hello and welcome to the night sky guide for May.

Why is it Easter this weekend (updated)?

April 20, 2011

Nick Lomb
Sunset from Sydney Observatory on 2 December 2009. Picture Geoff Wyatt The simple definition of Easter Day is: The Sunday following the full Moon which happens upon or next after the March equinox.

Superb Korean astronomical images

April 13, 2011

Geoff Wyatt
One of the nicest aspects of working in this spectacular observatory is the range of people that come to visit. Allan recently met Mr Francis Ahn from Korea who was holidaying and took the time to show us some of his images.

Has the famous Pioneer anomaly been finally solved?

April 13, 2011

Nick Lomb
The Pioneer 10 spacecraft. Courtesy Pioneer Project, ARC, NASA Over the last decade or so one of the most intriguing mysteries in astronomy and physics has been the so-called, Pioneer anomaly. In the early 1970s NASA launched two spacecraft, Pioneer 10 and 11, towards the planets Jupiter and Saturn.

50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s First Space Flight

April 12, 2011

Andrew Jacob
  Fifty years ago today humanity began its journey into space. On the morning of April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin bravely sat atop an explosive can of kerosene and liquid oxygen. A few minutes later he was travelling at over 38,000 km/hr a few hundred kilometres above the ground.

Harry sees double as sunspot AR11164 splits into two

April 6, 2011

Nick Lomb
Two views of the unusual sunspot group AR11164 sketched three days apart. Image and copyright Harry Roberts ©, all rights reserved Eye-catching surges, writhing like snakes in brilliant red, were how this strange group announced itself.