Daily cosmobite: Sun eclipse in Africa

November 2, 2013

Nick Lomb
An interesting hybrid eclipse, not visible from Australia or New Zealand takes place late Sunday evening Australian time. The eclipse begins as an annular eclipse in the North Atlantic Ocean, but by the time it reaches the coast of Africa at Gabon it is total with duration of totality just over one minute.

Daily cosmobite: Melbourne approaches Earth

November 1, 2013

Nick Lomb
Asteroid or space rock 336698 Melbourne circles the Sun every five and a half years between the paths of Mars and Jupiter. German amateur astronomer Erwin Schwab discovered the asteroid on 5 February 2010 using a remotely operated telescope.

Daily cosmobite: star pictures

October 31, 2013

Nick Lomb
Astronomers recognise 88 constellations or star pictures in the sky. About half of the constellations date back several thousands of years to the ancient Greeks or to even earlier times. Ancient constellations currently visible in the evening sky include Sagittarius the Archer and Scorpius the Scorpion.

Daily cosmobite: panic broadcast anniversary

October 30, 2013

Nick Lomb
On this day in 1938 the American actor Orson Welles produced and also narrated a radio production of War of the Worlds. Like the science fiction novel on which the play was based, it told of the invasion of Earth by Martians, but with the action moved to New Jersey and New York City American astronomer Percival Lowell thought that the Martian canals that he mapped indicated intelligent life on the planet.

Daily cosmobite: Mars and the Moon

October 29, 2013

Nick Lomb
Before dawn early risers can see the bright planet Jupiter in the northern sky, while the red planet Mars is below and to its east or right. Tomorrow morning the crescent Moon is above and to the right or east of Mars so that the planet can be found easily in the sky.

Daily cosmobite: the Sea Monster

October 28, 2013

Nick Lomb
The constellation of Cetus the Sea Monster is low in the east in the early evening. According to the old drawings of the constellation its head is down near the horizon and its body is upwards. It is the fourth largest constellation in the sky covering just over 1200 square degrees.

Daily cosmobite: a nearby star

October 26, 2013

Nick Lomb
Cetus the Sea Monster is low in the eastern sky in the early evenings. One of its stars, Tau Ceti, is among the nearest to our Sun at a distance of 12 light years. When in 1960 scientists began a pioneering project to search for artificial radio signals from space, Tau Ceti was the first star to be observed.

Daily cosmobite: meteors and meteorites

October 25, 2013

Nick Lomb
There are often reports of people seeing lights quickly streaking quickly in the night sky. If the light is relatively faint it is a meteor, while if it is brighter it is a fireball or bolide. Only if the small rock that causes the fireball reaches the ground is it called a meteorite.

Daily cosmobite: Uranus moons anniversary

October 24, 2013

Nick Lomb
On this day in 1851, William Lassell, an astronomer from Liverpool, England, who was a brewer by profession, discovered two moons of the outer planet Uranus. These were the third and fourth moons circling Uranus to be found.

Daily cosmobite: Aquila the Eagle

October 23, 2013

Nick Lomb
This constellation with its bright star Altair is high in the northern sky in the early evening. According to Greek legend Jupiter, the king of the gods, sent the eagle to bring him the shepherd boy Ganymede as his cupbearer.

Daily cosmobite: Venus landing anniversary

October 22, 2013

Nick Lomb
The USSR spacecraft Venera 9 consisted of an orbiter and a lander. Reaching the planet’s surface on this day in 1975, the lander became the first spacecraft to show images from the surface of another planet.

Daily cosmobite: great telescope anniversary

October 21, 2013

Nick Lomb
Today is the anniversary of the dedication in 1897 of the world’s largest lens telescope. The giant telescope collects light with a one metre diameter lens at the front of a long tube. Charles Tyson Yerkes, a Chicago millionaire businessman, financed the telescope and its associated observatory.