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Catching the planets and new views of Mars

Looking west after sunset on Friday September 26, the thin waxing crescent moon forms a triangle with Mercury and Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. You can see how far Mercury has…

Weekend planet watch

As another, hopefully sunny, weekend rolls around it’s a great time to get out and spot some planets. Around an hour before sunrise, you can catch Jupiter with the moon. The moon is a thin waning crescent…

Prepare yourself – wild solar weather ahead

During the early hours of this morning (3:42am AEST) our sun released a strong solar flare. It follows right on the heels of a more moderate flare that was released from the same region of the sun on Tuesday…

Asteroid 2014 RC to buzz by Earth

A small asteroid discovered just five days ago will fly past Earth early on Monday September 8 (AEST) travelling through our south-west sky. Designated 2014 RC, the asteroid will pass by at distance of…

Where are we in the universe?

Have you ever considered our cosmic address? It’s a fun device I’ve often used to help students get a grasp on our place in the universe. For example, I work at the Melbourne Planetarium, 2 Booker St…

We are all made of stars

Astronomers spend most of their time contemplating the universe, quite comfortable in the knowledge that we are just a speck among billions of planets, stars and galaxies. But last week, the Australian…

Mars, Saturn and the claws of Scorpius

Look up at the night sky this week and you’ll find Mars and Saturn together in the west. Mars stands out with its reddish colouring and you might just be able to detect a faint yellow tinge to Saturn…

Northern Perseids battle the moon

Over in the northern hemisphere, where summer is in full swing, it’s the time of the Perseids meteor shower. Generally it’s their best shower of the year, with 100 meteors predicted each hour over August…

Supermoon … or not so super?

A beautiful full moon is set to rise this Sunday night, August 10. It will be spectacular and I encourage everyone to go outside and have a look. But the question is: will it be a supermoon? Technically…

Rosetta’s rendezvous with a comet

After a decade of travelling through space, and years before that of mission planning, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft is right on track to deliver a superb mission. Already it has…