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Todays Google Doodle (2) February 19, 2013

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Today is Nicolaus Copernicus 540th birthday.Quiet Monumental!

Today is Nicolaus Copernicus 540th birthday.
Quite Monumental!

The first time I heard about the work of Copernicus was in a History of Science class in University. I really enjoyed the journey through time looking at Science. Recently, I did something similar with a Yr7 class. We looked at the history of the magnets and magnetism. The students had a lot of questions and we finished with the making a compass practical.

Any subject could be Scientific!

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At Zenith December 7, 2012

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Today's Pricture of the day http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap121207.html

Today’s Picture of the day

I recently began an on-line Astronomy course. I was and still am excited about it. However I have lately realised that my previous knowledge isn’t much. Slightly humbled I have spent time looking over the course material and jotting down notes.

Finding a star: Before I would open up Stellarium and match the up the stars. Now I understand the term ‘at its Zenith’ and that a star is at its highest (from an observers prospective) when on east to west journey it crosses the Celestial Meridian. Hopefully by Christmas I would be able to tell the time by looking at the night sky!

I do love the rush all this new information brings.  It’s like being a first year undergraduate – swollen with all this knowledge. I feel quite young again.

At this time of year the nights are clear so I am going to wrap up and put theory into practise.

Moon cakes* and Sunshine September 21, 2012

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Every day my alarm goes off at 6.30. This week it’s been a struggle to get up as it no longer light at this time.

What does this mean? The autumnal equinox is tomorrow (14:49 Universal Time). It’s officially the first day of fall.

The website EarthSky.org gives this explanation

Because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly.  We have an equinox twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun. 

Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally now.  Night and day are approximately equal in length.  The name ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night).

As the leaves change colour and the final days of harvest draw near. I hope you enjoy the delights of this season.

*In China during the equinox, moon cakes are shared hence the title.

A Headful of Goodies July 11, 2012

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I saw this poster at a station

On Sunday, two young friends and I braved the downpour  and went to the Summer Science Exhibition. It was worth the soaking!

My favourite exhibits were

  • Probing our cosmic origins with ALMA: In the northern desert of Chile several countries have collaborated the build this giant array of fifty antenna. ALMA has high spatial and velocity resolution and high sensitivity. Now scientists can observe the formation of stars planets and galaxies. Since the telescopes can detect wavelengths emitted in these regions of space. I found this so exciting!
  • Insect Birth Control: Several deadly diseases (malaria/ dengue fever) are transmitted by insects (mosquitoes). Current methods of pest control often destroy the ecosystem as other lifeforms also die. Scientists have successfully reduced the mosquito population on a certain island. Releasing thousands of sterile males into the wild over a short period of time. Within several months the insects decreased by eighty percent!
  • POP! The sound of bubbles: We played the bubble organ which demonstrated the size of a bubbles and the pitch. Larger bubbles have lower pitch.

I was able to talk to several scientists about their work and If you want to find out more please visit the Royal society website.

The Transit of Venus May 26, 2012

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On the 5th and 6th of June, Venus will travel on her orbital path between the Earth and Sun.

Why is this news? Good question! The next time this event will occur it will be 2117! So now is the time to test theories and add to our ever-increasing knowledge of the universe. 

Why is this of astronomical importance? The atmosphere of planets or exoplanets cause the light from the star(Sun) to bend. Compounds and elements that are present in this atmosphere can be detected.

When can I see this rare sight? In the UK the transit of Venus can be view on dawn the 6th June.

For more information look at the Astronomy.co.uk website.