Tagged with: Astronomy

Posts (6)

  1. Weather permitting we can all look to the heavens tonight as BBC Stargazing Live returns to BBC One at 8pm.

    Read more

  2. Thanks to high pressure it was a dry weekend with plenty of sunshine, some cloud, frost and a few fog patches as well. The colder, brighter weather a welcome change after all the wet and windy weather we've had so far this winter! Temperatures over the weekend fell as low as minus 6 Celsius i...

    Read more

  3. After last year's successful event, Stargazing Live returns to BBC Two, 16-18 January 2012. Last year, up to 40,000 people took part in Stargazing astronomy activities in the UK and in 2012 BBC Learning and the Stargazing Live team are inviting more of you to get involved, with hundreds of ev...

    Read more

  4. Find out what you can expect to see in the night skies above Wales over the next few days with Dr Huw Boulton from the National Museum of Wales: Dr Huw Bolton In January, the BBC's Stargazing LIVE will link astronomers - both amateur and professional from around the world in a three-day event. There are also plenty of other many activities being organized by local astronomical societies and the National Museum of Wales, so everybody can join in. So what is astronomy all about? It is the oldest of the physical sciences and involves the study of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, galaxies and most fundamentally of all, how we attempt to answer the biggest questions in Nature - the origin and structure of the Universe itself. Whether you are a stargazer, a serious astronomer, or someone who just wants to know more about the Cosmos, astronomy is an outdoor pursuit which you can do from your back garden, with no more elaborate equipment than the naked eye. Even if you are not able to get out and see the stars, the ideas and vistas revealed by astronomy hold extraordinary fascination. Astronomy in Wales has a long history that extends way back over the centuries. There have been a number of pioneers in astronomy in the Principality, and in 1609, whilst Galileo was making his Earth-shaking observations through the newly-invented telescope in Italy. Meanwhile here in Britain, Thomas Harriott in London and his friend William Lower in Carmarthenshire, Wales also acquired telescopes which they used to observe the Moon. During the 1850s John Dillwyn Llewelyn and his daughter Thereza made some of the earliest photographs of the Moon from their private observatory at Penllergaer near Swansea. In 1888 Isaac Roberts of Denbighshire took the first photographs of the famous Andromeda Galaxy, revealing detail of its spiral structure never seen before. This galaxy is visible to the naked eye, and can be seen as a faint misty patch high in the southern sky on autumn and winter nights and is 2.5 million light years away from our Solar System. The recent solar eclipse captured by Kev Lewis at South Stack, Anglesey on 5 January 2011. It was called the 'Little Cloud' by the 10th Century Persian astronomer Al Sufi, and is the most distant object visible to normal unaided eyesight. Its faint glow is the combined output of the billions of stars that make up this giant galaxy. If you have a pair of binoculars, they will give you a great view of this magnificent object. Closer to home, Wales has also received visitors from our own Solar System, not aliens unfortunately, but meteorites - rocky remnants left over from its formation. Famous meteorite falls occurred at Pontlyfni in 1931 and at Beddgelert in 1949 - when the meteorite landed on a hotel. So how can you get involved in astronomy? Firstly, owning a telescope is not a necessity for viewing the night sky. Binoculars are excellent instruments for viewing the skies, and will reveal far more than can be seen with the eye. The UK, including Wales, is lucky in having large numbers of flourishing local astronomical societies, many of which hold public viewing sessions where you can talk to enthusiasts, ask questions, and have the opportunity to use telescopes. Wales, at the moment, is also lucky in that large parts of the nation are still relatively free of artificial lights - the careless use of which blots out the stars making them difficult to see from cities, and increasingly, many smaller towns. Large parts of the country are still free of light pollution however, especially our National Parks. If you want to know more about astronomy, how to take part, what to look for, how to use a telescope (or anything else), follow the BBC's Stargazing Live event, and come along to one or more of the free events being held across Wales to celebrate the night sky. At any event, there will be a wide range of people with different levels of experience, so don't feel shy about asking questions. Dr Huw Boulton National Museum of Wales: See for yourself how these early telescopes worked, and see part of the Beddgelert Meteorite and other meteorites from around the world at the National Museum Cardiff on 8th January 2011 and 2nd April 2011.

    Read more

  5. Astronomy will be brought down to earth in a special moment of live stargazing that will motivate the nation to look up at the wonders that fill our skies every night of the year. The three episodes on BBC Two, stripped over the three consecutive nights of 3 - 5 January will be presented by Prof Brian Cox, Dara O Briain and One Show astronomer Mark Thompson whilst Liz Bonin is live from Hawaii. In his own inimitable fashion, Brian shows how anyone can be an astronomer, as he encourages the audience to set off on their own journey of discovery. This event is being planned to coincide with a series of three exciting celestial events that should be visible to amateurs and experts alike in the UK (weather permitting!). Each of these events will provide an ideal way to theme each programme including the appearance of Jupiter in conjunction with Uranus for the first time since the 14th Century, a spectacular partial solar eclipse and the Quadrantid Meteor Shower. The presenters will answer questions, request photographs of the sky from the audience and use demonstrations and real-time astronomical images to guide the nation's amateur astronomers across the skies. There will be plenty of resources on offer such as downloadable star charts and audio guides to get you started and plenty of events happening throughout Wales.

    Read more

  6. It's that time of year again and we're in for a treat tonight and early on Tuesday morning as the skies should be fairly clear over much of Wales. The Geminids can be seen annually at this time of year. Most meteor showers are linked to dust and debris from comets but the Geminids originate from an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon. 3200 Phaethon has a cloud of dust trailing from it that the Earth moves through every year in mid December. Particles of dust travelling at 80,000 mph hit our atmosphere and appear as bright pale green streaks of light, streaking across the sky at a rate of up to 80 per hour. To see the Geminids, stand with your feet pointing North, West or Southwards and look up at an angle of about 45 degrees. I'll be cheating this time and using my iphone 'star walk' application to find them! ;) If you know your constellations then look up towards the Castor star which forms part of Gemini. The best time to see them will be a couple of hours after midnight so set your alarm and wrap up warm, as it will be a chilly night. There's a nice little piece in the Guardian about the meteor showers today. As ever I'd love to see your pics particularly with the BBC 'star gazing' event coming up in early January...but more on that nearer the time. Send your pics to me at wales.nature@bbc.co.uk or submit them to our fantastic Flickr group.

    Read more