On the 11th of February 2016, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced that they had detected the first evidence of the existence of gravitational waves the previous September. At the time this was a massive triumph for the team that observed them and made headlines worldwide. So what are gravitational waves? In 1916, … Continue reading Gravitational Waves
A little bit of housekeeping is in order. Technically speaking I probably should have started with Capricorn but given Aquarius is in January I started with that. Nonetheless, the Sun in our series will have gone through all the signs of the zodiac on its journey around the ecliptic. As we have started housekeeping I … Continue reading Finale – The Constellation Capricorn.
Sagittarius lies at the centre of the galaxy and is represented in mythology as a Centaur pulling back a bow. From the northern hemisphere, the brighter stars are easily recognised from an asterism known as the teapot. The brightest star in Sagittarius is Epsilon, a rapidly spinning binary star. At 143 light years from us, … Continue reading The Constellation Sagittarius
Scorpius, more commonly known as Scorpio in astrology, lies between Libra and Sagittarius on the Sun's journey of the ecliptic. Although the constellation is seldom called Scorpius officially, it is the correct name. The sun is only within the bounds of Scorpius for 6 days from November the 23rd until the 28th.Scorpius is Latin for … Continue reading The Constellation Scorpius
For the reputation that Libra has amongst astrologists, witch doctors and fortune tellers as a fire sign, Libra is actually very faint in the night sky with no first magnitude stars. Libra, Latin for "weighing scales" has been known since ancient times. In Mesopotamia, the Sun God of the people Shamash was the patron of … Continue reading The Constellation Libra
Cancer, also known as "the dark sign", is a medium sized constellation surrounded by Gemini to the West, Leo, Canis Minor and Hydra. The Brightest star in Cancer is Beta Cancri which only has an apparent magnitude of 3.5. So it's brightest star isn't overly bright and neither are the rest of them hence the … Continue reading The Constellation Cancer
Gemini, known as the "Heavenly Twins", is one of the easiest constellations to recognise with over 80 stars visible without a telescope. For astronomy it is one of the most examined constellations due to its diversity. It is rich with various types of stars, galaxies, meteor showers and planetary nebulae. In Greek mythology, Castor was … Continue reading The Constellation Gemini.
Taurus, the bull, is one of the most prominent constellations in the night sky. Not only is it referenced in almost all classical mythology, it dates back to the early Bronze Age! Taurus is likely to be the first constellation noted give its prominence and was once known as the bull of heaven. In Roman … Continue reading The Constellation Taurus
Aries is located in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere with Pisces to the east and Taurus to the west. Aries comes from the Latin word for Ram. Aries itself is a mid sized constellation ranked 44th in size and it takes up around 1.1% of the celestial sphere we can see. The largest constellation title belongs … Continue reading The Constellation Aries
The name Pisces comes from the Latin plural for fish and easily seen with the naked eye. It lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east. Pisces was known in ancient times and the ancient Greeks associated Pisces with Aphrodite and Eros. To escape the demon Typhon, they jumped into the sea … Continue reading The Constellation Pisces