Pythagorean Astronomy

This artist’s impression shows an imagined view of the three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and may be the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star. In this view one of the inner planets is seen in transit across the disc of its tiny and dim parent star.

Pythagorean Astronomy: TRAPPIST-1 and other stories

Posted on 27th March 2017 by

At the end of last month, there was a lot of interest in the discovery of seven roughly Earth-sized planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. One month on, Chris North and Edward Gomez discuss the implications of this discovery. We also get an update from the Amaury Triaud, of the University of Cambridge, about TRAPPIST and its successor, SPECULOOS.
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Pythagorean Astronomy: Backyard Worlds

Posted on 28th February 2017 by

February saw the first launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Rocket from Launchpad 39A – the same launchpad used by the Apollo missions and the Space Shuttle. In this month’s Pythagorean Astronomy, Edward Gomez and Chris North discuss these impressive structures along with the study of a supernova (the explosive death of a massive star) just hours
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Star Attractions. Image courtesy of National Museum, Cardiff

Pythagorean Astronomy: Star Attractions

Posted on 30th January 2017 by

Join Chris North and Edward Gomez as they discuss the month’s astronomy news. Not only were there two new NASA missions announced this month, but Space-X successfully returned to flight with their Falcon 9 rocket. Further afield, there are predictions of a pair of stars that are set to explode in a few years. Being
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Close-up of star near a supermassive black hole (artist’s impression)

Pythagorean Astronomy: Assassin Supernova

Posted on 19th December 2016 by

When is a supernova not a supernova? The brightest supernova on record was discovered in 2015 by the All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). Named ASASSN-15lh, this remarkable event – what looked like a huge brightening of a star in a distant galaxy – was observed by many other telescopes, including the Hubble Space
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Pythagorean Astronomy: the GLEAM Survey

Posted on 28th November 2016 by

We’ve got a lot of news items to discuss this month. In the outer Solar System, Edward Gomez and I discuss the Cassini spacecraft, which has made its final major orbital manoeuvre, and the Juno spacecraft, which has had a few issues getting into its main science orbit. Further from home, we’ve got the first “official”
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Pythagorean-Astronomy: ExoMars and Galaxies

Posted on 27th October 2016 by

A lot has happened this month – ESA got a spacecraft into orbit around Mars, but sadly lost the Schiaparelli lander, China launched two new taikonauts to their space station, and the Swarm mission uncovered details from Earth depths. Edward Gomez and I discussed these, and more, this month (though before the full nature of
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Pythagorean Astronomy: Rosetta & OSIRIS-Rex

Posted on 26th September 2016 by

This month sees the start of one mission and the end of another. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission launched at the start of the month to go and study asteroid Bennu, and even bring back a sample to Earth. Meanwhile, the end of the month sees the finale of ESA’s Rosetta mission, which has spent two years studying comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. With
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Artist's impression of Proxima b

Pythagorean Astronomy: Proxima b

Posted on 26th August 2016 by

After a few weeks of rumours, the announcement of the discovery of an Earth-size (maybe!) planet around the Sun’s nearest neighbour has caused quite a stir. The planet is more massive than the Earth, but probably not by much, and sits in a location where liquid water could (at least in principle), exist on it’s
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Pythagorean Astronomy: Mission Juno

Posted on 28th July 2016 by

In July 2016 NASA’s Juno spacecraft completed its five year journey to the planet Jupiter. On board is a suite of instruments and experiments that will provide exquisite insight into the history of our Solar System’s largest planet. The process of Jupiter’s formation is a long-standing mystery that planetary scientists have been trying to answer for decades. As the University
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