Pythagorean Astronomy

Illustration of the DART spacecraft and LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system.

Pythagorean Astronomy: On Board with DART

Posted on 2 November 2022 by Chris North

At the end of September, NASA’s DART mission was deliberately crashed into the asteroid Dimorphos. Not carelessness, but a deliberate act with a view to testing planetary defense. After all, if we discover something large heading towards Earth, we might want to be able to nudge it off course. Here in Wales, the Comet Chasers
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Pythagorean Astronomy: Amateur Advances

Posted on 2 July 2022 by Chris North

Amateur astronomers regularly make important contributions to astronomy research. That can be through observations of meteor showers, or images of solar system objects. But it’s not always about pretty pictures, and some amateurs also make measurements that feed into our understanding of a broad range of astronomical phenomena, providing a network of telescopes that far
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An illustration of space debris in orbit around Earth

Pythagorean Astronomy: Space Environmentalism

Posted on 30 May 2022 by Chris North

In the 65 years since Sputnik 1 was launched in 1957, the number of artificial satellites in orbit has been increasing. In the last two years, the number of satellites has doubled, largely thanks to the huge “constellations” launched by companies such as SpaceX. The number of satellites has a detrimental impact on astronomical observations,
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Artist’s impression showing a two-star system where micronovae may occur.

Pythagorean Astronomy: Routine Spaceflight?

Posted on 7 May 2022 by Chris North

It’s not often that a new astronomical phenomenon is named, but this month we have a new one. The name might not be that original, but there have been the first observations of something known as a “micronova”. Lasting just a few hours, a micronova is much fainter than a typical “nova”, making them much
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Rosalind Franklin rover on the surface of Mars

Pythagorean Astronomy: Shadow of war

Posted on 30 March 2022 by Chris North

With the invasion of Ukraine casting a shadow over the world, Chris North and Edward Gomez (returning from a long hiatus!) look at the impact of the war on astronomy and space science, mindful that these pale in importance when compared with the death and destruction taking place on the ground. From the international collaboration
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Venus as seen by Akatsuki

Pythagorean Astronomy: Venus resurfaces

Posted on 1 March 2022 by Chris North

Back in September 2020, the new broke that an unexpected gas, phosphine had been discovered in the atmosphere of Venus. While plans for making further measurements are progressing, the theoreticians have been hard at work modelling the atmosphere, and trying to explain how life could possibly exist in such a harsh environment Dr William Bains,
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Artist's impression of a magnetar

Pythagorean Astronomy: Radio Repeater

Posted on 7 February 2022 by Chris North

When a mysterious signal was found by an undergraduate student, Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker was perplexed. It was hiding in archival data from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a large network of radio antennas in Western Australia. Based at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Natasha started to loop deeper. Repeating every 18 minutes, and
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Artist's impression on 'Oumuamua

Pythagorean Astronomy: Mysterious visitors bearing gifts

Posted on 29 December 2021 by Chris North

The first interstellar object to be discovered was ‘Oumuamua, detected in 2017. Joined by Comet 2I/Borisov a couple of years later, astronomers are eagerly awaiting further discoveries of such objects, which were ejected from other solar systems. We explore what the link is between these interstellar objects and the history of star formation around the
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