Stellar Nursery NGC 6357: Image of the Month

A new image from the European southern Observatory’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy  (VISTA) telescope reveals the glowing clouds of gas and filaments of dust surrounding hot young stars in the stellar nursery known as NGC 6357. Infrared observations like this can reveal features that cannot be seen […]

Planet Nine from Outer Space

For those of you that are still bearing the psychological scars from Pluto’s demotion from planet to dwarf planet a decade ago, here is news that may add salt to the wounds. Published recently in the Astronomical Journal, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown claim they have found evidence of a […]

The Grand Tack

It is widely accepted that our Solar System was created about 4.6 billion years ago based on dating of meteorites. Scientists believe the Solar System formed when a cloud of dust was disrupted by the shockwave from the explosive death of a nearby star initiating its collapse into a stellar […]

A Spectacular View of the Lagoon Nebula

Peer deep into the constellation Sagittarius and you will find a spectacular young star cluster and its associated stellar nursery. These are M8 and the Lagoon Nebula.   More than 4300 light years (1320 parsecs) from the Solar System, this is an active star-forming region. Billions of years ago our […]

Stargazing in December

The December skies mark my favourite time of the year for stargazing. Despite the cold weather, the skies promise the best opportunities to see what lies beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. So pour yourself a hot chocolate, wrap up in warm clothes and head outside to witness the night sky’s wonders. […]

Stargazing in July

Looming large in the after dark southern sky in July is the large and overlapping but often overlooked constellations of Ophiuchus and Serpens. Lacking outstandingly bright stars these “two for one” constellations still contain much of interest.   Ophiuchus is one of the thirteen constellations that cross the ecliptic, making […]

Image of Galilean Moons

Wonders of the September Sky 2012

So summer is officially over so goodbye to the long bright evenings and short warm nights and hello to autumn with its optimal night sky viewing with the longer nights.Everything is just right.It is the Goldilocks of the stargazing seasons; we also have some of the joys of the summer […]

Image of carina nebula

What is a Nebula?

Beautiful colour images of nebulae grace astronomy books and websites and have spread to mainstream culture. They are now familar to the public but what are these gaudy celestial spectacles?   So what is a nebula? Nebula is latin for ‘cloud’ so it is the word astronomers use to call […]