Milky Way Archive

  • Have you ever been worried about the impact of an asteroid wiping out human life? Well, I have some disturbing news for you: there is another possibility involving the explosion of a massive star that gives rise to a gamma-ray burst (called by astronomers simply a GRB), when the star ends its life producing a black hole.

    How Iron Keeps Us Safe

    Have you ever been worried about the impact of an asteroid wiping out human life? Well, I have some disturbing news for you: there is another possibility involving the explosion of a massive star that gives rise to a gamma-ray burst (called by astronomers simply a GRB), when the star ends its life producing a black hole.

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  • July 4, 2018 saw the 150th birthday of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868 - 1921), one of the most important astronomers of the 20th century. Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, Leavitt graduated from Radfcliffe College, Harvard, in 1892. She then stayed on at the Harvard College Observatory as a volunteer research assistant. Whilst attempting a graduate degree in astronomy and travelling in Europe, she became ill with grave consequences for her hearing. In 1902, then director, Edward Pickering, invited Henrietta to join the permanent staff at Harvard, where she was assigned to study “variable” stars.

    Measuring the Universe – 150th birthday of Henrietta Swan Leavitt

    July 4, 2018 saw the 150th birthday of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868 - 1921), one of the most important astronomers of the 20th century. Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, Leavitt graduated from Radfcliffe College, Harvard, in 1892. She then stayed on at the Harvard College Observatory as a volunteer research assistant. Whilst attempting a graduate degree in astronomy and travelling in Europe, she became ill with grave consequences for her hearing. In 1902, then director, Edward Pickering, invited Henrietta to join the permanent staff at Harvard, where she was assigned to study “variable” stars.

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  • Approximately every other star in the Milky Way galaxy is in a 'binary' system. These binaries are made up of two stars orbiting around a common centre of gravity. The time taken for the stars in the binary to make one revolution is called the 'orbital period'. Binaries have a wide range of orbital period. The closest stellar system to the Sun is alpha Centauri which has two stars not unlike our Sun orbiting around one another every 80 years. A third member of the system, Proxima Centauri, which is much smaller red dwarf star, orbits around these two stars once every 10,000 years.

    A new ultra-compact binary star

    Approximately every other star in the Milky Way galaxy is in a 'binary' system. These binaries are made up of two stars orbiting around a common centre of gravity. The time taken for the stars in the binary to make one revolution is called the 'orbital period'. Binaries have a wide range of orbital period. The closest stellar system to the Sun is alpha Centauri which has two stars not unlike our Sun orbiting around one another every 80 years. A third member of the system, Proxima Centauri, which is much smaller red dwarf star, orbits around these two stars once every 10,000 years.

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  • Article by Jorick Vink , Astronomer at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium When you are fortunate enough to have a clear view of the night sky, and you start wondering […]

    Massive stars – what are they?

    Article by Jorick Vink , Astronomer at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium When you are fortunate enough to have a clear view of the night sky, and you start wondering […]

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  • Article by: Holly Preece, PhD student at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium NASA’s Hubble space telescope was launched on 24th April 1990. It was the first optical space telescope to […]

    Hubble Space Telescope 2018 Review

    Article by: Holly Preece, PhD student at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium NASA’s Hubble space telescope was launched on 24th April 1990. It was the first optical space telescope to […]

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  • As the summer draws to a close September is a perfect time for stargazing before the cold nights of winter finally creep in. With sunset around 9pm and a forecasted […]

    September Night Sky 2017

    As the summer draws to a close September is a perfect time for stargazing before the cold nights of winter finally creep in. With sunset around 9pm and a forecasted […]

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  • Michael Burton, Director, AOP On 27th July 2017, the RoI Minister John Halligan switched on I-LOFAR telescope, the largest radio telescope in the world, at Birr Castle in Co. Offaly. The Armagh Observatory […]

    I-LOFAR – a new radio telescope for Ireland

    Michael Burton, Director, AOP On 27th July 2017, the RoI Minister John Halligan switched on I-LOFAR telescope, the largest radio telescope in the world, at Birr Castle in Co. Offaly. The Armagh Observatory […]

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  • Michael Burton, Director of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium Have you been enthralled by the BBC’s Stargazing Live Australia, hosted by Brian Cox and Dara O Briain and shown over three […]

    Stargazing Live Australia and a trip down memory lane

    Michael Burton, Director of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium Have you been enthralled by the BBC’s Stargazing Live Australia, hosted by Brian Cox and Dara O Briain and shown over three […]

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  • Given that astronomy dates back to early written records from the Babylonians around 1600 BC if not earlier, black holes are a relatively new addition to human knowledge of the […]

    A Brief History of Black Holes

    Given that astronomy dates back to early written records from the Babylonians around 1600 BC if not earlier, black holes are a relatively new addition to human knowledge of the […]

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  • It’s August and suddenly the nights are getting a bit longer so what is there to see in our night sky this month?     Everyone should watch out for […]

    The August 2016 Night Sky

    It’s August and suddenly the nights are getting a bit longer so what is there to see in our night sky this month?     Everyone should watch out for […]

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