Wednesday 5 September 2018

The Astronomy Show 05.09.18

The Astronomy Show 05.09.18

The Astronomy Show is back today, I have returned from my visit to Norway presenting a series of astronomy talks on one of the many cruise ships that visit that wonderful part of the world.

On the show today I will be looking at NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope which is 15 years old and still going strong. Launched back in 2003 Spitzer had a projected life time of 2.5 years, I will be looking at the many of the fantastic discoveries Spitzer has made including a new ring around Saturn and the detection of the 7 Earth like planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST 1.

In the night sky this week we have to start getting used to a lack of bright planets that can be seen  only Mars is still easily visible early in the evening sky although even the red planet  is now to be found low in the south west. As a compensation over the next few days for people up before sunrise it is possible to see Mercury about 45 minutes before the Sun rises in the east, Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. There is also the possibility of one of the minor meteor showers of the year the September Perseids producing a major outburst on September 9th I will investigate what is happening.

The other regular features include the latest astronomy news from the past few days including the New Horizon space craft which flew past Pluto in 2015 has now spotted its next target which has been nicknamed Ultima Thule. Did a micrometeorite poke a hole in the International Space Station? Everyone on board is safe and the hole has been repaired, and there could more water on Jupiter than that is found on Earth.

The A-Z of constellations is at Sagittarius the Archer while the Messier Marathon has reached M 74 in Pisces. The astronomical scrapbook looks at anniversaries this week including the 100th birthday of Katherine Johnson one of the women 'computers' who worked at NASA in the 1960s and helped put Americans into space, and she was black and led a team of black women 'computers'. Their incredible story is told in the film 'Hidden Figures'.  On September 2nd 1859 the Earth was hit by the Carrington solar flare the largest recorded flare to hit the Earth, it wiped out the world's communication system which at the time was the telegraph system. All this plus the latest news from the astronomical societies in the north.

The Astronomy Show only on Drystone Radio 103.5 FM every Wednesday afternoon between 3.00 pm and 5.00 pm, you can hear the show live on line at or listen to the show later via the Drystone Radio  podcast.


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