Astronomy Resources for Teachers

I’ve started a page with some links, facts and ideas for teachers, educators and anyone else that wants them. Quite often when I’m visiting schools, I throw lots of URLs around and talk about websites, books, etc that kids and teachers might like. Then I often forget to give them these URLs and tips. So now […]

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A Brand New Milky Way Project

Just over three years the Zooniverse launched the Milky Way Project (MWP), my first citizen science project. I have been leading the development and science of the MWP ever since. 50,000 volunteers have taken part from all over the world, and they’ve helped us do real science, including creating astronomy’s largest catalogue of infrared bubbles – which […]

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Astronomy in Everyday Life

Astronomers are sometimes asked to defend public funding of their work. It’s difficult to answer because I really do think that there are lots of things we should do just because they’re interesting and enriching and that science shouldn’t be limited be what is economically beneficial. That said, astronomy is often given an easy ride […]

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Astronomy and Computing: A New Journal

A new journal begins today, Astronomy and Computing, covering the intersection of astronomy, computer science and information technology. This journal is desperately needed in my view and I wish it every success. The timing is interesting as many people at the intersection of these research areas are skeptical of old-style journals and the current state […]

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That’s No Supermoon

The periodic mention of a ‘supermoon‘ in the news cycle is starting to annoy me. A supermoon is simply not that much bigger than any other Moon!  It’s apparently just perceptible but by no means would you call it ‘super’. Annoyingly though, observation of the so-called supermoon is wrapped up in another effect: the Moon Illusion. This means that […]

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Searching for Planets in the Pleiades

There’s a cool paper on arXiv today in which an intrepid band of astronomers (I assume they were/are intrepid) search for exoplanets around the stars in the Pleiades using Subaru. Spoiler alert: they don’t find any! However, it’s an interesting look at how to hunt for planets and small/faint objects in general. They find 13 potential […]

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Explore Planck Data in Chromoscope

ESA’s Planck mission reported results today showing the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB, see below) in greater detail than ever before. Planck achieves this amazing view of the earliest light in the Universe by combining and cleverly cross-matching data across a combination of 9 different frequencies, ranging from 30-857 GHz. In this way they can remove foreground […]

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