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A week of two halves January 9, 2011

Posted by Marie in Bad Astronomy, BBC Stargazing Live, ISS, Look up, Sun.
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I’m choosing the above as my title for this post because my first full week of astronomy in 2011 has been exactly that – the first half inspiring and packed full of new things, the second half totally washed out. ūüė¶

Or maybe that should be clouded out!  Although the moon made a brief appearance yesterday evening (Saturday 8th Jan), for most of the week the sky was actually covered in cloud, and there was nary a star or a planet to be seen.  Most disappointing.

Particularly as I, like many millions across the country, had been inspired by BBC’s Stargazing Live, three nights of live programming from just up the road at Jodrell Bank. ¬†I loved watching this (except for the parts with Jonathan Ross :-D) to such an extent that, on Thursday at 8pm, I felt strangely bereft that there was no programme!

The programme advised of a partial solar eclipse, meteor shower, and planets in the sky, but as I couldn’t see any of them, instead I enjoyed images produced by others. ¬†The most amazing one for me was of the International Space Station passing in front of the sun at the time of the eclipse. ¬†I’d love to put the picture on here because it did make me go WOW! ¬†But I don’t want to infringe any copyright, so here’s the link to the Bad Astronomy blog where I first saw the image – I do urge you to have a look, because it’s a-ma-zing!


Close to the Sun, but still cold? January 3, 2011

Posted by Marie in 365 Days of Astronomy, Meteorwatch, Sun.
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I have discovered that at 7pm today (January 3rd), the Earth will be the nearest to the sun that it gets all year.

So why is it so cold??!!

I won’t even begin to explain in any detail, because I’m not capable, but thanks to the links below, I can understand that it is because up here in the frozen north, we are tilted away from the sun and being as close as we are going to be¬†for the year doesn’t warm us up any ūüė¶

This first link helped me understand a little, and suggests an experiment with a left-over Christmas satsuma to provide a visual aid to explain.

365 Days of Astronomy РWhy winter is so cold

This one has a good image which helped me, too.


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