Blog Profile / Astronomy Blog

Filed Under:Academics / Astronomy
Posts on Regator:94
Posts / Week:0.2
Archived Since:March 16, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Humanity vs mankind

It has been a very long time since my last blog post but I've been making a book, cycling across Europe, and had little to say in long-form.This post is about language - particularly language commonly used in astronomy/space contexts. Show More Summary

Fake New Year 2015

You may be seeing claims that this image shows Europe at midnight on New Year's Eve. It doesn't. It is a mosaic showing lighting changes from 1993-2003. Not the view at midnight. CREDIT: NASA/NOAA Ways to tell this pictures isn't what...Show More Summary

Raising Aspirations

This is a difficult post to write. This has been in my head for years (many years) and it will be very long and incoherent so please bear with me. I may regret sharing these personal things with the world but here goes...I've just been crying, uncontrollably, into my lunch. Show More Summary

3D 67P

The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is currently orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is a very exciting mission as it will soon release a lander - Philae - which will be the first time humanity has landed on a comet.The team recently released a 3D model of the comet. Show More Summary

Where does outreach funding go?

Over the past 8 years I've been based in Manchester and Cardiff. During my time in those places I was involved with a few public engagement grants from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). These grants are called "Small...Show More Summary

Comparing areas

On Twitter over the weekend I saw a couple of retweets of an infographic comparing the money raised to combat various diseases and the number of deaths caused by those diseases in the US. The infographic is interesting. It is also unintentionally misleading within each column. Show More Summary


The UK's Daily Mail reporting is shoddy at best and their content can be malicious. They make basic factual errors and aren't keen to correct mistakes. That is probably a given and I'm pretty used to the baseline level of distaste I have towards them. Show More Summary

Multi-wavelength Universe Activity

When you look up at objects in the night sky you only see part of the picture; you see visible light. In reality, the universe is emitting light at a huge range of wavelengths from radio waves to gamma rays and everything in between....Show More Summary

APOD Linked Data

This is a very esoteric post about Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) and data formats so if neither of those interest you feel free to look at a pretty picture of a nebula instead.Since 2007 I've been running the @apod Twitter account. Show More Summary

Stellar Spectra

I've mentioned previously that the British Library has put over a million images into the public domain. That's a lot of images and there are some real gems amongst them. Today, via @benosteen I saw this image of stellar spectra from 1866. Show More Summary

The Old Astronomer

This morning I received a letter from my aunt in Canada. In it she included an extract from a poem by Sarah Williams (1841-1868) set to music composed by Haydn (1732-1809). The poem was "The Old Astronomer" - which I hadn't seen before - and it contains some lovely lines. Show More Summary

Earthrise 1896/1968/2013

I've been perusing the British Library's release of 1 million images into the public domain. Amongst them I found an artist's impression of the view of Earth from the Moon published in "The Half Hour Library of Travel, Nature and Science for youngreaders" (1896). Show More Summary

Fake New Year 2014

Last year I wrote a blog post debunking a picture claiming to be the view of Europe from space "at midnight" on New Year's Eve. The image doesn't show that. What it does show are changes in light between 1993-2003 and comes from the NOAA. Show More Summary

Star In A Box version 3

When I was at LCOGT one of the things I helped make was Star In A Box - an interactive tool to explore how stars change during their lives. During the summer it went through some user testing in school classrooms with students in Years 8 (12-13 years olds from sets 1 and; 2) and 10 (14-15 years old). Show More Summary

Space is not a luxury anymore

Back on 5th November India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) lifted-off from the First Launch Pad at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This was India's first inter-planetary mission and the successful launch and subsequent orbital manoeuvres were...Show More Summary

Virtual Sky - (Speedy) Gonzales Update

After adding a gnomic-tan projection to Virtual Sky I noticed that it was starting to get quite slow to draw the sky. Checking back through the code I realised that I was converting between degrees and radians quite a lot. Although that...Show More Summary

Virtual Sky - Gnomic Update

Recently I've been thinking it'd be good if VirtualSky was able to show a view centred on a specific position in the sky. In my sandbox version I've added a gnomic tan projection that will do exactly that. This could be useful for displaying constellations or perhaps basic finder charts. Show More Summary

APOD Search

In my last post I mentioned I'd made a search engine for Astronomy Picture of the Day. I've added a few improvements since last week: As well as individual words (and negated words), a search can now include phrases by putting them in quotation marks e.g. Show More Summary

Can't stop the APOD

Last week the US Congress decided to close down many of their Government services whilst they argue about a specific law that was enacted. For astronomy this has meant most NASA employees being made to stay at home without pay, closure...Show More Summary

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013

I was surprised, but delighted, to receive an invitation to attend the the award ceremony for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 held at the Royal Observatory Greenwich last night. Every year people from around the world submit...Show More Summary

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