Blog Profile / Astronomy Blog

Filed Under:Academics / Astronomy
Posts on Regator:100
Posts / Week:0.2
Archived Since:March 16, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Humanity vs mankind

Note (2015-09-23 09:45 UTC): updated to include clarification that "human" and "man" don't share a root.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

First astronaut to run a marathon in space

Despite what several major-media organisations may have reported in recent months, the first astronaut to run a marathon in space was Sunita Williams. She ran the Boston Marathon in 2007 onboard the International Space Station.The Telegraph...Show More Summary

Why has astronaut Helen Sharman been written out of history?

This is an unexpected follow up to my last blog post about Britain's first astronaut.Our first astronaut was Helen Sharman. In 1991! I just saw an article on the Guardian website whose title is "Blast off! Why has astronaut Helen Sharman been written out of history?". Show More Summary

Britain's First Astronaut

As the seventh, British-born, astronaut was heading towards the International Space Station today, you could be mistaken for thinking he was the first British astronaut. He wasn't. He is either the second, seventh or eighth depending on how broad you want to be at defining "British". Show More Summary

Human spaceflight

How many people have been to space? That all depends on your definition of space. The Earth's atmosphere doesn't have a fixed boundary. It just gets thinner and thinner. The closest to an international standard we have is an altitude of 100 km. Show More Summary

The infographic book of space

As of last Thursday I am a published author (ignoring my thesis). I created a book of infographics relating to space with Chris North from Cardiff University. I say created, rather than wrote, as much of the effort went into creating visualisations of data and concepts. Show More Summary

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

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