Carnival of Space #479

Carnival of Space Image Credit: Jason Major

Well it’s been an amazing week for amateur astronomers here in South Africa.  After weeks of frantic last-minute preparations, the annual ScopeX telescope and astronomy expo ran without a hitch on Saturday, and I think it was a huge success.  We had a good turnout from the Amateur Telescope Making community, the astrophotography competition was well supported, and our special guests were a real hit with their talks in the auditorium.  Francis O’Reilly of the famous Stellafane telescope building club, flew … Continue reading →

Review: Cosmic Watch

Cosmic Watch

Every now and then, we get asked to review astronomy tools.  This time it’s a nifty app called Cosmic Watch, available on both Android and iOS devices.  It was written by a team of Swiss developers, and at its core is simply an astronomical clock.  But as you explore the beautiful interface, and work through its many options, it becomes clear that the app offers so much more. Features So what exactly is an ‘astronomical clock’? According to the Cosmic … Continue reading →

Carnival of Space #474

Carnival of Space Image Credit: Jason Major

Welcome back to another Carnival of Space, Urban Astronomer style.  The week felt quiet, after the excitement of running a live video stream of our partial view of the annular solar eclipse of the Sun, so it was a big surprise to find so many space science and astronomy writers sending in their work for this week’s edition of the carnival. So without any further prevaricating around the bush, let’s get started. Kicking off the Carnival of Space, our first … Continue reading →

African Solar Eclipse of 2016

African Solar Eclipse of 2016

There is an enormous amount of publicity being built up for the Great American Eclipse next year, but there’s another eclipse coming up much sooner, and closer to home (for me, at least): The Great African Solar Eclipse of 2016! Sure, it’s only an annular eclipse and I won’t be anywhere near the path of totality (yes I know that strictly speaking, annular eclipses don’t ever reach totality. But you know what I mean!), but it’s tomorrow so you don’t … Continue reading →

Will Mars look as big as the Moon in August?

Will Mars look as big as the Moon?

Dear Urban Astronomer   I recently received this presentation in an email.  Apparently, Mars will look as big as the Moon on 27 August, because it will be closer to us than ever before in recorded history and will look as big as the Moon in the sky.  Is this true? I was tempted to simply dismiss this as a joke.  After all, it’s not like anybody still falls for this, right?  Surely people remember seeing the same hoax this time … Continue reading →