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 →

Where is the centre of the Universe?

Where is the Centre of the Universe?

Would finding the centre of the Universe help us understand our place in the Cosmos?  In a previous article, I talked about the problem of trying to measure speeds in space.  Because there are no fixed positions in the universe, there can be no such thing as an absolute, “real” speed.  Even the ground beneath your feet is attached to a planet hurtling through space!.  The very idea of speed simply means “The distance traveled, divided by the time it took … Continue reading →

Are we really headed for a collision with Andromeda?

Andromeda Galaxy

Dear Urban Astronomer I recently read that the andromeda system is our closest neighbour. Apparently, our galaxy is on a crash course with the andromeda system. They make it sound like its going to happen in the next few decades. I was just curious how much bigger is andromeda? How close is it to us? And how close are we to impact. Thanks in advance, Drew Dear Drew First thing first, we are indeed on a collision course with the Andromeda … Continue reading →

Will the Blood Moon harm my unborn baby?

Dear Urban Astronomer I am pregnant, and am worried that all these Blood Moons are harming my baby. I have asked around in my community, but everybody has their own scary story about what will happen to my baby if I go outdoors during the blood moon. Please let me know what precautions I must take. Yours, Hypothetical Reader     Okay so nobody actually mailed this question to me.  But at the time of writing, my wife is pregnant … Continue reading →

Do all planets spin in the same direction?

Dear Urban Astronomer Do all planets spin the same way, or are there some planets where the sun rises in their equivalent of West? Does it depend on the particular solar system? What about the stars in a galaxy — do they all spin in the same direction? Do all galaxies spin the same way, or do they even spin at all? Regards Amanda Dominy (extracted from Facebook conversation) Dear Amanda First, the short answer: All rotations and revolutions in … Continue reading →