Today 16.10.2017, an “unusual” reddish sky and red-looking sun has been seen across many parts of the UK!
The reason why….
Ophelia originated in the Azores where it was a hurricane and as it tracked its way northwards it dragged in tropical air from the Sahara.
This meant that dust from the Sahara was brought with it.…
The dust gets picked up into the air and goes high up into the atmosphere, and that dust has been dragged high up in the atmosphere above the UK.
The particles in the air cause blue light to scatter, leaving longer-wavelength red light to shine through.
Chris Lintott is a professor in Astrophysics and is based at Oxford University!
He is an astronomer and co-founder of both Galaxy Zoo and the Zooniverse that grew from it, Chris is interested in how galaxies form and evolve and how citizen science can change the world!
I would like to thank the wonderful Chris Lintott for this interview!
Here is our interview with him…..
What fuelled your passion for Astrophysics?
“I grew up looking at the stars and wondering about them – I have always been fascinated by the idea that we can look at things that are so far away and try and come up with explanations for what we see. I was also lucky that the school I went to had a telescope – and that they were crazy enough to hand us the keys and let us play with it. That was very inspiring – that chance early on to try and do some real observing.”
You have met many wonderful people – who would you say has had the most influence on you?
“The obvious answer is Patrick Moore, whose program I’m lucky enough to help take care of. The best things about Patrick came from his love of people – he was always happy to take time to explain things, and all of his programs include explanations for those tuning in to astronomy for the first time and for those who consider themselves expert. I hope we still do that today – if so, it’s because Patrick taught me.”
How did Galaxy Zoo start?
“I arrived in Oxford ten years ago as a new researcher, having just got my PhD. I was supposed to be studying how stars form in different galaxies, but that meant sorting through many images of galaxies. A student called Kevin Schawinski had looked through 50,000 but it wasn’t enough, and we came up with the idea of asking the public to help.”
You are the co-founder of both Galaxy Zoo and the Zooniverse that grew from it – what is it like to work on two amazing reasearch projects?
“It’s been great fun – and continually surprising. I don’t think I’ve been able to predict what will happen next at any point.”
What is the best part of your job?
“I like the people. I get to work with so many interesting people from around the world, all of whom are doing what they do because they really want to. That makes for some very interesting conversations.”
Do you have a favourite Sky at Night episode that you’ve worked on?
“The program we did after the little Philae probe landed on its comet was wonderful. I like the Rosetta and Philae teams very much, and they let us follow along through some very stressful days as they worked out what had happened to the lander.
I think we made quite a complicated story very easy to follow – and we had to rush to get it ready. I think we finished the program only a couple of hours before it had to be broadcast. ”
What was it like working with the late Sir Patrick Moore?
“Patrick didn’t suffer fools gladly, but he was very generous – with his time, and with his program which he invited the rest of us onto. It was exciting to be around him, because he was always interested in the next idea, and in how to explain it to as many people as possible.”
What advice would you give to anybody wishing to pursue a career in Astrophysics and Presenting?
“Don’t worry too much about the career, but try and do interesting things. If you do enough of those, and you have a bit of luck, you’ll find that opportunities to do more come your way.”
MajorTim.space exhibited at New Scientist Live at ExCel London!
The event took place 28th September – 1st
We ran our hovercraft workshop and a quiz with prizes!
With special guests in
attendance to the event – including
Tim Peake, Helen Sharman and Al Worden!
We were able to meet Tim Peake , Helen Sharman and Al Worden again, but this time in a private meeting backstage after their talk!
Later on we had two special visitors to our stand who took part in our activities….
Libby Jackson – Astronaut Flight Education Programme Manager for the UK Space Agency!
After all of the visitors had left…..
Al Worden – Apollo 15, retired NASA astronaut!
We had a fantastic time meeting so many enthusiastic Young Space Explorers, who had a great time making their hovercrafts and testing their knowledge in our quiz (with prizes including MajorTim.space Anniversary badges)!
After two decades in space, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has completed it’s final orbit around Saturn. Just one month shy of its 20th launch anniversary!
Today 15.09.2017 Cassini plunged into Saturn fighting to keep its antenna pointed at Earth as it transmitted its farewell. In the skies of Saturn, the journey ended, as Cassini became part of the planet itself.
Having disbursed almost every bit of the rocket propellant it carried to Saturn, operators have deliberately plunged Cassini into the planet to ensure Saturn’s moons will remain pristine for future exploration – in particular, the ice-covered, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus, but also Titan, with its extremely intriguing pre-biotic chemistry.
Launched on Oct. 15, 1997, the mission entered orbit around Saturn on June 30, 2004 (PDT), carrying the European Huygens probe.
After its four-year prime mission, Cassini’s tour was extended twice. Its key discoveries included the global ocean with indications of hydrothermal activity within Enceladus, and liquid methane seas on Titan
The European Huygens Probe
The Huygens probe successfully landed on Saturn’s largest moon Titan on January 14th, 2005. The descent lasted two hours and 27 minutes. The probe survived another 72 minutes on the surface of Titan. This was the first and, so far, the only landing in the outer solar system. Huygens holds the record as the most distant landing from Earth.
Beginning in 2010, Cassini began a seven-year mission extension in which it completed many moon flybys while observing seasonal changes on Saturn and Titan. The plan for this phase of the mission was to expend all of the spacecraft’s propellant while exploring Saturn, ending with a plunge into the planet’s atmosphere.
In April 2017, Cassini was placed on an impact course that unfolded over five months of daring dives – a series of 22 orbits that each pass between the planet and its rings. Called the Grand Finale, this final phase of the mission has brought unparalleled observations of the planet and its rings from closer than ever before!
Goodbye Cassini #GrandFinale
Quick facts –
When Cassini launched, it was seen on the news – when it got to Saturn, it was seen on PCs – when it ended, it was seen on phones!
Because Saturn is so far from Earth, Cassini will have been gone for about 83 minutes by the time its final signal reached the Deep Space Network’s Canberra station in Australia today (15.09.2017)!
MajorTim.space is proud to say that we will be exhibiting at New Scientist Live September 2017! – ExCeL London!
New Scientist Live has some special celebrity guest speakers this year – including …..
Tim Peake, Helen Sharman, Al Worden, Chris Packham, Chris Lintott, Jim Al-Khalili, Helen Czerski, Adam Rutherford and many more!
It’s our first anniversary, and we will be celebrating by running drop-in ‘build your own mini hovercraft’ workshops, and a quiz where there is a chance to win a prize – including MajorTim.space anniversary badges!
So come and find us at stand 425 in the COSMOS Zone, to have some fun and learn about astronomy and friction in the process!
It is one year today since Tim Peake returned to Earth from space!
He described the journey back as “the best ride I’ve been on ever”, adding: “The smells of Earth are just so strong”.
His return marked the start of another incredible year for Tim, which included touring and writing his own book!
Children have been inspired by his Principia Mission – in a way that they may not have been interested in space especially from a scientific or mathematical point of view, but have been drawn in through a number of different ways, such as competitions, challenges and experiments!