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BBC Sky at Night Magazine at the Edinburgh International Science Festival

                         I am pleased to have been asked, by BBC Sky at Night Magazine, to provide some coverage of the space and astronomy-related events during this year’s 30th Edinburgh International Science Festival. This is in the form of three blog-posts, delivered and published weekly, which can […]

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A Second Chance At First Light: The Isaac Newton Telescope at 50

                         When The Queen inaugurated the Isaac Newton Telescope on 1 December 1967, its 98-inch mirror made it the fourth-largest reflector telescope in the world. “It is often said that our most brilliant young men are tempted to leave the country and join the brain drain […]

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What Will Happen on Earth’s Last Day?

Apollo 17 may have been the 20th century’s final manned mission beyond Earth orbit, but its crew left us with one very public legacy—the iconic “Blue Marble” image of planet Earth which, during the last 45 years, has become one of the most reproduced images in human history. Admittedly, that’s barely a pin-prick when compared […]

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What’s Causing the Strangest Star in the Universe?

Space dust? Alien structures? Planetary collisions? The behaviour of Tabby’s Star continues to inspire new ideas. “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known,” the wise American scientist Carl Sagan once said. Nor is it always where you expected. At first glance the star designated KIC 8462852 seemed nothing unusual, an ordinary hydrogen-fusing F-type main-sequence […]

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Holidays with the Stars

Astronomy and holiday are two concepts that are increasingly being combined with great results, as Paul F Cockburn discovers. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array is a revolutionary astronomy platform located in the thin, dry air of northern Chile’s Atacama desert that has been providing new insights into star and planet formation since it became operational […]

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25 Years of Exoplanets

In January 1992 the first confirmed discovery of an exoplanet was made. Paul F Cockburn looks at how the search for alien worlds has progressed in a quarter of a century. The idea of alien worlds circling distant stars is hardly new; as far back as 1584, Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno suggested space was filled […]

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The Search for Vulcan

It’s 50 years since American television viewers first sat down to watch Star Trek, and its popular character Mr Spock, from the distant planet Vulcan. A century earlier, though, many respected astronomers believed that a real planet Vulcan existed within our own solar system – and it took the genius of Albert Einstein to ultimately […]

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