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    Kelly Oakes Kelly Oakes has a master's in science communication and a physics degree, both from Imperial College London. Now she spends her days writing about science. Follow on Twitter @kahoakes.
  • How to spot a shooting star this weekend

    A Perseid meteor from last year, streaking over the ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile. Credit: {link url=""}ESO/S. Guisard{/link}

    Wherever you are this weekend, if you get the chance, don’t forget to look up. The Perseid meteor shower was first seen two thousand years ago, and is visible every year from mid July to the end of August. At the peak of the shower, there can be up to 100 or so shooting stars [...]

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    Art and science collide in a tale of two cultures

    TEDxAlbertopolis main image - credit James Deacon and Pete Davies_TEDxAlbertopolis

    As I mentioned a little while ago, I’m involved in putting on a TEDx event at the Royal Albert Hall later this year. Today we announced our theme — a tale of two cultures — with a trailer featuring some recognisable (and some not so recognisable) places in Albertopolis. What can you spot? See for more details.

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    A little perspective on our place in the universe

    Saturn, Earth and the moon as seen by Cassini

    Here are some things that will give whatever might be on your mind at the moment a little perspective. You’ve probably seen these images plastered all over the Internet already. But seeing as I blogged about the new pale blue dot before it was taken, here they are: That’s Saturn, the Earth and moon as [...]

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    Today’s the day! A new pale blue dot


    Where will you be at 10.27pm (UK time) tonight? The Cassini spacecraft will be somewhere behind Saturn. But it’ll be looking at Earth, at us. So we’d better make sure we’re looking back. And don’t forget to smile — you’ll be on camera. Cassini is going to snap a picture of Earth, taking advantage of [...]

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    Exoplanet colour confirmed for first time: it’s blue, but not pale — and nothing like Earth

    Deep blue dot

    Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have confirmed that a planet called HD189733b, which orbits a star 63 light years from here, is a deep blue colour. Earth also looks blue from space. But that’s just about the only thing our planet has in common with this one. HD 189773b is a hot [...]

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    A homesick astronaut on Mars

    Earthrise from the moon

    There are going to be plenty of technological and physiological hurdles to jump before we land the first astronauts on Mars. But once they’re safely on their journey, another kind of challenge may rear it’s head. What happens when you can no longer see Earth? Even the quickest Mars trip is going to be long. [...]

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    Happy Birthday Higgs Boson!

    Lindau Higgs press conference

    A year ago today I was at the 62nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany. Miles away in Geneva, Switzerland, scientists were getting ready to tell the gathering media about a discovery that would change physics forever. It was Higgs day. It was great to be in Lindau then, surrounded by Nobel laureates and young [...]

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    Voyager is in a new region of space, and now that place has a name

    "Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find"

    Say hello to a brand new bit of the solar system, brought to you by that intrepid traveller Voyager 1: the heliosheath depletion region. Ok, the name’s not particularly catchy, but this is exciting news! Voyager launched over 35 years ago, but it was just before that anniversary last year that it entered this new, [...]

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    Good morning Gliese 526, the Earth says hello


    Over the years we’ve sent a lot of stuff into space. Most of that has been spacecraft sent out to explore the solar system — the moon and sun, planets and asteroids. With Voyager poised on the edge of the sun’s influence, we’ll eventually be able to add a tiny pocket of interstellar space to [...]

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    Space eye candy: Cool cosmic dust and a bright Orion nebula


    This patch of sky holds some of the youngest stars ever found. The ribbon that runs through the centre of the image is made up of dust clouds in the constellation Orion, which holds one of the busiest nearby stellar nurseries. The composite image includes both infrared light at wavelengths too long for the human [...]

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