Basic Space

Basic Space

Space and astrophysics research made simple

  • How to spot a shooting star this weekend

    How to spot a shooting star this weekend

    By Kelly Oakes | August 10, 2013 |

    A Perseid meteor from 2010, 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. […]

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  • Art and science collide in a tale of two cultures

    By Kelly Oakes | August 8, 2013 |

    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 . […]

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  • Today's the day! A new pale blue dot

    By Kelly Oakes | July 19, 2013 |

    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 the sun being eclipsed by Saturn from the spacecraft's vantage point, blocking out the sunlight. […]

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  • Exoplanet colour confirmed for first time: it's blue, but not pale -- and nothing like Earth

    By Kelly Oakes | July 11, 2013 |

    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. […]

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  • A homesick astronaut on Mars

    By Kelly Oakes | July 7, 2013 |

    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? […]

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  • Happy Birthday Higgs Boson!

    By Kelly Oakes | July 4, 2013 |

    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 scientists who were all pretty excited about the announcement . […]

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

    By Kelly Oakes | June 27, 2013 |

    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, uncharted territory. […]

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  • Good morning Gliese 526, the Earth says hello

    By Kelly Oakes | June 17, 2013 |

    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 that list. […]

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

    By Kelly Oakes | May 15, 2013 |

    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 eye to see (the dust clouds, shown in red/orange) and visible light. […]

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  • Happy 20th Birthday to the free, open web!

    By Kelly Oakes | April 30, 2013 |

    Today Cern is celebrating 20 years of the free, open web. We all know the World Wide Web was created in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, during his time at Cern. But did you know that it was another four years until the particle physics lab officially declared the web a free for all? […]

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