Tagged: astronomy

Matariki – Te whetū tapu o te taū - Kidney Punch

John Pickering May 18, 2022

“Māori star lore was, and still remains, a blending together of both astronomy and astrology, and while there is undoubtedly robust science within the Māori study of the night sky, the spiritual component has always been of equal importance” writes Professor Rangi Matamua in his book Matariki – Te whetū tapu o te taū (Matariki – The star of the year).  I … Read More

Celebrating Women in Space - Kidney Punch

John Pickering Oct 06, 2021

Beautiful, Inspiring, Mysterious!  How do you describe space?  What do you think when you look up at the stars?  The United Nations General Assembly certainly knew how beautiful, inspiring, mysterious, and important space is when they designated a week to be World Space Week.  That’s this week, and the theme for this year is Women in Space. There are numerous New Zealand women who … Read More

Why Do So Many Astronomy Discoveries Fail to Live Up to the Hype? - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 20, 2021

Dan Falk Britons who switched on their TVs to “Good Morning Britain” on the morning of Sept. 15, 2020, were greeted by news not from our own troubled world, but from neighboring Venus. Piers Morgan, one of the hosts, was talking about a major science story that had surfaced the previous day, informing his viewers that “there may … Read More

Small asteroid to make near-miss of Earth in NZ skies tonight - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 24, 2020

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] Sorry for the late notice on this one, but I only just heard myself, in common with most of the human race. A small asteroid, somewhere between the size of a truck and the size of a house in dimensions, will hurtle past the Earth tonight, dipping closer to our planet’s surface than the altitude … Read More

When is the day inserted into a leap year? - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Feb 24, 2020

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] Surprisingly enough, one could argue (as I often do) that the day inserted into a leap year is not that we label 29th February, but actually the 24th of February. Here I explain why, briefly.  Almost everyone assumes that the day added into February in a leap year is the 29th, but that assumption is … Read More

Night lights of NZ from orbit - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Oct 10, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light pollution. Astronomers are concerned … Read More

Interstellar comet update - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 19, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] The discovery of a true interstellar comet – a comet passing through the solar system having arrived, presumably, after having been thrown out of some other planetary system orbiting another star – re-opens a long-debated question in science: is life unique to Earth, or is it common in the galaxy? The panspermia hypothesis holds that … Read More

New interstellar comet discovered - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 13, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] Astronomers have searched over many decades for comets that have come from interstellar space, perhaps from a planetary system orbiting a nearby star in the Milky Way. A blank was drawn in this quest for a long, long time… and now, similarly to London buses, two have come along almost at once. The diagram at … Read More

An invitation to name a star and a planet - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 04, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] The International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the global organisation of professional astronomers — is marking its centenary this year by inviting different nations to propose names for both a distant star, and a planet found to orbit it (a so-called exoplanet). Anyone can suggested a moniker, for the star, for the planet, or both. So: … Read More

The Equation of Time - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jul 14, 2019

[avatar user=”duncansteel” size=”thumbnail” align=”right” /] The solstice on June 22nd marked the shortest duration of sunlight (or day length) during this year. One might have expected that from that date sunrise would have started getting earlier; and prior to that date sunset to have been consistently getting earlier (as the daylight duration was shortening). In fact the latest sunrise did … Read More