Mar 212015
An aurora, an eclipse and an equinox

This week has been an exciting week for astronomers and skywatchers in the East Midlands. Within the space of four days, we saw a display of the Aurora Borealis, normally reserved for higher latitudes, as far south as Derbyshire, and a partial solar eclipse with 90% coverage. March 20th was also the spring equinox, the day when the Sun crosses the equator and moves above the Northern Hemisphere. The action started earlier in the week when a geomagnetic storm on the surface of the Sun produced a massive solar flare which collided with the Earth’s atmosphere on the evening of March 17th. The [Read more]

Feb 102013
Don't panic! We're not going to die

On Friday (15th February) asteroid 2012 DA14 will make the closest pass to the planet since scientists began monitoring asteroids more than 15 years ago. The asteroid, which is about the size of an Olympic swimming pool, will pass about 27,520 kilometres (17,100 miles) from Earth. The Moon is about 14 times further away than the asteroid at its closest approach. Earth orbiting satellites generally fly about 800 kilometres (497 miles) higher, so the asteroid will pass within the orbit of these satellites. There is a very real possibility that the asteroid could collide with a satellite, or any other piece of space junk [Read more]

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