The Sunspot Cycle and its Possible Effects on Future Manned Spaceflight

We have known for more than a century that solar activity shows a pronounced cyclic variation with an 11-year period. About every 11 years there is a maximum in activity and sunspots become very prominent and very common. Back in my younger days, I was a keen solar observer during one particular holiday around the [...]

Where is Starman Heading: Will it be observable to future Martian astronauts?

JPL has produced a further update for the orbit of the Tesla, although the rate of arrival of new observations has slowed. With the Tesla now below magnitude 20 and, with the Moon close to full, it is unlikely that there will be a new orbit update for at least another week or ten days. [...]

The Super Blue Blood Moon: not so super, nor so rare!

A recent phenomenon that seems to excite the media time and again to the astonishment of astronomers is that of the supermoon. This week though, we hit the jackpot with a Moon that was simultaneously super, blue and blood. All kinds of photos appeared in the media, some of which most definitely were not of [...]

The Star of Bethlehem: An Afterthought

Afterthought (January 16th 2018): One note to add that bears remembering. As was pointed out in post #9, we know that Chinese records from the period between 20 BC and 1 AD are almost certainly incomplete. In this twenty year period there are just four records. If we follow the conventional reasoning, two of these [...]