Is it Really Fifty Years?

This stunning view of the 64km (40 mile) crater Goclenius, taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts, is possibly the image that has most impacted me in my life. Above Goclenius is the triplet formed by Magelhaens, Magelhaens A, and Colombo A, while Gutenberg D is the crater at the top right.   Remembering History We [...]

What Makes Tonight’s Lunar Eclipse Remarkable? The total lunar eclipse of July 27th/28th 2018

By now, just about everybody must have heard of tonight’s total lunar eclipse. It is a particularly unusual one for many different reasons, so it is not one to miss. A whole number of phenomena coincide to make it unusual: The eclipse is the longest of this century – it is predicted to last for [...]

The Spectacle of a Blood Moon and Mars: the total lunar eclipse of July 27th/28th 2018.

If you live in Western Europe, moonrise on Friday July 27th will be particularly unusual. For the inhabitants of Madrid, Paris and Stockholm, the Moon will rise just about at the same moment that the Moon is totally eclipsed. To the west of this line – for example, London, Dublin or Oslo – totality will [...]

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 [...]

How many Apollo astronauts are still alive?

One of the greatest features of a Herschel mission lunch in the canteen – although most of the Herschel veterans around the table have now moved on to other missions – is the remarkable conversations. A topic comes up and a bunch of scientists and engineers start ruminating on it. These days the topic is [...]