Welcome to MacAstrofix ....... We are currently changing to an SSL site and some features are temporarily unavailable. Sorry for any inconvenience (9 May 2018) ..... Astronomy Diary for May ........ Weather Data to Download ........ TESS Exoplanet Satellite launched ....... Stephen Hawking Final Paper Published ........ It's Official - Uranus Stinks........ Check Out the AstrOlympics ........ Skinsuits to Combat Effects of Weightlessness in Space ........ Is Life Possible Above Venus? ....... Clean Space Challenges & Solutions ....... Using Seismology to See Deep Into Mars ........ CHEOPS Rocket Logo ........


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Astronomy Diary for May

Animation Credit: NASA MSFC

Some astronomy highlights for viewing during 

May can be seen here...


What`s in the Shetland Sky in 2018 ?



Weather Today  Mossbank Shetland

                                                                             Live Video Stream and Weather Data


Astro Imaging without a Telescope

Some Suggestions for Binoculars


Free Online Courses

Courses in Astronomy, Physics, Astrobiology and more

starting soon


The Voice of Jupiter 2014

Our first attempt to record Jupiter`s radio emissions

on 20.1Mhz ( June 2014 ) Listen to the files here .


Meteor Shower Camelopardalids 2014

Did you know you can also listen to meteor showers ?

Plots and Audio samples from the Camelopardalids !


Preliminary Report

Hurlers Stone Circles Project - Cornwall

Original Hurlers Story Here !


News from Around the Web

NASA Launches TESS Satellite to Aid

Search for Exoplanets

image: NASA

In a bid to discover exoplanets in our 'solar

neighbourhood' the Transiting Exoplanet Survey

Satellite (TESS) will monitor more than 200,000

stars for temporary drops in brightness caused

by planetary transits. More information is available

on NASA's dedicate TESS site. There's also a

paper model to download.


It's Official - Uranus Stinks

Image: NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft. NASA

Astronomers have spectroscopically detected 

hydrogen sulphide in Uranus’ atmosphere, a gas

encountered in rotten eggs.


Stephen Hawking Paper


image: Graham CopeKoga/Cambridge University Library.

Prof Stephen Hawking’s final theory on the origin

of the universe, written in collaboration with Prof

Thomas Hertog from KU Leuven, has been

published  in the Journal of High Energy Physics.

The theory was submitted for publication before

Hawking’s death earlier this year.


Is Life Possible Above Venus?

Image: NASA's Mariner 10 mission (1974)

An international team of researchers has

presented a case for the atmosphere of

Venus as a possible niche for extraterrestrial

microbial life. Although surface conditions are 

inhospitable, space probes to the planet have

shown that temperature and pressure in the

lower and middle portions of the  atmosphere

might be able to support microbial life.


ESA: Clean Space Challenges & Solutions

Image: ESA

View an animated introduction to ESA's Clean

Space initiative, dedicated to safeguarding

the Earth and space environments on ESA's

'Clean Space Blog'


CHEOPS Rocket Logo Chosen

Winning design. Credit: ESA/D. Vrenko

ESA has announced the winner of a competition to

design a logo for its CHEOPS mission, which will

 measure the size of planets as they cross before

of their parent stars. CHEOPS (CHaracterising

ExOplanets Satellite) will be launched aboard a

Soyuz rocket and the design will be seen on the

ocket's shell that protects the satellite during

launch and as it passes into space.


NASA’s InSight Mission to Use

Seismology to See Deep Into Mars

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's InSight mission, which is set to launch

as early as May, will use seismology to discover

the structure and content of the martian core,

mantle, and crust. NASA's lander will use

specialised instruments to observe seismic

waves during “marsquakes.”


Physicist Stephen Hawking has died aged 76

Image from telegraph.co.uk

Stephen Hawking, cosmologist and author of

'A Brief History of Time' has died at his home in

Cambridge. Tributes have been pouring in. Neil

deGrasse Tyson tweeted "His passing has left an

intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty.

Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating

the fabric of spacetime that defies measure."

"Remember to look up at the stars and not down

at your feet" Stephen Hawking


News from Goonhilly, Cornwall

Credit: ESA

A new initiative to redevelop part of Goonhilly

Earth Station hopes to provide Europe’s first

deep-space tracking services on a commercial


Three Swarm Satellites Become Four

Credit: ESA

ESA and Canada plan to turn the three Swarm

satellites into a four-satellite mission and hope to

shed  more light on space weather and the

aurora borealis.

Mars Express Photos of Mars Moons

Saturn's Rings

credit: ESA (Deimos and Satrurn)

Mars Express has been circling the Red

Planet for more than 14 years.

See its recentimages of Phobos, Deimos

and Saturn here.


Testing the Deep Space Atomic Clock

Credits: NASA/JPL

In deep space, accurate timekeeping is vital to

navigation, but spacecraft lack precise time -

pieces on board. DSAC is  a small, low-mass

atomic clock prototype based on mercury-ion

trap technology. DSAC is about the size of a

large toaster, but could be made smaller for

future space missions. After 20 years development,

the DSAC test flight next year will take the technology

from the laboratory to the space environment.


Check Out NASA's AstrOlympics

Image: NASA

At the start of the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang,

you can also visit NASA's AstOlympics website to

learn about the physics of space through examples

from olympic disciplines. The project by NASA's

Chandra X-ray Observatory consists of posters,

videos and an informative website.

All materials are free to download from



Testing a Submarine for an Alien Ocean

Saturn's moon - Titan

Image shows near infrared image of Titan from Cassini
Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. Arizona/Univ. Idaho

Researchers have recreated a Titan ocean in

the lab, to test how a submarine might behave

at -300 degrees F (approx 185 degrees C).

NASA plans to launch a real submarine into

Titan seas in the next 20 years


Methane Sniffing Around Mars


The European-Russian Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO)

is nearing the end of an 11 month braking

manoever in the Martian atmosphere and will

soon begin its mission: to sniff for possible

signs of life


Testing Skinsuits to Help Combat  Effects

of Weightlessness in Space

Image credit: ESA

Researchers at King’s College London and ESA

have worked together to develop a Skinsuit, a

spandex-based garment which squeezes the

body like gravity. It is based on an MIT garment

design changes to improve wearability.

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