The Christmas star?

Ross Castle Conjunction
A conjunction of Venus, the Moon and Jupiter

With the long winter nights, Christmas in the air and children bringing home stories of the star of Bethlehem, people are more inclined to stop and take notice of the sky. The winter night sky is full of bright stars and the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, is to be found in the east late these evenings, rising earlier and earlier as the winter progresses.

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Tripping the light fantastic

Our nearest galactic neighbour, The Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light years away
Our nearest galactic neighbour, The Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light years away

Last week scientist announced that the amount of galaxies in the universe had been underestimated by as much as a factor of 20. Major news, but not something that really affects our daily lives. The discovery does however, illustrate the vast scale of our universe. Thankfully, we as humans have developed the brain capacity, the intelligence and the curiosity to help us understand our place within it. Take for example the speed of light. It travels at 300,000 km per second. Pretty much instantaneous for us on earth, but really noticeable in the realm of the galaxies, stars and planets. Light from the moon takes little over a second to reach us, whilst light from the sun takes over 8 minutes. That means that the light from the sun that is hitting your eyeball is over 8 minutes old.

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The Ig Nobel prizes

An Ig Nobel prize winner, Thomas Thwaites in his Goat Suit.
An Ig Nobel prize winner, Thomas Thwaites in his goat suit.

The Nobel prizes are awarded each year to recognise outstanding advances in physics, chemistry, literature, peace, economic sciences and physiology or medicine. Over the years The Nobel prizes have also played host to some celebrated controversies, dubious peace prize recipients, a medicine and physiology prize awarded for frontal lobotomies and some notable figures being overlooked.

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