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Astro News: 25th November 2011

Posted: 25 Nov 2011

This week brought news of the 700th confirmed exoplanet, the potential resurrection of an unfortunate Mars mission, and a beautiful timelapse video of Earth taken from the International Space Station.

A Tale of Two (Neutron) Stars

Posted: 25 Nov 2011

At the end of last week, one of our colleagues here in Oxford, Professor Philipp Podsiadlowski, told us that he and some others had discovered something really interesting about neutron stars: how fast they are spinning could be telling us how they were born. This discovery has already hit the blogosphere in quite a big way (here and here and probably elsewhere too). So what’s it all about? Why is it so important? I spoke to Philipp (who is one of three authors of a Nature paper about the discovery) on Monday; here’s what I found out.

What Can You See in the Night Sky This Week?

Posted: 21 Nov 2011

All that glistens is not gold: sometimes it’s red, or blue, or both. This week, we take a look at some double stars in the night sky and learn the difference between an optical double and a true binary. You will need binoculars or a telescope, and this week’s sky map.

Astro News: 19th November 2011

Posted: 19 Nov 2011

In this week’s news, we have a colourful map of the Moon, big news about Big Science funding, and some very naughty neutrinos.

Leonid Meteor Shower

Posted: 17 Nov 2011

Want to see a shooting star? The Leonid meteor shower is expected to reach its peak this evening, so get out there!

What Happened Before the Big Bang?

Posted: 16 Nov 2011

It seems like everyone wants to know the answer to this question - not least the cosmologists at Oxford.

What Can You See in the Night Sky This Week?

Posted: 15 Nov 2011

What can you see in the night sky this week? Among other things: the giant of the solar system - famously observed by a giant from the history of astronomy.

Astro News: 11th November 2011

Posted: 11 Nov 2011

In the news this week: a close encounter with asteroid 2005 YU55, E-ELT edges closer to being funded, and 6 men who survived an unusual space mission.

Doing Science Like It's 1665

Posted: 11 Nov 2011

Last week, the Royal Society announced that their archive of Philosophical Transactions was being made public. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society is one of the first ever scientific publications and began in 1665. It has been running ever since. The new online archive means that anyone is now free to go and read the historic, fascinating and sometimes hilarious musings of scientists (at the time 'natural philosophers') who have written to the society to make use of the new technology of 'the press'.

Welcome!

Posted: 10 Nov 2011

Here at the University of Oxford physics department we've been really impressed by the enthusiasm for astronomy shown by all of you who've visited us on our monthly Telescope evenings - and it's inspired us to look for some new ways to tell you about our research. So: welcome to the Oxford Astrophysics Blog!