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I have a new story published over at ESA:

“ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft has observed an eerie glow in the night-time atmosphere of Venus. This infrared light comes from nitric oxide and is showing scientists that the atmosphere of Earth’s nearest neighbour is a temperamental place of high winds and turbulence. ...”

You can read the full story for free here

How to describe Geekpop?  Well, the organisers describe it as “a gleeful celebration of geek pop music at our online science-inspired festival”.  It’s a virtual sci-pop festival that seems to be establishing itself as an annual event.  This year, I was invited to join in the fun by writing and recording a song for the festival.  If you dare, you can listen to the song here. You have to click to the Tetrahedron Stage and then on Dr Stu and the Neutron Stars.  Turn the volume up and rock.

It is with great pleasure that I shall be lecturing today at the Royal Astronomical Society.  The subject will be Richard Carrington, the central character of The Sun Kings. The RAS will devote a day to discussing our modern understanding of solar flares and then I will present my historical story at the ordinary meeting, which takes place between 4-6pm.

For more details go here

I have a new story posted over at ESA:

“Mars Express has uncovered geological evidence suggesting that some depositional process, revealed by erosion, has been at work on large scales in the equatorial regions of the planet. If so, this would provide another jigsaw piece to be fitted into the emerging picture of Mars’ past climate. ...”

Read the full story for free here

Last month I was approached by Radio 3 and asked to adapt a small portion of The Sun Kings for Radio 3’s Strange Encounter programme.  In this fascinating series, guest presenters revisit key turning points in science.  So, what more natural moment to visit than the Great Solar Storm of 1859?

I spent a fascinating morning with Producer Roland Pease at Bush House making the recording, which you can listen to here on iPlayer.  If the first link has expired head over here to where the speechification blog has kindly highlighted my episode, and a downloadable version.  My thanks to James Bridle.

I have the cover story on the October issue of BBC Knowledge magazine:

“With no warning, a sudden loss of electrical power has struck the whole of the United States. Air traffic control goes offline, hospitals switch to back-up generators. A stunning aurora dances in the sky overhead as you make your way home through the chaos to wait it out.

But the blackout stretches on. Hours become days and the power does not return. There is no internet, television or newspapers to tell you what is happening, and no phones to check if your friends are OK. The diesel that drives the emergency generators in hospitals runs out. The food stores are empty – there’s no electricity to power any fuel pumps so the delivery trucks have stopped.

I am looking forward to talking at the Herstmonceux Astronomy Festival this Saturday 12th September.  I shall be in the Earth and Beyond Gallery signing books from eleven o’clock until four on Saturday.  I will punctuate this with my talk “What’s wrong with the Sun?” in Dome B above the gallery at 1.30pm.   I will be discussing the strange lapse in activity on the Sun and what this means for the likelihood of solar storms.  I look forward to seeing lots of familiar faces and meeting new people.


For more information about the three-day festival click here, click on Events and then on the bottom left picture that becomes September and finally Herstmonceux Science Centre Astronomy Festival.  It is always a great day out for the whole family.

I reviewed Marcus Chown’s new book We Need To Talk About Kelvin in the October issue of BBC Focus magazine.  “Parodying the title of the novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, Chown delivers a enjoyable selection of musings on modern cosmology, astronomy and quantum theory in 11 chapters. ...”


You can read the full review here.

I have a new story posted over at New Scientist. This is an important story because the work that I am reporting on may have delivered a fatal blow to the idea of dark matter in the universe. The analysis is a little tricky to follow but stick with it, and trust me, this is important. I will be keeping a close eye on developments and hope to report more as this story unfolds in the coming months:

 I have a new story published by the European Space Agency:

“The Moon is a strong source of hydrogen atoms. That is the surprise discovery from ESA-ISRO instrument SARA onboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter. It gives scientists an interesting new way to study both the Moon and any other airless bodies in the Solar System. ...”


Read the full story here



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