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To mark the 150th anniversary year of the Richard Carrington solar flare, astronomy broadcaster Ben Emmett invited me onto the Astronomy Ireland radio programme.  Transmitted every week on Dublin City FM 103.2, the programme can also be accessed via the Internet here.  To download the 20th October programme and hear me talk about The Sun Kings, click here.  You will also hear me give a sneak preview of my next book Big Questions: Universe, due for release in the UK July 2010 by Quercus Publishing, and autumn/winter in the US from Barnes and Noble.  Stay tuned for more news!

Meridiani PlanumI have a new story published over at ESA:
“Deposits of volcanic ash colour this view of the Meridiani Planum, as seen by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera. They also give clues to the prevailing wind direction in this region of Mars. ...”

Read the full story here

hole in spaceI have another Herschel story published over at ESA:
“ESA’s Herschel infrared space telescope has made an unexpected discovery: a hole in space. The hole has provided astronomers with a surprising glimpse into the end of the star-forming process. ...”

Read the full story here

star birthI have a new story published at ESA:
“The first scientific results from ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory are revealing previously hidden details of star formation. New images show thousands of distant galaxies furiously building stars and beautiful star-forming clouds draped across the Milky Way. One picture even catches an ‘impossible’ star in the act of formation. ...”

Read the full story and see the first results images here

“ESA’s Herschel space telescope has discovered that previously unseen distant galaxies are responsible for a cosmic fog of infrared radiation. The galaxies are some of the faintest and furthest objects seen by Herschel, and open a new window on the birth of stars in the early Universe. ...”

Read the full story here

“ESA’s Herschel infrared space observatory has found that hydrogen fluoride molecules are everywhere in interstellar gas clouds. They betray hidden reservoirs of gas, and may ultimately become a key tracer of star-forming gas clouds in distant galaxies. ...”

Read the full story here

“The unrivalled ability of ESA’s Herschel infrared space observatory to discern detail in celestial objects has been used to take the temperature across a star-forming cloud. For the first time, an entire cloud has had its temperature mapped from the centre to the edge. ...”

Read the full story here

I have a new story published by New Scientist:
Martian tubes could be home for 'cavenauts'

OUR ancestors made their first homes in caves. Now it looks like the first humans on Mars will do the same.
An analysis of Martian geography suggests where to look for the right kind of caves. "At least two regions, the Tharsis rise and the Elysium rise, contain volcanic features which may be suitable locations for caves," says lead author Kaj Williams of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

What's more, the analysis suggests that caves in these regions will contain a ready supply of water, in the form of ice. ...”

Read the full story here

I have a new story published over at ESA:
“New images from ESA’s Planck space observatory reveal the forces driving star formation and give astronomers a way to understand the complex physics that shape the dust and gas in our Galaxy. ... ”

Read the full story here

I have a new post over on the Mars Express blog:
“Phobos is doomed. It is gradually spiralling towards Mars and eventually could slam into the planet’s surface, leaving a large crater as its parting gift. Believe it or not, this discovery led to speculation that Phobos could be a space station launched by an advanced Martian civilization. ...”

Read the full story here.



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