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GeekpopWell, what a blast Geekpop was!  It was great to meet everyone and chat to many of you before and after the show.  Despite a few nerves about the size of the venue and our mighty volume, judging by the whoops and number of heads banging up and down – it may have been heavy but you liked it!


The picture was snapped by Richard Grant of Lablit.  You can read a review on the great Lablit website here. And you can watch us playing Neutron Stars below.

 

 

Regular readers will know that for the last few years I’ve been working on a trilogy of novels.  They dramatise the key turning points in astronomical history, those moments when our view of the universe changed completely.  The revolutions in thought were ushered in by the astronomers Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke, and Albert Einstein and Georges Lemaître.

 

I am thrilled to announce that the publisher Birlinn Polygon have bought the trilogy. The working title of the series is CosmoThriller and the individual volumes are called: The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth, The Sensorium of God, The Day without Yesterday.

 

Birlinn Polygon are as committed as I am to making this series something special.  Stay tuned for more updates. It’s the story of astronomy, but not as you've read it before!

 

To find out more about the publisher, click here.

To read the press release about the books’ sale, click here.

 

I have a new post over on the Mars Express blog: “From Earth all natural celestial objects rise in the east and set in the west.  The same is not true at Mars.  Phobos goes in reverse.


If you were to stand on the surface of the Red Planet, Phobos would rise in the west.  It would appear about one-third the apparent size of our Moon as seen from Earth’s surface, and it would cross the Martian sky against the flow of the other celestial objects before setting in the east.  What makes Phobos so different? ...”

 

Read the full story here.

I have a new story posted on the ESA website:


“Today Mars Express began a series of flybys of Phobos, the largest moon of Mars. The campaign will reach its crescendo on 3 March, when the spacecraft will set a new record for the closest pass to Phobos, skimming the surface at just 50 km. The data collected could help untangle the origin of this mysterious moon. ...”

 

Read the full story here. And don’t forget to keep track of the Phobos flyby campaign here.

Magazine issue 2747
I have the cover story on New Scientist this week.


“At first, there didn't seem anything earth-shattering about the tiny point of light that pricked the southern Californian sky on a mild night in early April 2007. Only the robotic eyes of the Nearby Supernova Factory, a project designed to spy out distant stellar explosions, spotted it from the Palomar Observatory, high in the hills between Los Angeles and San Diego.

I have a new post over on the Mars Express blog:
“Smaismrmilmepoetaleumibunenugttauiras - No that’s not a typo; it's a message Galileo sent to the brilliant German astronomer Johannes Kepler. And it led to the enduring belief that Mars possessed two moons, centuries before they were actually discovered. ...”

 

Read the full story here

I have a new post over on the Mars Express blog:
“Although emphasis is being placed on 3 March, when the closest Phobos flyby ever performed will take place, it is not the only time Mars Express will be drawing near to the mysterious moon of Mars.  The 3 March flyby is simply the high point (or should that be low point?) of a six-week campaign to study Phobos in closer detail than ever before.  It all begins on 16 February, next week, when Mars Express flies past Phobos at an altitude of 991 km....”

 

Read the full story here.

On 3 March 2010, ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft will make the closest flyby of Phobos, passing the moon at an altitude of just 50km. It is part of a campaign of twelve flybys over six weeks, beginning 16 February, to study this mysterious moon (see the entry for 27 January for a Phobos low-down). As part of ESA’s coverage of this event, I will be in the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Germany, blogging and tweeting as the celestial encounter happens.  In the weeks running up to the historic flyby, catch up on regular news bulletins at the newly created blog.  Also, follow @esamarsphobos on Twitter.

I have a guest post on the excellent Wonders and Marvels history website:

 

“I could hardly believe my eyes when I stumbled on the report in the Royal Astronomical Society’s archive. It transported me to 1:30am, 2nd September 1859, when the clipper ship Southern Cross was 84 days out of Boston and sailing in a living hell. Hailstones from above and waves from all around whipped the deck. When the wind-lashed spray fell to leeward, the crew noticed they were sailing in an ocean of blood. ...”


To read the full post, click here

What a great name for a blog!  I had the pleasure of being interviewed by award-winning novelist Clare Dudman for her blog, Keeper of the Snails.  She also reviewed The Sun Kings too. You can read the piece here. Then take a good look around Clare’s other posts and watch out too for her new novel, A Place of Meadows and Tall Trees.  It will be published by Seren in May 2010.



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