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New Scientist 2737
I have a story in New Scientist this week about a controversial problem that is unique to cosmology.  
“COSMOLOGISTS are doing the happy dance. The European Space Agency's Planck mission is busy surveying the cosmic microwave background, aka the "echo" of the big bang, and in 2013 will release a feast of data that promises to deliver profound new insights into the origin of the universe.

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be appearing at the Oxford Literary Festival next year.  I shall be appearing on the climate change panel discussing the peculiar activity of our Sun lately and what this means to our efforts in understanding the role the Sun plays in climate change.  I do not have a confirmed date yet but, as soon as I do, I will post an update.  Keep watching the ‘talks page’.

I’ve just spent an incredible 18-hour day filming sequences for a documentary that will air on National Geographic television in 2010.  The programme will be called Storm Worlds and I will be in the episode that talks about solar storms.  The producers called me because they had read The Sun Kings and wanted to recreate the incredible solar storm and subsequent aurora of 1859 in an engaging and informative way.

It is with enormous pleasure that I shall be lecturing at the University of Southampton on Wednesday 9 December 2009 at 6.30pm Lecture Theatre B, School of Physics and Astronomy, Building 46, Highfield, University of Southampton. SO17 1BJ.  The lecture is based upon my book, The Sun Kings.  Further details can be obtained from Dr. Lorraine Warren (telephone 07940 107103, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

I visited The Guardian’s media studio to record an interview with Alok Jha about the solar influence on climate change.  We also talked about the status of the search for dark matter.  You can listen to the podcast here.  And don’t forget to join in to the #askdrstu Twitter chat on 24th November and every Tuesday until Christmas.  See 18th November 2009 posting for more details.

New Scientist 2735
I have a feature in this week’s New Scientist:
“WHERE will astronomers stop in their love affair with the enigmatic substance called dark matter? First we were told it was essential to allow a galaxy to spin without falling apart. Then it was the glue that held clusters of galaxies together. Later it was said to have catalysed the formation of the galaxies in the first place. Now, surely, they have gone too far. If the latest theories pan out, dark matter has also given us some of the world's most enduring astrological myths.

I will be conducting a series of weekly Twitter chats starting next week and running until Christmas.  Each week the chat will be based around a different popular astronomy topic.  The first will be related to The Sun Kings and will be “What level of influence does the Sun have on climate change.

I have an Opinion piece in The Times today.
“A sharp drop in solar activity could soon tell us how much mankind and the Sun are responsible for warming the planet
Like it or not, it will soon be time to start placing bets for a white Christmas. If most climatologists are to be believed you are almost certainly throwing your money away.

I am to be the moderator at the Sixth European Space Weather Week Debate in Brugge, Belgium, on Tuesday 17th November.  It is sure to be a lively discussion because it is about how much of Earth’s climate change might be coming from the Sun.

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I will be back in the studio with BBC science presenter Quentin Cooper today.  We will be discussing NASA’s Ares launch and the future of manned space exploration for his Radio 4 programme Material World. The programme will be broadcast live at 16:30 UK time, or you can listen live via the Internet here. The programme is also available for podcasting from that link.



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