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On Wednesday 11 September I spent the evening in Newcastle at the Great North Museum: Hancock surrounded by The Royal Photographic Society's astounding international scientific photography exhibition. The images all around the walls were taken from medical, astronomical and environmental disciplines and are truly works of art.

During the reception, part of the British Science Festival, it was announced that I had been awarded the 2013 European Astronomy Journalism Prize and that Sandra Kropa and Jonathan Amos had been highly commended. The prize-winning article was When the dust unsettles, published by New Scientist, in August 2012 so I share this honour with the editors and subeditors who brought this to print and my PA who checks things before I submit them.

 

Sandra Kropa's piece was published on Paul Sutherland's Skymania. In the photo, Sandra and I are standing with Terry O'Connor from STFC.

 

The prize, which sadly is only for me, is a week in December visiting the telescopes in Chile. I have been there before in 2002 so I am hoping to see the progress achieved over the last decade.

Click the read more button below to see the press release.

 

I am delighted that I will once again contribute to this successful function, now firmly established in the UK astronomical events calendar.

 

Organised by the North Essex Astronomical Society , it takes place all day (9-5) and this year it is in Colchester. There are stands selling all sorts of items, talks on a variety of subjects by some very interesting people and, most of all, hundreds of like-minded people to chat to about the night sky and the universe.

There's a new piece on my Guardian online blog, Across the Universe:


How many other inhabited planets are there? It's a question that fascinates scientists and lay people alike. A new equation may help weigh up the possibility

I have an article published in this week's (2929 10 August) New Scientist magazine:

Solar superflares: A new danger from the sun


SOMETHING with almost unimaginable power hit Earth in AD 775. Europe was in the grip of the dark ages, yet the skies were alight. "Fiery and fearful signs were seen in the heavens after sunset; and serpents appeared in Sussex, as if they were sprung out of the ground, to the astonishment of all," recorded the 13th-century English chronicler Roger of Wendover.

I have a new post on the Guardian online Across the Universe blog:

The Perseids, the year's most spectacular meteor shower for viewers in the northern hemisphere, have arrived.

I have written a piece for New Scientist and they have published it online:

 

Sun's quiet spell not the start of a mini ice age

On the Guardian's Across the Universe blog:

 

On Friday Nasa's Cassini spacecraft will take a picture of Earth and its seven billion inhabitants from 1.44bn kilometres away

I have a new post on my Across the Universe blog for the Guardian:

 

A supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy has a gas cloud in its gravitational clutches - but the gas cloud isn't giving up without a fight

My latest piece is up on the Guardian
blog Across the Universe:

A £60m pledge from the UK government puts Reaction Engines' Sabre rocket on course to change space exploration forever

Storysack have a special offer for the next fortnight centred around our children's book Little Moon. The sack also contains, a non-fiction book, parent guide, CD, fabric playmate and Moon, picture card game, and activity resource guide.



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