Mars Express reveals the Red Planet’s volcanic past

14 March, 2008

I have a new story published over at ESA

“A new analysis of impact cratering data from Mars reveals that the planet has undergone a series of global volcanic upheavals. These violent episodes spewed lava and water onto the surface, sculpting the landscape that ESA’s Mars Express looks down on today.”


Read the full story for free here.

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Is the dark matter mystery about to be solved?

08 March, 2008

New Scientist issue 2646
I share the cover story on this week’s New Scientist.  My article explores the nature of dark matter, whilst Amanda Gefter’s companion piece explores the nature of dark energy.  Here’s the introduction to the two articles:

“As far as most of the universe is concerned, you're inconsequential. The everyday stuff that constitutes you and everything you care about makes up just 4 per cent of the cosmos; the rest we call dark matter and dark energy. What they actually are, though, is anyone's guess. Now we may be on the verge of enlightenment. In this article, we report how experiments are getting ready to identify dark matter, while on page 32 we consider why dark energy may be an illusion created by our place in space. Be prepared for a new cosmic order...”

And here is the introduction to my article:

“THIS YEAR, there's a good chance that a sizeable chunk of our universe will turn up. A fair bit of the cosmos - 22 per cent of it, in fact - seems to be made of invisible dark matter, whose extra gravity helps to bind stars together in galaxies, and galaxies together...”
The complete article is 2511 words long and is available here; a subscription is required.

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Tags: Dark Matter

Deep Space is published in the UK

06 March, 2008

My latest book, Deep Space, is published by Quercus and now available throughout the UK.

From the dust jacket:
“What are time and space? When and how did the universe begin – and how will it end? Why has such a rich variety of celestial objects come into being? And was life an inevitable development in the cosmos?

The answers to our most profound questions lie in the depths of space. To look here is, in effect, to look back in time, because we see the light emitted long ago from distant stars and galaxies. As we stare deeper into space, we also gaze further into the past – back towards the beginning of the universe itself.

Now Deep Space allows us to see, with our own eyes, the mysterious objects and phenomena that inhabit the far reaches of the cosmos and the earliest times of existence.

Each of this book’s ten chapters explains one big idea in humanity’s study of the origins and evolution of the universe. These fundamental concepts include the big bang and the expanding universe; the formation of stars and planets; the anatomy and lifecycle of a galaxy; the existence of black holes and supermassive black holes; gravity and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity; dark matter and dark energy; the cosmic web of galaxies; and theories of how the universe will end.

Clearly introduced by Dr. Stuart Clark’s straightforward commentary, these cornerstones in our understanding of the universe are exemplified by a multitude of stunning images and diagrams.

Within Deep Space are over 250 of the very latest and clearest images of the cosmos, provided by the Hubble Space Telescope and other, even more advanced, viewing technologies. These cosmic exotica include: spiral, elliptical, lenticular, ring and irregular galaxies; nebulae and supernova; white dwarfs; quasars; colliding galaxies; star formation and stellar nurseries; dying and exploding stars; planets and the solar system; the large-scale structure of the cosmos; and even images that give evidence of the great ‘invisibles’ of the universe – black holes, dark matter and dark energy.”

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Tags: Deep Space

Mars and Venus are surprisingly similar

05 March, 2008

I have a new story published at ESA.

“Using two ESA spacecraft, planetary scientists are watching the atmospheres of Mars and Venus being stripped away into space. The simultaneous observations by Mars Express and Venus Express give scientists the data they need to investigate the evolution of the two planets’ atmospheres. …”

Read the full story for free here.

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Galaxy Zoo: The Results

23 February, 2008

I have a new feature article in March’s BBC Sky At Night magazine.

“Stuart Clark reveals how amateurs have shed new light on the Universe.”


Read the full story in the March 2008 issue of BBC Sky At Night. Visit them online here.

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Ulysses mission coming to a natural end

22 February, 2008

I have another story published by ESA:

“Ulysses, the mission to study the Sun’s poles and the influence of our star on surrounding space is coming to an end. After more than 17 years in space – almost four times its expected lifetime – the mission is finally succumbing to its harsh environment and is likely to finish sometime in the next month or two. …”


You can read the full story here for free.

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