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I will be acting as your astronomy guide on a 13-day tour to China next year to see the total solar eclipse. The tour is organised by Wendy Wu Tours. It leaves Heathrow on 14th July 2009 and returns on 26th. It travels from Beijing to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors and on to Hangzhou. We shall view the eclipse on the 22nd July from the banks of the Qiantang River.

There have been a couple more flattering reviews of Deep Space. The Daily Express described it as a ‘sumptuously illustrated voyage through the universe’ and say that the “commentary clearly explains the evolution of the cosmos.”

You can read the full review in the 29 February 2008 edition of The Daily Express.

My talk about Deep Space at the Edinburgh Literary Festival has been pulled forward to a week earlier. It will now take place on Thursday 14th August in the Studio Theatre at 10.30am.  For more information about the festival, click here.

I have a new story published in three parts over at ESA.  First is the introduction:
“Even in the clearest, bluest sky on Earth, there is still water vapour in our atmosphere. If you could condense all the water vapour out of the atmosphere above you, it would form a layer of water two centimetres deep. On Mars today, there is also water vapour in the atmosphere but it would create a layer just 10 micrometres thick.”

Three weeks ago, I announced that The Sun Kings had been longlisted by The Royal Society for their 2008 Science Book Prizes.  Well, it is with a cocktail of excitement and disbelief that I can announce today that the judges have gone on to shortlist my book.

I have a new story published over at ESA today:

“Venus Express has detected the molecule hydroxyl on another planet for the first time. This detection gives scientists an important new tool to unlock the workings of Venus’s dense atmosphere. …”


You can read the full story for free here

I have a new story published by ESA:


“The general public's interest in suborbital flying is now substantial. Such flights could offer a realistic opportunity to 'touch' space by experiencing weightlessness and seeing the curvature of the Earth's limb. Being so closely related to ESA's 'core business', the Agency is observing these developments with interest, and is now presenting its position on privately funded suborbital spaceflight. …”


You can read the full story for free here.

I have the cover story on BBC Sky at Night’s June issue:


“They say that lightning never strikes twice.  Most people think the same about asteroid impacts but some researchers aren’t so sure.  Take the devastating 30 June 1908 impact over Tunguska in Siberia.


It was about 7:15am when, out of the brilliant summer sky flashed a meteorite, a really big one.  As it ploughed onwards, it left a pillar of smoke hanging across the sky marking its passage.

I have a new story published over at ESA:


“ESA is launching a new initiative to develop a roadmap for finding Earth-like planets. Searching for rocky planets around other stars, in the hopes of finding an Earth-like world, is a top scientific goal in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme. …”


You can read the full article for free here.

I noticed an amazing graphic of the Milky Way on the Astronomy Picture of the Day site, today.  It shows a artist’s impression of the Milky Way and then, when you put your cursor over the image, it superimposes a co-ordinate grid based on the Sun’s location.  The spiral arms are also named.


Check it out here.



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