For the January Extra show Nick is by himself. He wasn't totally alone though as video Jodcaster Colin Stuart sent a field report from the Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath and Tim was here to answer listener questions.
Tucked away in a side street in Bath is the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. The museum is the place where, in 1781, William Herschel discovered the seventh planet - the first planet discovered since antiquity.
William Herschel arrived in Bath as a musician and a few years later brought his sister Caroline Herschel from Hannover to join him. In 1781, William was viewing a double star, and noted a nearby blob that he didn't recognise. After initially thinking he had discovered a comet, it was soon confirmed that it was actually a planet. Debbie James and Andy Burns describe the Herschels, their life in Bath and their observations.
Ask An Astronomer
Nick puts listener questions to Tim O'Brien. This month the questions include:
- A reporter rang up to ask about a string of mysterious floating lights in the sky that disappeared. These Rossendale UFOs are actually rather pretty flying lanterns, probably released at a wedding reception, that rise into the sky as miniature, glowing hot air balloons.
- Mark Ashley writes to tell us that he saw a fantastic halo and Moon dogs around the Moon due to ice crystals in the atmosphere. Mark wonders if other planets or moons also exhibit the types of atmospheric displays that we see on the Earth. There is no reason why these phenomena shouldn't occur on other planets as long as there is some kind of atmosphere. However, these displays may be created by different molecules resulting in exciting prospects such as infrared rainbows on Titan.
- Mark also wonders what causes the lop-sided geometry of the solar analemma. An analemma, such as the ones over Ancient Nemea, the Ukraine and even simulated on Mars are impressive images that show the position of the Sun at the same time every day over the course of a year. The reason for the shape is due to a combination of the tilt of the Earth's axis and the variation in speed as we move around the Sun.
|Interview:||Debbie James, Andy Burns and Colin Stuart|
|Ask An Astronomer:||Dr Tim O'Brien and Nick Rattenbury|
|Segment voice:||Tess Jaffe|
|Cover art:||A Sharper View of a Tilted Planet (Uranus) Credit: Lawrence Sromovsky, (Univ. Wisconsin-Madison), Keck Observatory|