Astronomy: Sun spots and the dark side of the moon

Weekend Variety Wireless 24/06/2018
Credit: File.

The sun has been behaving strangely recently.

Astronomer Dr Grant Christie joins Graeme Hill to talk the latest in Astronomy.

The sun experiences an eleven year cycle of activity evolving through solar minimums and maximums. During solar maximums, increased activity takes place with sun spots and solar flares more apparent.

Currently the sun is nearing a solar minimum, yet an unusual amount of activity expected for this period, is taking place.

Dr Christie and Graeme talk about this latest time-lapse video spanning a 24 hour period which reveals sun spots and their activity.

Here's a closeup view with the Earth shown for scale.

Credit: File.

Also, what would happen if a Carrington event hit the earth?

Dr Christie discusses the coronal mass ejection. Astronomers are tracking activity of the directional events and the risk one could pose to us.

Plus, this image of the Pillars of the Eagle Nebula shows the star forming region with infra-red which looks inside the dust cloud.

It looks like two big dinosaurs shaking hands with a small dinosaur.

“It looks like two big dinosaurs shaking hands with a small dinosaur”, says Graeme.

Equipment on Mars has gone into hibernation mode after a dense dust storm has clouded its solar panels. Global dust storms are recurrent with the combination of fine Martian dust particles and very thin atmosphere.

Next month, Mars will be in opposition to Earth and it will be the brightest object in our night sky.

Also, Japan has launched Hayabusa 2. It’s the second shot at sending a spacecraft to rendezvous with an asteroid.

Hayabusa 2 has arrived at Ryugu with the hope of landing on the comet’s surface to retrieve samples.

Meanwhile, neutron stars that merged last year formed a new object. Astronomers who have been studying the remnants have confirmed it to be a black hole.

Plus, China is going to land a craft on the dark side of the moon.

Listen to the full interview with Dr Grant Christie above.

Weekend Variety Wireless with Graeme Hill, 8pm - midnight Saturdays and Sundays, on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the Rova app on Android and iPhone.