The Telegraph and the Sun both had astronomy content in them yesterday.
In the Telegraph, Chris Davis of RAL (and an occasional member of my own group) who works on the STEREO spacecraft and the Solar Stormwatch part of the Zooniverse of citizen science projects, discusses the dangers posed by extremes of solar activity highs.
In the Sun, Professor Brian Cox sends the women (and some of the men) wobbly kneed with a Cosmic Kiss and then follows on with what the discovery of a wetter Mars at a later stage of its life than previously assumed means for the chances of finding evidence of past or present organic life on its surface.
We might not have conclusive evidence for life on Mars, but organic chemicals that rate as the precursors of life have been found in space and to that list another one – athracene – has been added, helping to bolster the hypothesis that the building blocks of life may have formed in space and later seeded the Earth.
Now its all fair and well hearing the second or third hand musings of scientists on this matter, but what about getting into the nitty gritty? Well the Times reports on a website called “I’m a Scientist, Get me Out of Here” that has a team of scientists on hand to answer through blogs, email and livechats, the questions of hundreds of schoolchildren. Furthermore, these same children get to vote out scientists they feel are less helpful or likeable than the others. Full report here.
Some more specialist astronomy reading matter also made announcements yesterday. New Scientist has won the Specialist category in the Maggies, the magazine cover awards. And a quick preview of the July edition of the Sky at Night Magazine is now in the forums. NASA Blueshift have also put out a blog of the best of the week in terms of space stuff. And finally, Galaxy Zoo have put out a more unusual publication, in terms of an iPhone App that runs the website from that machine.