Welcome to MacAstrofix ....... Astronomy Diary for March 2017 ........ Mars Rover Tests in Atacama Desert ........ Enceladus May Have Liquid Water Near Surface ........ Astronomers Find 7 Earth-sized planets in one system. 3 are in the habitable zone! ........ Study finds Oxygen from Earth Travels to the Moon ....... Northern Lights to Fade from UK? ........ Astronauts' Brains Change Shape in Space ........ Chinese to Launch Lunar Sampling Mission in November ........ Remembering the Last Man on the Moon ........ Huge Bulge in Venutian Atmosphere ....... Trump to Scrap NASA Climate Research ........ Moon Express Team : Funding in Place ....... Gravitational Waves: Breakthrough of 2016? ........ Best Astronomy News from 2016 ........ Comet 45P Visible from New Years Eve ........ NASA Favourite Photos of 2016 ....... Curiosity's Purple Rocks on Mars ........


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An Astronomy Diary for March

Animation Credit: NASA MSFC

Some astronomy highlights for viewing during March

can be seen here...


What`s in the Shetland Sky in 2017?



Weather Today  Mossbank Shetland

                                                                             Live Video Stream and Weather Data


Some Suggestions for Binoculars


Free Online Courses

Courses in Astronomy, Physics, Astrobiology and more

starting soon


The Voice of Jupiter 2014

Our first attempt to record Jupiter`s radio emissions

on 20.1Mhz ( June 2014 ) Listen to the files here .


Meteor Shower Camelopardalids 2014

Did you know you can also listen to meteor showers ?

Plots and Audio samples from the Camelopardalids !


Preliminary Report

Hurlers Stone Circles Project - Cornwall

Original Hurlers Story Here !


News from Around the Web

Mars Rover Tests in Atacama Desert

Rover in desert

Image credit: NASA/CampoAlto/V. Robles

Second Mars Rover test series is completed in possibly

the driest place on Earth, to approximate conditions on

Mars. The team spent a month collecting scientific data

on life found in the desert today.

Moon Enceladus May Have Liquid

Water Near Surface

Enceladus with fractures at the south polar region.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The bright, ice-covered Saturn moon should be too

small and too far from the Sun to be active. But

Enceladus is one of the most geothermally active

places in the Solar System.

Astronomers Find 7 Earth-Sized planets

In Trappist  - 1 System:

Three are in the Habitable Zone !


Northern Lights Fading From the UK?

Image: Chris Brown (Shetland)

Scientists at Reading University find that UK may

'lose' the Northern lights by the middle of this century

due to changes in solar activity. They predict that an

imminent 'solar minimum', which is part of the Sun's

natural cycle, will cause the Sun's 'atmosphere' to

shrink by a third. This would lessen Earth's protection

from cosmic rays and solar radiation and would also

reduce the solar wind which makes the northern

lights visible in areas outside Earth's polar regions


Chinese to Launch Lunar Sampling

Mission in November

China state media reports that a planned robotic

mission to return samples from the lunar surface

will launch in November. This would be the first

such mission in four decades. The mission will use

China's new heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket.


Oxygen from Earth Travels to the Moon

Image: NASA

Analysis of data from the Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya

suggests that oxygen is transferred from Earth to the

Moon for 5 days in every lunar month.

Astronauts' Brains Change Shape in Space

astronaut waving

Image: NASA

A new study by the University of Michigan reveals that

astronauts' brains compress and expand during space

missions. Findings may lead to new ways of thinking

about certain health conditions on Earth.


Moon Express Team gathers

funds for trip to the Moon

lunar X Prize Image

In a bid to claim $20 Million in prize money for landing

on the Moon, the US-based Moon Express team has

already built a lunar lander and booked space on an

experimental Electron rocket. Now, with sufficient

funds in place, the team will soon have a real chance

to launch its first record-breaking attempt


Remembering the Last Man on the Moon

Gene Cernan on the Moon

Image: NASA

Eugene Cernan, the commander of the Apollo 17 mission

and last astronaut to walk on the Moon, has died aged

82. "We leave as we came, and, God willing, we shall

return, with peace and hope for all mankind."

Cernan's words on leaving the Moon.

Read NASA's tribute here...


Bulge Seen in Venus' Atmosphere

Image: JAXA/Taguchi et. al., 2017

Astronomers are still trying to explain a massive  'bulge'

seen in the upper atmosphere of Venus. Their best

guess is that the 10,000 km structure was caused

by the largest gravity wave ever seen in the Solar

System - but only if gravity waves can form this high

in the atmosphere

Trump to scrap Nasa climate research

Image: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

Trump announces plans to scrap Nasa climate research in

crackdown on ‘politicized science’. Funding will be used to

explore of deep space, with a goal of exploring the entire solar

system by the end of the century.

Gravitational Waves: Breakthrough

of 2016?

Dr. Kip Thorne of Caltech © Gary Cameron / Reuters


Summary: Some of the Best Astronomy

News from 2016

Recap of some of the best astronomy news in 2016...


Comet 45P Visible from New Years Eve

Comet 45P

Image: Comet 45P as it looked when it last passed Earth:  NASA / JPL

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will be

visible in the night sky in January / February

2017. The comet is a regular visitor to the

inner solar system and was first discovered

in 1948. 47P is best viewed with binoculars

or a small telescope

NASA Favourite Photos of 2016

Image: NASA

See a selection of some of  NASA HQ's favourite

images from 2016


Purple Rocks on Mars

This new image from NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover

shows purple-coloured rocks on the surface of

lower Mount Sharp ( Mars )


Could YOU Be an Astronaut?



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