International Astronomy Day – time to take flight

  • Celebrated twice a year in spring and autumn, International Astronomy Day was started in 1973 by Doug Berger.
  • The theme is, and has always been, to ‘bring astronomy to the people’.
  • Exploring space doesn’t need to mean going into space itself – and many institutions and organisations want to make it easier for everyone to access.
  • Space science covers everything from meteorites, to stars, to space-based telescopes scanning UV wavelengths.
  • Here are some of our favourite articles on astronomy and space science to celebrate bringing astronomy to you.

Uncovering the size-complexity rule in stars

From national economies to living organisms, many systems involving self-organisation become more complex as their size increases. Until now, these relationships have generally been studied separately.

Professor Georgi Georgiev at Assumption University, Massachusetts, USA, shows for the first time how the ‘size-complexity’ law emerges clearly and unambiguously in stars. His results shed new light on how complex systems spanning numerous fields of research are all connected.

Planetary scientists have dedicated their time to the extensive study of meteorites using camera networks to track fireballs.

Eyes on the sky: Meteorites unlock clues to the mysteries of the Solar System

Studying meteorites is a unique way to access a snapshot of the earliest days of our Solar System, but it’s important to collect the samples as soon as possible after they fall to Earth.

At the University of Glasgow in the UK, planetary scientists Professor Martin Lee, Dr Luke Daly, and Dr Sammy Griffin have dedicated their time to the extensive study of meteorites. By collecting and analysing Martian meteorites, the team investigate the possibility of life on Mars.

Dr Emily A Margolis: ‘Women’s history is aviation and space history’

In a world where many aspects of science are still male dominated, Emily Margolis plays a key role in highlighting women’s contributions to aviation and space history. As Curator of American Women’s History at the National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in the US, she runs a range of empowering projects about women in science, technology, and engineering.

Margolis is well placed to celebrate the progress society has made in recognising women’s achievements, but she is uncompromising in challenging the barriers to gender equity that still exist.


UNBSSI – planting the seeds of space exploration

Since 1959, the UN’s Basic Space Science Initiative (UNBSSI) has worked to make space science accessible to everyone, especially focusing on developing nations by providing workshops dedicated to education programmes. Access to education, teaching, and research is fundamental to bridging the barriers around space.

The UNBSSI encourages sharing knowledge and access to data from telescopes which transmit massive quantities of data back to Earth every day. With this aim, the UNBSSI is planting the seeds of space exploration worldwide.

Spektr-UF: Unlocking the secrets of UV

We’ve known for years that there is more information about the Universe that we could discover, if only we could ‘see’ it. A space-based telescope, Spektr-UF, could help us unlock some of the Universe’s best-held secrets. Spektr-UF is the result of international collaboration and will carry a remarkable array of scientific equipment to scan ultraviolet waves.

The scientists behind the project hope to observe UV radiation to find out what has been hidden deep within the Universe’s light spectrum – until now.


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