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Stargazing and planet spotting at Sudley House

19 March 2012 by Laura

John Moran, demonstrator from World Museum’s planetarium, on an exciting event taking place this Friday 23 March at Sudley House:


Sudley House

Sudley House’s uninterrupted view of horizon offers good platform for stargazing.

One night, several different types of telescope, binoculars and the whole night sky to explore. Sound good? Then come and join us for an evening of celestial fun.

Staff at the planetarium will be running this event in conjunction with Dark Sky Discovery who have awarded us a grant of £1500, which is nice of them, with the aim of increasing people’s awareness of the night sky. Read more…

February – celestial gems in the night

17 February 2012 by Lisa

Here’s John Moran, Education Demonstrator at the Planetarium, to tell us what to look out for in the night sky this month.


Orian

Orion – image courtesy of NASA.

There are still plenty of easily observable planets for your viewing delight this month. I came out of my house at 7.30pm a few days ago and there were three bright planets which seemed to be set up for anyone who can’t see the whole of the sky. There was Venus in the east, Jupiter directly above and Mars in the west. It doesn’t get much better than that! 

If that’s not enough, then later on we have the appearance of the ringed beauty Saturn which follows behind Mars in the west a few hours later. Me and a few colleagues went up on the fifth floor balcony of the of the museum on Friday 3 February and everything looked perfect. I set up two telescopes to view all of these planets and as soon as I started getting lined up on Venus, the clouds came along and just blanketed everything out!  Read more…

Tide time

28 June 2010 by stepheng

painting of ships on the Mersey

‘Waiting the tide’ by Harry Taylor Hoodless, from the Merseyside Maritime Museum’s collection

I like the old saying ‘Tide and time wait for no man’ because it has a sense of finality and closure.

I’ve lived near the sea most of my life and the tides have always played a part in our lives. In Liverpool, if the sky clouds over or the wind rises, we say the tide has changed – even if it hasn’t.

High tides generally mark the busiest times in ports as ships come and go from their berths with deep water enabling easier access to docks and quaysides. Read more…

On this day in history… January 1966

4 January 2010 by Lisa

For the first of our series of ’On this day in history’ blogs to comemorate 150 years of the World Museum, we are looking to the memories of ex-staff member, (former Keeper) Eric Greenwood. Here he recalls an important time in the museum’s history after the destruction of the Second World War, when the museum was able to return to displaying treasured artefacts and hosting evening events…


Front of a museum with stone steps and columns.

The steps up to the old entrance to the museum.

I joined the staff of the then ‘City of Liverpool Museums’ on 1 January 1966. At that time only a temporary display in the Lower Horseshoe Gallery was open to the public.
 
In the following years the newly built ‘phase two block’ - situated behind the steps at the front of the museum in William Brown Street – was opened in stages. This was an exciting time as curators and public alike saw the museum’s treasures for the first time since the beginning of the second world war, 30 years earlier. Read more…

Meteor shower tonight

13 December 2009 by Karen

This is a bit last minute, but a reminder to watch the skies tonight for the annual Geminids shower. You should be able to see the meteors between around 8 and 10pm in the UK. It should be a good view – just had a look outside and the sky is clear, plus being close to the new moon there’s not much moonlight. There’ll be about 100 meteors every hour which should be visible with the naked eye. It’s pretty chilly out there so if you’re venturing out wrap up warm. Read more…

Spotting the Perseids

12 August 2009 by Karen

I’m not holding out too much hope of seeing anything that looks like a Perseid tonight. The Beeb is suggesting a fair amount of cloud cover in the vicinity of my house 

In case you don’t know the Perseids are an annual meteor shower that occurs when the Earth passes through dust debris from the comet, Swift-Tuttle. It reaches its peak tonight and should be a good show for people lucky enough to live in an area without too much light pollution or cloud cover. Plus you shouldn’t need any fancy equipment to either see or photograph them, just look to the north east after dark. Read more…

Magnificent desolation

15 July 2009 by Lisa

Planetarium Operator, John Moran, gives us his thoughts on one of the most important anniversaries of the year…


On 20 July 2009 we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of arguably the most momentous occasion in history, the moon landing by the crew of Apollo 11.

Lunar module on the moon

The lunar module on the moon’s surface. Image courtesy of NASA.

We are marking this occasion at World Museum Liverpool with the launch (no pun intended) of a brand new show in the Planetarium about the moon called ‘Magnificent Desolation’. The title of this new show was taken from the words of Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, one of the Apollo 11 astronauts, as he set foot on the moon after Neil Armstrong. When he surveyed the landscape he described it as ”magnificent desolation”. Read more…

Spot the comet

6 February 2009 by Lisa

At the end of February, Earth will receive a visitor named Lulin. This is not an alien, but a comet that astronomers say may have never visited this corner of the solar system before and should be visible to the naked eye. Our resident expert in all things celestial, Planetarium Operator John Moran, is here to tell us how to spot it…


Constellation map

Stars in our eyes: Will you spot Comet Lulin?

If you were to scoop up a handful of snow, shape it into a rough spherical shape and add some dirt to it, you would basically be holding in your hand the ingredients that make up a comet. These mountain-sized dirty snowballs are some of the most intriguing objects there are in space. That’s why during February and beyond, millions of eyes will be eagerly looking towards the constellation Leo to try and catch a glimpse of Comet Lulin.

From roughly the 16th of the month, not only will we be able to see Comet Lulin with the naked eye but also within two degrees of it you will find the ringed planet Saturn. This should be a beautiful sight through binoculars, all you need to do is find it. Look for the constellation Ursa Major, often called The Plough, which most people are familiar with, then find the two pointers which show us the way to the Pole star. If you follow the pointers in the opposite direction of Polaris and continue until you come to the first big constellation, this will be Leo, identified by the back-to-front question mark. Look down and slightly to the left for the brightest object in this constellation, which at the moment is Saturn, and just below this will be Comet Lulin. As the days pass so the comet will start moving upwards and to the right.
 
Comets originate in a vast region of space which borders our solar system called the Oort Cloud. As they swirl around, some smash into each other and like snooker balls on a table get fired off in a different direction and this starts their long cold journey into our solar system. As they near the sun the ice starts to melt and gas and vapour start streaming out through evaporation; this is how the tail forms, which clearly identifies a comet. Read more…

Star-gazing in the new year

30 December 2008 by Lisa

It’s new year’s eve tomorrow and we’ve got a host of new stars to look forward to in January 2009. No, I don’t mean the start of Celebrity Big Brother, I’m talking about the night sky and its numerous stars to spot over the next few weeks. Although, reading the mythological stories behind the constellations, you could be forgiven for thinking that they had come out of a celebrity gossip mag - plenty of betrayals and lost love. The Brad/Angelina/Jennifer debacle is nothing compared to this lot! Our Planetarium Co-ordinator and resident night sky expert, John Moran, has brought us January’s Nightwatch report about Orion the Hunter and Perseus the great Greek hero…


Night sky constellation map

Starry, starry night: Orion the Hunter, officially more interesting than Shilpa Shetty.

The true winter constellations are on show in January with the Hunter Orion dominating the mythological cast of characters. Orion was a boastful hunter who claimed he could hunt and kill any animal, but met his match with a lowly scorpion as he couldn’t penetrate its armour. Orion fled into the sea and as he was swimming away, Apollo tricked his sister Artemis, who was in love with Orion, into firing an arrow at the far away object swimming in the sea. The arrow hit its mark and when Artemis found out what she had done, she begged Zeus to place Orion among the stars for all eternity and placed the scorpion on the opposite side of the sky.

Another constellation on show this month is Perseus named after the handsome Greek hero who saved the life of Andromeda by defeating the evil sea monster Cetus. Perseus had just slain the Gorgon Medusa and was carrying her head back as a trophy, because even in death Medusa’s head was still capable of turning any creature that looked upon her into stone and this is how he defeated Cetus.

On the 4th of the month look out for the first meteor shower of 2009, the Quantadrids, which have a high rate of 60 meteors per hour. Look out also for the ringed planet Saturn, which you will find in the constellation Leo around 9pm onwards. Don’t forget that 2009 is the international year of astronomy, so there should be plenty of interesting things to do and see to keep your imagination fired over the coming year.   
Read more…