Carl Sagan’s influence on space exploration

6th April 2016

Photograph of Carl Sagan with a model of the Viking lander.

In the 1960s, science journalism in the United States was sparse and mostly performed by journalists with little or no scientific background. Science was perceived as minimising the need for pseudoscience, but it didn’t fill the spiritual void this left in people. »

Cycles of destruction

28th January 2016

Photograph of the Ouarkziz Impact Crater in Algeria.

Over 180 impact craters have been identified on Earth, and most of these were discovered in the first half of the 20th century. Impacts have been associated with mass extinction events since the 1980s, with strong evidence coming from the Chicxulub Crater, which was linked to the extinction of most of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. »

Supermassive Black Holes and Stellar Consumption

27th December 2015

Artist’s impression of a flare emanating from a supermassive black hole.

Last month, a team of scientists led by Sjoert van Velzen of Johns Hopkins University and Gemma Anderson of ICRAR (the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research) in Perth discovered what happens when a supermassive black hole devours a star. »

Planetary formation and the probability of other civilisations existing in the Universe

24th November 2015

Painting showing astronauts working on a space colony that contains land and oceans.

Our understanding of planets has increased dramatically in the last decade, particularly since the launch of NASA’s Kepler satellite in 2009. This has resulted in the detection of thousands of extra-solar planets, and led to a better understanding of how planets form. »

Water in Space

29th September 2015

Mountain on Mars that contains flowing water.

Yesterday, NASA announced that they've found evidence of liquid water currently flowing on Mars. This began with the discovery of dark streaks on the sides of several craters. These are up to a few hundred meters long, and appear seasonally. »

Would we know if an alien spacecraft enters the Solar System?

26th August 2015

Photograph of Earth from space.

It seems likely that alien life has evolved somewhere in the Galaxy, given that there may be millions of habitable planets, and many of these may have existed for billions of years. If just one species in the whole of the Galaxy were able to explore using self-replicating spacecraft, then they might be able to place probes across the Galaxy within a million years or so. »

A Brief History of Pluto

29th July 2015

Mountains on Pluto

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all visible with the naked eye, and can be distinguished from stars because they move around the sky in a different way. The orbits of the planets were determined in the 1600s, and confirmed with telescopes, which had just started to be used in astronomy. »

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The Star Garden is a science news and education website run by Dr Helen Klus.

How we came to know the cosmos explains the simple discoveries we made in prehistoric times, and how we built on them, little by little, until the conclusions of modern theories seem inevitable. This is shown in a timeline of the universe.

The Star Garden covers the basics for KS3, KS4, and KS5 science revision including SATs, GCSE, and A-level physics.