Press Releases


SAAO / LIVING MATHS live Google+ Hangout to celebrate Comet Siding Spring’s close encounter with Mars.

16 October 2014

On the 19th of October at 20:28 SAST Comet Siding Spring is due to make a close flyby of Mars, passing at a distance of just 140,000 km, or about one third of the distance between the Earth and our Moon. This is ten times closer than any known comet ha …

The mysterious shell of dense gas encircling Betelgeuse prompts an investigation

11 August 2014
Betelgeuse's complex environment

Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star in the constellation of Orion, located approximately 600 light years from us, and is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It is a colossal star with a radius about 1000 times that of our own sun; if it were a …

The largest Full Moon for the Year

9 August 2014
Image of the Moon taken over Table Mountain, credit: Dr Steve Potter, SAAO.

Did you know that the Moon travels around the Earth in an oval shaped or elliptical orbit rather than a circular one? The average distance between the Earth and Moon is 384,400 km. However, because of its elliptical path, the distance to the Moon varie …