If there were humans on the Moon - would we see the settlement lights from the Earth? For instance during a thin crescent Moon - could we see the lights of civilization in the parts of the Moon in darkness? 

It's a fun question to answer I think, so let's give it a go.

We can work it out backwards from the brightness of the full Moon.

Astronomers have long turned their telescopes, be they on satellites in space or observatories on Earth, to the wide swaths of interstellar medium to get a look at the formation and birth of stars. However, the images produced over the last 50 years look more like weather maps showing storm systems instead of glittering bursts of light that the untrained observer might expect of a "star map."

Until now.

Led by University of Florida astronomer Peter Barnes and Erik Muller at the National Astronomy Observatory of Japan, a team of international researchers has just released the most comprehensive images anyone has ever seen of the Milky Way's cold interstellar gas clouds where new stars and solar systems are being born.

We have heard the Mars exploration mantra for more than a decade: follow the water. In a new paper published October 9, 2015, in the journal Science, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team presents recent results of its quest to not just follow the water but to understand where it came from, and how long it lasted on the surface of Mars so long ago.

During the morning of last Monday (28th September) in Europe and Africa, or the evening of the 27th in the Americas, we were treated to the spectacle of a total eclipse of the Moon, a so-called ‘supermoon’ because the Moon appeared a little larger than usual near its perigee, the point closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit.  With the help of the British magazine Astronomy Now, helpful because along the with Daily Mail it was one of the few sources that gave the event timings in British time correctly, I set out to photograph it.

Now we know, it's the second of those "Three mysteries" which they solved - by detection of water in the RSLs.  However, they didn't directly detect flowing water. Instead, they found hydrated salts. So let's look at this a bit more closely - why are they so confident this is evidence for flowing water? And what next - is there any way to follow it up, and what about the other mysteries?

NASA has announced that there is flowing liquid water on Mars.  Where there is water there is life.  That is an old adage among astrobiologist.  We “follow the water”.  Water had lead us to be hopeful that on icy bodies such as the icy moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and maybe even the (dwarf) planet Pluto there is life under the ice.

Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters,  Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and  Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at the University of Arizona, promised a major announcement on Mars research today, and they delivered.

The Indian ISRO space agency was going to announce the result of their first year of observations in Mars orbit - the Indian Times said - on Thursday.  But it didn't happen - seems it has been delayed! I look forward to hearing what they found - but seems that we have to wait some more.

We can't really make any deduction about what they will say, as their research is embargoed until then - they can't say anything about it. But we should hear whether or not they have detected methane from orbit so far.

The internet is buzzing with the announcement from NASA that they are going to announce the solution of a longstanding Mars mystery on Monday. at 11.30 am EST. That's 4.30 pm BST. Then, as many of the news stories have pointed out, the list of speakers includes Lujendra Ojha, a Nepal born researcher from Katmandu who discovered the "Warm Seasonal Flows" as an undergraduate back in 2011. It would be surprising to include him unless the solved mystery is something to do with these streaks. now often called Recursive Slope Lineae. So, what are they, and what are the main mysteries about them?

You often see sensational news stories, saying a giant asteroid will hit Earth, or nearly miss us. Many of us worry about these things. So what is the truth behind them?

Actually astronomers have this well in hand. They have found 90% of the largest asteroids likely to hit Earth. This is mainly due to Pan-STARRS, which takes a 1.4 gigapixel image of a three degrees span of the night sky several times a minute. It continues to find a new large asteroid about once a month, and will find most of the remaining 10% by the 2020s.