As we near the last days of orbit around the Sun for 2019, we gaze back on the past 10 years of stellar science moments of the decade. From outer space to the nature of our own planet, it has been an extraordinary decade for discoveries, groundbreaking developments and introspection as we learn more about the climate challenges our planet faces.
July 2012 – Higgs Boson particle discovery
A brand new particle, named the Higgs Boson, was discovered by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and has been known to be the ‘elusive particle’ as no experiment had been able to confirm the theory. [Discover more here]
April 2014 – First Earth-sized exoplanet discovered in the habitable zone
In NASA’s search for the next planet Earth, the Kepler spae telescope found the first Earth-sized planet orbiting a star’s habitable zone, where liquid water could potentially exist. [Discover more here]
February 2016 – The first direct observation of gravitational waves
The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) announced that they had made the first direct observation of gravitational waves in September 2015, detecting ripples in the fabric of space-time. This discovery was made 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted the existence of the waves. [Discover more here]
February 2017 – Seven Earth-sized exoplanets discovered
As the search for exoplanets continued by the team at NASA, seven Earth-sized planets were found orbiting a red-drawf star 40 light-years away. Some exoplanets exist in the habitable zone so the potential for signs of life will be studied. [Discover more here]
February 2018 – Elon Musk launches Tesla into space
The Tesla Roadster was launched into space on Space X’s Falcon Heavy, putting the car in elliptical orbit between the Earth and Mars. You can find out where the Roadster is in our solar system here
2019 – The climate emergency grabs the headlines
It was recognised that the ‘David Attenborough’ effect had pioneered a change in habit with 53% of people using less plastic since watching The Blue Planet II documentary series. The iconic British broadcaster David Attenborough highlighted the effect the plastic pollution and the current climate crisis is having on our wildlife and oceans, and what it could mean if we don’t make the necessary changes.
Since then, awareness of the climate emergency we’re facing and the plastic pollution has been at the forefront of change, with activists like Greta Thunberg starting the climate strike ‘Fridays For Future’ movement and Extinction Rebellion taking residence all around the globe to highlight the danger we’re in if goverments don’t take action.
April 2019 – First image of a black hole
The very first image was captured of a black hole in galaxy M87, captured by the Event Horizon Telescope observing the centre of that galaxy. [Discover more here]
July 2019 – Jodrell Bank Observatory becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Our home Jodrell Bank Observatory was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status, joining a vast global group of prestigious sites recognised by UNESCO as sites of Outstanding Universal Value. A phenomenal site getting recognition for it’s work in scientific discoveries. [Discover more here]
July 2019 – 50 years since the Moon Landing
To commemorate 50 years to the day since the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon Landing, we celebrated the momentous occassion with a special programme of music, science, arts and cosmic culture. From DotTalks and a live Moonbounce to Lovell Telescope projections by Illuminos with a countdown, footage and soundscape to the second, mirroring what happened in 1969.
October 2019 – First all-female NASA spacewalk
In a historic first for NASA, astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir successfully completed the very first all-female space walk, making the necessary repairs to the International Space Station. [Discover more here]
What’s been your favourite science moment of the last decade? Share your highlights in the comments.