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Five Astronomy Non-events of 2017
The year 2017 was favored with dire predictions of destructive giant impacts, and the 15 days of darkness “forecast by NASA” was back again. Unusually, there was no sign of the “Mars will look as big as the full Moon” that's been a regular since 2003. But there's also a new non-event.
Top Ten Astronomy Stories 2017
2017 was an exciting one for astronomy, full of interesting events and discoveries. There was a fantastic solar eclipse that swept across North America, a star system with 7 Earth-sized planets, a quasar from the early Universe, Cassini's Grand Finale, a dwarf planet with rings, and much more.
When Does the New Year Begin
Imagine midnight on December 31 – fireworks, friendship and celebration greet a new year. But only if you follow the Gregorian calendar. In the past, a year often didn't start on January 1, and for nearly two billion people it still doesn't. So when does a new year begin?
From March to May you can see the Spring Triangle in northern skies. In summer the Summer Triangle is most prominent, but may be seen all year round in most of the northern hemisphere. There is also a Winter Triangle. But grandest of all is the Winter Hexagon.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017
Once again images of the heavens came to Greenwich. Photographers of all ages had used skill and imagination to capture our neighbor planets, visiting comets, colorful nebulae, Earthly skies, and distant galaxies. Nearly four thousand entries came from over ninety countries.
Let's look at some doodles celebrating space missions. If you ever search with Google, you may have seen the doodles before. They're drawings and animations celebrating people, events, holidays, inventions and whatnot, incorporating the Google logo in an amusing way.
Taurids – Halloween Fireballs
Thousands of years ago a comet broke up. A remnant of it still visits Earth, adding to the debris stream fuelling the annual Taurid meteor shower. The shower peaks near Halloween and may produce brilliant meteors – its nickname is 'Halloween Fireballs'. But is there something deadly in the debris?
Crux – the Southern Cross
Crux is the smallest of the 88 constellations, but it punches above its weight. As Polaris does in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere the Southern Cross serves as a navigation aid. It's part of the flags of five nations, and its stars also feature widely in traditional lore.
Visiting Venus – Facts for Kids
Would you like to visit another planet? How about Mars or Venus? Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin wants to see astronauts on Mars, but could Venus be a better choice?
Cassini-Huygens – the Prime Mission
Saturn: magnificent rings, a planet-sized moon, and dozens of smaller moons. Three spacecraft had flown by before Cassini-Huygens was launched in 1997. But this mission wouldn't just fly by and snap some photos. It was going to get up close and personal.
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