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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Geminids – a December Spectacle
Imagine the scene: a starry night in mid-December. As your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness, you start to see movement in the sky. At some point you definitely see a shooting star – properly called a meteor. Welcome to what many people think is the year's best meteor shower, the Geminids.

ABC of Astronomy – G is for Gravitational Lens
We have optical lenses in telescopes, cameras and eyes. They're made of transparent material, and they focus light. However astronomers now make use of gravitational lenses to detect distant galaxies, dark matter and extrasolar planets. What's a gravitational lens made of, and how does it work?

Death of a Massive Star
Massive stars are born in the same way as smaller stars like the Sun. But a massive star then burns brighter and hotter, and ends its life in one of the Universe's most stupendous explosions, a supernova. For a time, it shines as bright as entire galaxy of a billion stars.

Edward Charles Pickering
Edward Pickering was a leading light of 19th century astronomy who made the Harvard College Observatory into an institution with an international reputation. He was honored for his work by scientific societies in several countries, but his name is now known from his employing “Pickering's harem”.

Eris – Facts for Kids
At first astronomers thought Eris was bigger than Pluto and that it was a tenth planet. But both Eris and Pluto ended up as dwarf planets. Eris is now farther away from the Sun than any known object except for some comets. It's so cold that its atmosphere has frozen and is on the ground.

Who Discovered Neptune
Neptune is the planet discovered mathematically and whose detection led to a heated rivalry between British and French astronomers. But who was the first person actually to see Neptune?

Edge of the Sky – book review
Robert Trotta lectures in astrophysics at Imperial College London. He's also a science communicator who likes to share his knowledge with the public. So he set himself the task of writing about the Universe using only words from a list of the 1000 most common English words. How did he do?

ABC of Astronomy - F Is for Fusion
The Sun is more than just a ball of burning gas. It's also a giant nuclear reactor. Find out about the fusion that supplies the energy to support life on Earth, and the solar flares that can disrupt it. Intense magnetic fields create sunspots and faculae, and suspend filaments a million miles long.

Quaoar – What Is It
Beyond Neptune lies the Kuiper Belt where tens of thousands of icy bodies are scattered over billions of miles of space. Quaoar, named for the Tongva creation god, is one of them. It seems to fit the criteria for a dwarf planet, but it's still not on the official list.

What Happened to the Prime Meridian
The Prime Meridian of the World is “where time begins” at zero degrees of longitude. By international agreement in 1884, it was located at Greenwich, England. But if you stand on that meridian and look at the GPS on your phone, it won't read zero. What happened?

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Art on the Moon – Fallen Astronaut

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Moons of Uranus – Facts for Kids

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