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For six months, each day has been shorter than the last, the Sun lower in the sky. Will it disappear altogether and leave the people bereft in the dark cold winter? The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and is associated with more festivals than any other astronomical event.
Hurtigruten - Seeing the Northern Lights
What would it be like to take an astronomy tour on the Hurtigruten? Here is an account of some of the highlights of a trip around the coast of Norway in search of the northern lights. We heard stories of the constellations and then found them in the sky. And one night we saw the aurora dancing.
Astronomy Presents - for Kids
Birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions . . . What might please a young astronaut or astronomer? Here is a varied list of suggestions - and you may be surprised to find that a telescope is very low on the list.
A mile above the California desert stands Palomar Observatory. Its 200-inch mirror was officially impossible to make, but George Ellery Hale's vision inspired a nation in the grip of the Great Depression and it became the jewel in the crown of astronomy for the second half of the twentieth century.
Cetus the Sea Monster
Whale or monster? Benign plankton-eating creature or terrifying colossus, a hybrid with gaping jaws and the powerful scaly coils of a sea serpent? This is the constellation Cetus. The monster fell to the hero Perseus, but the stars and deep sky objects are impressive.
Bang! The Complete History of the Universe - book
If you don’t understand the Big Bang theory, would you like to? If Stephen Hawking was too scary for you, how about a lovely book that turns mathematical cosmology into plain English? A famous rock musician, a great popular astronomer and a working astrophysicist got together to tell this story.
Polaris - 10 Fascinating Facts
Today we travel paved roads using good maps or a GPS system to find the way. Imagine sailing uncharted waters or journeying through trackless deserts without such help. In the northern hemisphere one of the greatest of navigational aids has for nearly two thousand years been the north star Polaris.
Hurtigruten - Hunting the Light
Imagine a three thousand-mile astronomy voyage “hunting the light”. Usually, astronomers avoid the light, but not when it's the aurora borealis, the famed northern lights. Here is the first of two articles about the Norwegian ships that carry cargo and people between the towns of the Arctic Circle.
Spiders in Space
Spiders and their webs are everywhere and not just on Halloween. Sixteen of them have been sent into space. How well did the orb-weavers manage their webs? Did the jumping spiders starve in microgravity? What was the big surprise Gladys had for researchers when she returned to Earth?
Lick Observatory - 10 Fascinating Facts
Lick Observatory lies high on a mountaintop overlooking Silicon Valley. Known for major contributions to astronomy, it also has some unusual features. Its benefactor James Lick is buried under one of the main telescopes and its original seismogram of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is on display.
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