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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

Archive by Date | Archive by Article Title

Seeing in the Dark - book review
Does amateur equal incompetence? No, says Timothy Ferris in a superb book exploring the role of amateur astronomers in probing the heavens. He reminds us that the root of the word amateur is love, and interweaves the stories of these lovers of astronomy with a grand tour of the universe.

Oort Cloud - Facts for Kids
Where do comets come from? The Oort Cloud is home to a trillion comets at the edge of the Solar System, nearly half way to the next star. Sometimes they get kicked out and sometimes they come to visit the inner Solar System.

Le Gentil - Heroic Failure
Here's the story of Guillaume Le Gentil who went to India to observe the transit of Venus in 1761 and took eleven years to get home again. War and weather conspired to prevent his making observations and illness further delayed his return. Was he the unluckiest astronomer ever?

Transit of Venus - Captain Cook 1769
How big is the Solar System? 18th century astronomers tried to find out by sending expeditions around the world to measure a transit of Venus. One of these was Captain Cook's voyage to Tahiti. He went under the auspices of the Royal Society, but he carried secret orders from the government.

Royal Observatory Greenwich
It's the place where time begins: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England. Here you can stand on the Prime Meridian of the world with one foot in the western hemisphere and the other in the eastern hemisphere. It represents over three hundred years of astronomical and maritime history.

The Transit of Venus - Book Review
In the north of England in the early 17th century, there was an amazing circle of astronomers. They were well ahead of their time and included the first two people ever to observe a transit of Venus. What ended this brief flowering? Peter Aughton tells the story.

Mother's Day - an Astronomy Bouquet
Flowers from the florist are popular for Mother's Day. But for really stellar mothers, here is a cosmic floral tribute with links to some dazzling astronomical images.

Copernicus for Kids
Since the name of Nicolaus Copernicus is still well known nearly five hundred years after his death, why was his grave unmarked until 2010? Find out about the life of the quiet revolutionary that turned our view of the universe inside out.

Absolute Beginners - Observing the Sun
Study the Sun, but treat it with respect! Protect your eyes and use equipment with care, and you can count sunspots and see solar eclipses and transits. Or from the the comfort of your living room your computer will let you see space telescope images of solar flares, prominences and maybe a comet.

The Sun - Facts for Kids
The Sun is a star and it's a big one. It's bigger than 85% of the other stars in the Milky Way and contains almost all of the mass of the whole Solar System. Find out more about the star that makes life on Earth possible.

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