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Cancer the Crab
Cancer the crab scuttles across the late winter sky, well away from its nemesis Hercules. Cancer is a zodiac constellation, the Tropic of Cancer is named for it, and it has existed for over three thousand years. Yet it seems to be a dim and unremarkable constellation. Why all the attention?
Carrington Event – Biggest Solar Storm on Record
Dazzling aurorae filled the skies. Birds thought it was morning, people thought the world was ending. The telegraph didn't work. But strangely, sometimes the telegraph operators could send messages without a power supply. This was the Carrington Event, the biggest solar storm ever recorded.
A professional musician named William Herschel was the first person in history to discover a planet. Later, as a professional astronomer, Herschel studied the stars and deep space objects to try to understand “the construction of the heavens.” He was one of the fathers of modern astronomy.
Star-gazing – Seeing in Dim Light
How can you see an object by not looking at it? Why do aurorae and deep-sky objects tend to look grey? How can an eyepatch and a red flashlight be useful to an astronomer? Why can a camera flash ruin a night's observing? Answers to all these questions are related to the way our eyes react to light.
Red Dwarfs - Ten Facts for Kids
If you go outside on a clear dark night, you might see a few thousand stars. But without a telescope, not a single one will be the most common type of star in the Universe. You won't see red dwarfs, the stars that will still be shining in the far distant future when all the others have died.
Life and Death of the Sun
In the distant future the Sun will be many times its present size and thousands of times brighter. It will seed the Galaxy with elements like carbon and oxygen–perhaps for life on a world yet unborn. Then it will collapse into a tiny dead sphere. For a time, a beautiful nebula will mark its place.
Triton – Captive Moon of Neptune
The Solar System's big moons are weird and wonderful, and Triton is no exception. It has ice volcanoes. Its "cantaloupe terrain" is unique in the Solar System. It's unlike the other large moons. And it orbits in the wrong direction, so it didn't form near Neptune. But where did it come from?
What Is Space Weather
Everybody knows what weather is – sun, rain, wind, cloud, etc. But there's no atmosphere in space, so what is space weather? It can endanger astronauts, and in our technological world, a severe solar storm could affect everybody.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014
There's a serene aurora, both a violent Sun and an eclipsed one, a stellar nursery and a stellar graveyard, and many more superb pictures. They were on display in Greenwich, England, but are still online.
The New Martians – book review
Fast forward to 2035. The first manned Mars expedition is going home, and things have started to go wrong. The psychological pressures of being a small group spending a few years together in a hostile environment are getting to them. They're also unaware that they've acquired a hitchhiker.
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