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What Was the Star of Bethlehem?
The Star of Bethlehem is one of the loveliest symbols of Christmas. But what was it? Simply an inspired idea to emphasize the spiritual importance of the story? Or was it based on an actual astronomical happening?
Venus Facts for Kids
It's the planet most likely to mistaken for a UFO. It spins backwards on its axis. A day is longer than a year. It's Venus! Some call it Earth's twin, but I think you'll see that we don't have all that much in common.
Orion the Hunter
The stars of Orion have been part of humanity's mythscape for thousands of years. Seven bright stars outline the hunter's body. One of them is a supergiant nearing the end of its life. Yet just visible to the unaided eye is a vast stellar nursery where the next generation of stars is forming.
Absolute Beginners - Winter Skies
Many bright stars sparkle in the sky on crisp winter evenings. Brightest of all is Sirius the Dog Star, the face of one of the two dogs of Orion the hunter. The belt of Orion himself is an easily-identified feature and the constellation also has both a red supergiant star and a blue one.
A Quick Guide to the Astronomy Site
What are other people reading? Where can I find an astronomy word search? I'd like some help to start observing. What is a meteor shower? Here is a guide to help you find what you want and get the best out of the BellaOnline Astronomy site.
How to Tell a Planet from a UFO
Two English policemen chased a UFO through the Devon countryside. It was the planet Venus. A news reporter had quite a scoop when she found a UFO hovering over New York City. It was the planet Jupiter. Why are planets and stars often mistaken for spacecraft or aircraft?
Photography and the Birth of Astrophysics
Saturn's rings, spiral galaxies, solar flares. Astrophotography has shown us some wonderful images, but it's more than pretty pictures. It has allowed us to discover objects too dim for the human eye to see. Partnered with spectroscopy, it moved astronomy from mapping to understanding the stars.
Neptune Facts for Kids
Far beyond Uranus is another blue planet, one named for the Greek sea god. It could well have been named for a god of winds as it's the windiest place in the Solar System. Find out more about Neptune, the planet that was discovered using math.
Uranus Facts for Kids
This ice giant is twenty times farther from the Sun than we are. It orbits lying on its side so that half the planet can be dark for over twenty years at a time. This is the planet Uranus, discovered by William Herschel in 1871 and nearly named George!
Halloween falls midway between an equinox and a solstice. In the ancient Celtic world it was the new year's eve and start of winter - time to prepare for survival in the darkening days. But also a time when the boundary between our world and the otherworld weakened. Who knew what might cross it?
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