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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?
Halley's Comet for Kids
It visits every 75 years or so, appearing like a celestial ghost in our skies. In the past it has been a bad omen and scary object, but last time it came it was a big event around the world. What is it? Halley's Comet, the most famous comet of all.
NASA Helped Rescue Chilean Miners
In the Chilean winter of 2010 thirty-three miners were trapped half a mile below the surface. They were in a hostile environment, a confined space, reliant on supplies from outside - similar to the problems of a space mission. Find out how NASA's decades of experience helped the Chilean rescuers.
Royal Greenwich Observatory Photography 2010
An ancient tree is young compared to the center of the Galaxy. The Sun shines through dark clouds as a perfect ring in an annular eclipse. These are two of the dazzling images in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition 2010. You can see the exhibition online.
Bang! - The Universe Verse - book review
What would it take to explain the Big Bang Theory? James Lu Dunbar's "Bang!" might do it - and amuse you and your children at the same time. It's a splendid little book which tells the story of the universe in verse and appealing graphics.
Absolute Beginners - Autumn Skies
As the long days of summer slip away and the skies darken earlier, the first stars of autumn appear. The centerpiece is the Great Square of Pegasus. It's the key to other autumn sights, including the most distant object you can see without a telescope - it's a billion billion miles away.
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