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BellaOnline's Astronomy Editor

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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Beautiful Planet – film review
The Milky Way contains billions of stars and planets, but Earth is to us the most beautiful. The thin skin of our atmosphere protects us from many space hazards, but can't protect life on Earth from human-made hazards. Tony Meyers's new film A Beautiful Planet 3D says only we can do that.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
How does the composition of a star affect the temperature? In 1925 a young woman solved this puzzle in her doctoral thesis. Her analysis was a great breakthroughs in astrophysics. Otto Struve described it as “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”

Ptolemy and the Butterfly – M7 and M6
The objects in the Messier catalog that are the farthest south are two star clusters. M6 is also called the Butterfly Cluster and M7 is also known Ptolemy's Cluster. They're splendid objects seen in their glory in the southern skies, but if you live in the far north you can't see them at all.

Chamaeleon – the Southern Stellar Lizard
Chamaeleons lived in lands exotic to 16th-century Europeans. Yet although color-changing lizards are fascinating, Chamaeleon the constellation is a small, dim southern sky constellation with no associated mythology. Why does it even exist? Is there anything of interest there?

Lawrence Hall of Science - Astronomy
Follow a steep road into California's Berkeley hills to find the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS). It's the public science center of the University of California Berkeley, and delights visitors of all ages with the wonders of science. A bonus is a spectacular panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay.

Moons of Mars - Phobos
Mars has two tiny shapeless moons. The larger moon Phobos zooms around Mars so quickly, that it seems to rise in the west and set in the east twice a day. And it hasn't had easy time of it. Long ago it was nearly shattered by a giant impact. It's now being pulled towards Mars and its destruction.

Incoming! – Planetarium Show
What devastated the dinosaurs, excavated a great hole in the ground, and broke windows in Russia? What produced the life we know on Earth, but could also destroy it? The answer: impacts from space. It's the subject of the planetarium presentation "Incoming!".

Moons of Mars - Deimos
By the late 19th century we knew Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune had moons. But it seemed that there were no Martian moons. Then in 1877 American astronomer Asaph Hall surprised the world with two Martian moons. Why did it take so long to find them? And why did Hall call them Fear and Terror?

Tarantula Nebula – Facts for Kids
Arachnophobes needn't worry about this tarantula. It's not a big spider, it's a big nebula that looks a bit like a spider in some photos. It's also so far away that its light takes 170,000 years to get here. Stars are born there, stars die there, and it's a spectacular object.

Spring Triangle – a Seasonal Asterism
There are 88 official constellations covering the sky with no gaps or overlaps. There are also lots of asterisms, recognizable patterns of stars that aren't constellations. They have no official standing, but they have the advantage over many constellations of resembling what they represent.

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