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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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How the Sun Was Born Facts for Kids
The Sun didn't exist five billion years ago. But the material to make it did. There was even enough to make a number of stars and still have material left over for planets, moons and other small bodies. What was this material, and how did it end up as stars and planets?

Do Red Dwarfs Live Forever
Looking up at a clear, dark sky, you can see thousands of stars. Yet without binoculars or a telescope, the most common type of star is invisible. These are the small, cool red dwarfs that fill the sky and live practically forever.

Lacaille's skies Arts
Much of the southern sky wasn't visible to the ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Instead of representing the ancient myths, the constellations were invented long afterwards by European explorers and astronomers. Some of Abbe Lacaille's inventions are tributes to the arts.

Einstein's Eclipse
While World War I was tearing Europe apart in 1915, a German physicist presented a theory that would shake up the way we see the Universe. The physicist was Albert Einstein, his face still unknown to the world, his name not yet a synonym for genius. How did a solar eclipse in 1919 change all that?

John Herschel Facts for Kids
It can be hard to be the son of a famous man. Although his father was the first person in history to discover a planet, John Herschel had his own illustrious career. He was not only an astronomer, but also a brilliant mathematician, a talented artist, musician and poet, and a loving family man.

Aries the Golden Ram
Aries was the winged ram from which the Golden Fleece came. Two thousand years ago his constellation marked the spring equinox when the Sun crossed the celestial equator near Beta and Gamma Arietis. The equinox is now in Pisces, but what strange object was discovered in 2007 in Aries?

Maria Mitchell - in Her Own Words
In her own words, America's first woman professor of astronomy tells of her meetings with the great and good of the nineteenth century. Maria Mitchell's (1818-1889) sister Phebe collected excerpts from journals and letters to present a pot pourri of Maria's life, ideas and work.

Saturn's Moons Facts for Kids
Everybody recognizes Saturn's rings, but that isn't all that orbits the planet. There are shepherd moons, a moon with cold volcanoes erupting, a planet-sized moon, and more. It took nearly two hundred years for the first seven known moons to get names.

Celestial Sleuth book review
A "celestial sleuth" solves puzzles in art, history and literature using astronomy. Why did Munch have a blood-red sky in "The Scream"? How did British sentries miss Paul Revere rowing across Boston Harbour under a full Moon? Which meteor shower did the characters in James Joyce's "Ulysses" see?

Phantom Planets and Moons
Moons of Venus and Mercury? An unknown planet nearer the Sun than Mercury? Astronomers can misinterpret what they see, too. Happily, other observers, better instruments and new theoretical understandings can put it right. Here are some phantom objects that many astronomers once thought existed.

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