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Cygnus the Swan
Seduction and supergiants, a beautiful blue and amber double star, vast explosions, a giant cloud that looks like North America. Where does myth end and astronomy begin? Here is a tour of some of the highlights of the constellation Cygnus the swan.
Why Planets Have Seasons
For people living outside the tropics, June 21st is the longest or shortest day of the year, a solstice. It marks the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. But why do we have seasons? And do other planets have them?
What Are Constellations
Stories of gods and mortals, love and betrayal, monsters and heroes. They all adorn the night sky in the form of constellations. These star groups have also served as calendars, navigation aids and internationally defined areas of the celestial sphere.
NASA's New Horizons is on its way to visit Pluto, but it has a long way to go yet. Meanwhile here's a profile of dwarf planet 134340 Pluto, largest object in the Kuiper Belt and former planet. It has a lot of titles - and moons - for something so small.
Uranus and Neptune - Twin Planets
Uranus and Neptune are ice giants and twin planets. They are very similar in many ways, but they aren't identical twins. For example, Uranus orbits lying down and Neptune is much warmer than it should be.
Searching for Extrasolar Planets
Only a few dozen planets orbiting stars outside the Solar System were directly imaged. But as of October 2013 astronomers had discovered over a thousand of them. How do they find what they can't see?
Annie Jump Cannon
Oh! Be a fine girl (guy)--kiss me! This is the traditional mnemonic for the way stars are classified: OBAFGKM. Find out about the astronomer and suffragette who devised the system and who said that astronomical spectroscopy made it "almost as if the distant stars had acquired speech."
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What Is Astrobiology
Do you wonder if there's life elsewhere in the universe? The universe is a big place, so it seems likely that there is. See how astrobiologists are helping to plan the search.
Pluto Is a Dwarf Planet
Some people are still upset that Pluto isn't considered a planet any more. But was it ever really a planet?
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