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BellaOnline's Astronomy Editor

 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Cats in the Sky
There are three constellations named for dogs, but what about cats in the sky? There is astrocat Felicette who went into space and returned safely to Earth, but also constellations of big cats and a pawprint 50 light years across.

Edmond Halley
Halley didn't discover a comet, but he did research and published papers in astronomy and many other fields. Russian Czar Peter the Great liked him as a dining and drinking companion and King William III put this civilian in charge of a Royal Navy ship. But how did he get a comet named for him?

What's in a Name
Things aren't always what they seem. Many discoveries aren't named for - or by - their discoverers. Halley didn't discover Comet Halley. Kuiper said the Kuiper Belt didn't exist. The Herschels called Uranus "the Georgian planet" after George III of England, but no one else did.

Good-bye Spirit
Millions of people followed the treks of the Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity as they explored the red planet. In 2009 Spirit became trapped and was last heard from in March 2010. After a year being unable to contact her, on May 24, 2011, with sadness, NASA formally ended her mission.

Stellar Misunderstandings
If stars aren't white, why isn't the night sky more colorful? If it's 93 million miles to the Sun, how many times farther away is the next nearest star? Will the Sun become a black hole and suck us in? Here's a short explanation of some common misconceptions about the stars.

Ceres Facts for Kids
Bode's Law predicted a planet between Mars and Jupiter. The Sky Police were looking for it, but Giuseppe Piazzi found it on New Year's Day 1801. Then someone found another one. And another one. We know of hundreds of thousands of asteroids now. Discover Ceres - planet, asteroid and dwarf planet.

Hubble 3D - film review
For over two decades a special telescope has given us breath-taking views of the cosmos. The Hubble Space Telescope has lasted this long through servicing by space shuttle astronauts, but the final mission is over. This IMAX film is a tribute to the iconic instrument - is there a theater near you?

Copernicus - His Life
The day job of Nicolaus Copernicus, the reluctant revolutionary, was canon of a cathedral. The last resting place of this man who turned astronomy on its head was unmarked. How did his student astronomy books help to identify his remains four and a half centuries later?

Gravity - Cosmic Glue
Aristotle's perfect cosmos didn't need gravity to hold it together. However a system with planets orbiting the Sun called for an explanation. In the process, Newton was inspired by a falling apple, but Galileo's experiments with falling bodies didn't involve dropping them off the Tower of Pisa.

It's Alive! - book review
The Universe Verse is back. Book 1 was the Big Bang Theory in verse and drawings. Now stars and planets have formed, but something new is happening: Life. Book 2 is about evolution by natural selection. In its cheerful verse and lovely color drawings, it's also a love poem to our beautiful Earth.

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