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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Quaoar – What Is It
Beyond Neptune lies the Kuiper Belt where tens of thousands of icy bodies are scattered over billions of miles of space. Quaoar, named for the Tongva creation god, is one of them. It seems to fit the criteria for a dwarf planet, but it's still not on the official list.

What Happened to the Prime Meridian
The Prime Meridian of the World is “where time begins” at zero degrees of longitude. By international agreement in 1884, it was located at Greenwich, England. But if you stand on that meridian and look at the GPS on your phone, it won't read zero. What happened?

Robert Hooke - England's Leonardo
In the 17th century Robert Hooke produced a revolutionary bestseller, helped rebuild London after the Great Fire, and was a renowned experimenter, inventor, musician and artist. Hooke contributed to astronomy, geology, structural engineering and chemistry. He was 'England's Leonardo'.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015. The judges' job: from over 2700 entries, get a shortlist of 138, choose 32 winners in 11 categories, and finally, an overall winner. Surprise! All the judges agreed wholeheartedly on the overall winner, and when you see it, I think you'll see why.

Hyperion – Saturn's Weird Wobbly Moon
Saturn has lots of moons – more than five dozen of them with confirmed orbits. They are remarkable in many ways, but perhaps the strangest one is the misshapen and unpredictable Hyperion.

White Dwarfs
White dwarfs are the corpses of medium-sized stars that have run out of fuel. They typically have the mass of the Sun, while being around the size of the Earth. It's no wonder that early twentieth century astronomers were dumbfounded by them.

ABC of Astronomy – E Is for Ecliptic
Star maps show you where the ecliptic is. That's because it's where you find the planets and the zodiac constellations. But what is the ecliptic plane on which the planets orbit? What shape are their orbits, and what do we mean by an eccentric orbit?

Mars Myths – Would You Believe Them
Which famous astronomer kept seeing canals on Mars, even when they couldn't be seen with the world's biggest telescope? What was the tragic outcome of a fictional invasion from Mars? Is NASA hiding evidence of an ancient Martian civilization? Does Mars ever look as big as a full Moon?

How the Sun Will Die - Facts for Kids
The Sun was born in a nebula five billion years ago. It's going to keep going for another few billion years, but it won't last forever. Here's the story of what happens to a sunlike star when it runs out of fuel. And some of it is very strange.

Mizar and Alcor – Horse and Rider
The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major. It's probably the best known item in the night sky after the Moon. More people could pick out its seven stars than could locate the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades. But are there only seven stars in the Big Dipper? What about the Horse and Rider?

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