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Columbus and the Flat Earth Myth
Doesn't everyone know that in the 15th century people thought the Earth was flat? And that brave Christopher Columbus sailed westward from Spain to get to Asia to show that the Earth was round? Once I'd have answered “Yes” to both of these questions, but it turns out that they are myths.
Constellations – Facts for Kids
Some of our constellations go back thousands of years. Others were invented when Europeans began to explore the distant seas of the southern hemisphere. But what's the difference between a constellation, an asterism and a star cluster? And what does the constellation Pyxis represent?
Scorpius the Scorpion
Anyone wary of spiders may want to avoid the spider's cousin Scorpius. Most constellations don't look like their namesakes. But Scorpius is easily imagined as a giant scorpion with a blood red heart gleaming in the southern sky. It's been an astronomical scorpion for over 3000 years.
Blood Moons and Lunar Tetrads
A tetrad of Blood Moons sounds very dramatic. It could even be the title of a fantasy novel. But what is a “Blood Moon”? What is a lunar tetrad? And is it as apocalyptic as it sounds? Have a look.
Meteors and Meteorites – Facts for Kids
What's the difference between meteors and meteorites? And what is a meteoroid? Are they different from shooting stars, falling stars and fireballs?
Saint Patrick's Day – Wearing the Cosmic Green
Saint Patrick's Day is associated with the shamrock and the color green. Although there don't seem to be any cosmic shamrocks, there are many green phenomena in the skies. Discover a beautiful green nebula, what excites electrons, and why con men sold “comet pills”.
ABC of Astronomy – B Is for Bok Globule
B is for Bok globule, a kind of dark nebula studied by Bart Bok. B is for Bayer who invented a handy system of star designations beginning with a Greek letter. And B is for Baily's beads. You won't find them in a jewelry shop, but you might see them in a solar eclipse, as Francis Baily did.
Triton Facts for Kids
Neptune's big moon Triton was nameless for over a hundred years after its discovery. And it was so far away that astronomers knew almost nothing about it. Then Voyager 2 visited and saw active ice volcanoes on a moon that is probably a cousin to Pluto.
Sagittarius the Archer
In northern hemisphere summer, the ancient zodiac constellation Sagittarius stands low on the southern horizon. It's a special constellation, for when you see Sagittarius, you're looking into the heart of the Milky Way.
ABC of Astronomy – A Is for Astronomy
In the ABC of astronomy, astronomy itself is the first and most important item. What is astronomy and how does it differ from astrology? What are the main specialist areas in astronomy and how do they contribute to the overall picture?
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