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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?
Rhea - Saturn's Moon Facts for Kids
Even being Saturn's second biggest moon doesn't make Rhea very big. You could fit three Rheas across the USA and still have room left over. It whizzes around Saturn in four and a half days, making for very short months. It's so cold there that ice is literally as hard as rock.
What happens to constellations when you don't want them anymore? Nothing, physically. They aren't real groups of stars like star clusters are. They're the products of human imagination, and they come and go. Here are half a dozen of my favorite obsolete constellations.
Beagle 2 – Lost and Found
On Christmas day 2003 a British-European space probe called Beagle 2 was lost on Mars and never heard from. It was not only small, but possibly broken and scattered while attempting to land. Since Mars is quite big, it took eleven years to find the little lander, and there were some surprises.
Taurus the Bull
In Greek myth Taurus is Zeus's guise for the seduction of Europa. Yet the bull's red eye still glares at Orion in an enmity created long before the rise of ancient Greece. Today's Taurus is a constellation memorable for its two beautiful star clusters and one of the sky's most amazing objects.
Syzygy - When Heavenly Bodies Align
Syzygy may look like the letters on a dreadful Scrabble rack, but it just means three heavenly bodies lined up. When this happens, there are eclipses, transits, conjunctions, oppositions and occultations.
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