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Cosmonauts - Birth of the Space Age
The starter's pistol for the space race was fired on October 4, 1957. It was in the form of a small highly-polished sphere that orbited the Earth every 98 minutes. This was the Soviet Union's Sputnik, Earth's first artificial satellite. It shook up the United States, and there was more to come.
Camelopardalis the Giraffe
What do you know about the celestial giraffe Camelopardalis? Probably not much. It has no bright stars. Since it was invented long after the ancient Greeks, it has no folklore. But it has a runaway star, a supernova discovered by a child, and a galaxy from when the Universe was just a toddler.
Gravitational Waves – What Are They?
In February 2016 news of gravitational waves went round the world. But what are these waves sometimes described as ripples in spacetime? To find out let's go back over a century to a time when Albert Einstein was completing the work that would change our view of the Universe.
European Astrofest 2016
It's great to have access to “the Universe under one roof”. When European Astrofest comes to the Kensington Conference Centre in London, it saves many light years of travel. Here are some highlights of the 2016 event.
February second is Groundhog Day, a day that's a mystery to people outside North America. Even in the USA and Canada, it's more a bit of fun than a holiday. Yet however superficial it is now, it's the offshoot of traditions that began in Europe thousands of years ago.
Astronomy Tributes to David Bowie
If astronomers talk about the death of stars, it's probably not pop stars they mean. Unless the pop star created Ziggy Stardust, Major Tom and Aladdin Sane, and sang “Life on Mars”, “Starman” and “Hallo Spaceboy”. Here are some of the astronomy tributes to David Bowie.
Through the vision and dedication of Edward Pickering, Harvard College had one of the world's top observatories. Pickering had a secret weapon: a team of women computers. One of them was Mina Fleming who began her employment as a housekeeper and ended it as an astronomer of international repute.
Four Big Astronomy Non-events of 2015
In 2015 we learned a lot about the Solar System and beyond. And the splendid sky events included a solar eclipse and two lunar eclipses. Yet, as ever, people on social media people who delight in disaster were declaring doom. Should we be apprehensive? Let's see.
Top Ten Astronomy Stories 2015
Some called 2015 "The Year of the Dwarf Planet" because space missions visited both Pluto and Ceres. Elsewhere Philae briefly awoke on a comet. Water was found on Mars, and so was Beagle 2. But how did astronomers predict a supernova, and what is the most distant known object in the Solar System?
Hydra the Water Snake – Deep Sky Objects
It's not surprising to find plenty of deep-sky objects in such a big constellation as Hydra. Its varied objects include the Ghost of Jupiter, beautiful globules that are over twice the age of the Sun, and a dramatic grand design spiral galaxy known for its titanic explosions.
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