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10 Amazing Facts about Mercury
Mercury was a mystery planet for a long time. It's so close to the Sun it's only visible around sunrise and sunset, and the Sun's glare wipes out surface detail. Space probes have now studied Mercury, and it turned out to be full of surprises.
10 Amazing Facts about the Solar System
Our Solar System is pretty amazing. There's a planet that orbits lying down and a surprising number with rings. The Sun is losing mass at the rate of 300 million tons a minute, but it's nothing to worry about. And how did bits of Vesta end up on Earth?
A Quick Guide to the Astronomy Site
What are other people reading? Where can I find an astronomy word search? I'd like some help to start observing. What is a meteor shower? Here is a guide to help you find what you want and get the best out of the BellaOnline Astronomy site.
ABC of Astronomy - F Is for Fusion
The Sun is more than just a ball of burning gas. It's also a giant nuclear reactor. Find out about the fusion that supplies the energy to support life on Earth, and the solar flares that can disrupt it. Intense magnetic fields create sunspots and faculae, and suspend filaments a million miles long.
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?
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.
ABC of Astronomy – C Is for Cosmic Rays
Hundreds of cosmic rays zip through your body every minute. They're a danger to astronauts, and may damage the electronics of satellites and spacecraft. Some aren't cosmic, none are rays, and a few seem to be impossible. What are they and where do they come from?
ABC of Astronomy – D Is for Double Star
We're used to having just one Sun, so the planet Tatooine in George Lucas's Star Wars seems exotic with its double sun. Yet at least half the stars we can see in the sky are doubles. But a "double star" can be a true binary or just an optical double, which is a chance alignment of unrelated stars.
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?
ABC of Astronomy – G is for Gravitational Lens
We have optical lenses in telescopes, cameras and eyes. They're made of transparent material, and they focus light. However astronomers now make use of gravitational lenses to detect distant galaxies, dark matter and extrasolar planets. What's a gravitational lens made of, and how does it work?
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