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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Edward Charles Pickering
Edward Pickering was a leading light of 19th century astronomy who made the Harvard College Observatory into an institution with an international reputation. He was honored for his work by scientific societies in several countries, but his name is now known from his employing “Pickering's harem”.

Einstein's Eclipse
While World War I was tearing Europe apart in 1915, a German physicist presented a theory that would shake up the way we see the Universe. The physicist was Albert Einstein, his face still unknown to the world, his name not yet a synonym for genius. How did a solar eclipse in 1919 change all that?

Empire of the Stars - book review
A fateful meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in London adversely affected the lives of two scientists and hindered progress in the study of black holes for a half a century. So says the author of Empire of the Stars. Liked the book, but wasn't convinced.

Enceladus – 10 Amazing Facts
Saturn's moon Enceladus is a strange one. There are eruptions of cold volcanoes. This adds “snow” to a surface so bright it reflects 99% of the Sun's light, and supplies particles to maintain one of Saturn's rings. And does the moon harbor life in the salty ocean that lies under the ice?

Epsilon Eridani - A Norse God in the River
Eridanus is the great river that flows through the southern sky. One its stars, Epsilon Eridani, is of special interest to us because of its nearness and because the sunlike star has a planetary system. Benefiting from a new IAU naming policy, the star and its planet are now also Ran and AEgir.

Eris - Dwarf Planet
In a tilted orbit in the scattered disk, it shook up the traditional Solar System. Was it bigger than Pluto, and therefore a planet? No, both of them ended up as dwarf planets. Eris – named for the Greek goddess of discord – was an apt name for an object whose discovery started so many arguments.

Eris – Facts for Kids
At first astronomers thought Eris was bigger than Pluto and that it was a tenth planet. But both Eris and Pluto ended up as dwarf planets. Eris is now farther away from the Sun than any known object except for some comets. It's so cold that its atmosphere has frozen and is on the ground.

Eris and Pluto - They're Not Twins
For nearly ninety years Pluto was our ninth planet. Then in 2006, much to the annoyance of some, it was no longer a planet, but a dwarf planet. What happened? Eris happened. Some call Eris and Pluto twin planets, but they aren't twins. Eris has a secret.

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.

Exotic Creatures of the Southern Sky
Constellations telling the ancient tales of gods and heroes are still in use by astronomers. But there are only 48 classical constellations, and the skies around the south celestial pole can't be seen from the Mediterranean, so those constellations are more modern. Here are some of them.

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