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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.
Exotic Exoplanets Tour
We're used to a tidy Solar System. But there are some pretty strange planets orbiting stars far, far away. On one it doesn't rain water, it rains rock. Another has the density of cork. One has a double sun. And what would you do with a diamond the size of a planet?
Experience the Aurora - film review
Try to imagine seeing the northern lights dancing across the sky above you. A film on a flat screen couldn't duplicate this. But what about one made to be projected on the dome of a digital theater? This was the aim of "Experience the Aurora."
Exploring Stars and Planets - book review
Looking for an astronomy book for readers 8-14? Philip's has a brand new edition of Ian Ridpath's best seller. Clearly written and illustrated with up-to-date images, it's the story of the Solar System. But there are also glimpses into galaxies, exploding stars and the history of the Universe.
Exploring the Apollo Landing Sites
NASA sent the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to the Moon to spy out sites for future manned missions. It doesn't look like they'll be sending anybody to the Moon, but LRO has documented the Apollo landing sites. Astronomy writer and space expert Ian Ridpath takes us to the Moon for a look.
Father Hell - Astronomer
The Moon's Hell crater sounds like the last place a space tourist would ever want to visit. But it's named for 18th century astronomer Father Maximilian Hell, director of the Vienna Observatory. He observed the 1769 Venus transit from Norway's far north, surviving the cold by adopting Sami dress.
First Orbit - film review
On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin saw what no human had ever seen before: the Earth from space. Now "First Orbit" allows you to imagine that you are making the historic voyage. Film shot from the International Space Station creates the views, but you'll also have Philip Sheppard's music.
Firsts in Space – Quiz
We walked on the Moon. Rovers explore Mars. The International Space Station has been continuously inhabited since 2000. We're in contact with the world and the cosmos via satellite. We take it for granted, but there had to be a first time for everything. How many of these space firsts do you know?
Five Astronomical Non-events 2016
The astronomical delights of 2016 are wonderful discoveries and beautiful heavenly events. Not so delightful are the flaky stories and shaky science and “intelligent aliens” as the answer to any mystery. Here's my selection of five such non-events from 2016.
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.
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