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An observatory that a king built to watch the 1769 transit of Venus. The place where official time for London used to be set. Where a murderer was sometimes in attendance when the King walked in the gardens. Find out more about the history of Kew Observatory.
Pluto was once the last outpost of the Solar System. Now we realize that it's the gateway to the Kuiper Belt, a disk made up of rubble left over from the formation of the Solar System. The Kuiper Belt is big and it's cold and the Sun would just look like a bright star from there.
Kuiper Belt - Facts for Kids
Pluto's not the last planet, it's the first Kuiper Belt Object. The Kuiper Belt is made up of millions of icy bits left over from the beginning of the Solar System. It starts at 30 AU - that's 30 times farther from the Sun than the Earth. From there it stretches for another 2 billion miles!
Lacaille's Skies - Sciences
There's a curious set of constellations in the southern skies. They don't represent exotic animals, heroic deeds or the foibles of ancient deities. They're composed of dim and nameless stars. Find out why Abbe Lacaille invented them, and take a quick tour.
Lacaille's skies – Arts
Much of the southern sky wasn't visible to the ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Instead of representing the ancient myths, the constellations were invented long afterwards by European explorers and astronomers. Some of Abbe Lacaille's inventions are tributes to the arts.
Le Gentil - Heroic Failure
Here's the story of Guillaume Le Gentil who went to India to observe the transit of Venus in 1761 and took eleven years to get home again. War and weather conspired to prevent his making observations and illness further delayed his return. Was he the unluckiest astronomer ever?
Leo the Lion
Leo is a Zodiac constellation and its stars have represented a lion for over four thousand years. Leo contains one of the brightest stars in the sky and one of the dimmest, as well as a selection of spiral galaxies loved by amateur astronomers. And what was Regulus's dark secret?
Lick Observatory - 10 Fascinating Facts
Lick Observatory lies high on a mountaintop overlooking Silicon Valley. Known for major contributions to astronomy, it also has some unusual features. Its benefactor James Lick is buried under one of the main telescopes and its original seismogram of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is on display.
Life and Death of the Sun
In the distant future the Sun will be many times its present size and thousands of times brighter. It will seed the Galaxy with elements like carbon and oxygen–perhaps for life on a world yet unborn. Then it will collapse into a tiny dead sphere. For a time, a beautiful nebula will mark its place.
Light pollution isn't just a problem for astronomers. It means the loss of an amenity for all of us now and the generations that follow. It affects the natural world, can ruin our health, wastes resources, and what's more, we're paying for it!
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