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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Nebulae
Nebulae are titanic clouds of gas and dust - celestial gossamer in the spaces between the stars. They're stellar nurseries, stellar graveyards and dark constellations. Some of their mysteries have been penetrated by infrared telescopes, but the cloaking dust still keeps some secrets.

Nebulae - Ten Facts for Kids
Nebulae are great clouds of gas and dust in the spaces between the stars. Some of them are made from dying stars. Others are the nurseries for new stars. Here are ten facts about these surprising objects.

Neptune Facts for Kids
Far beyond Uranus is another blue planet, one named for the Greek sea god. It could well have been named for a god of winds as it's the windiest place in the Solar System. Find out more about Neptune, the planet that was discovered using math.

Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille
Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille (1713-1762) was one of astronomy's greats. He surveyed nearly 10,000 stars in the southern hemisphere and invented fourteen new constellations still in use today. He was always thoughtful in dealing with others, but he really preferred the stars to people.

Night Sky Olympic Tribute
Planet Earth presents a grand international sporting spectacular every four years, the Olympic Games. Even if you're not fond of sports, it's a majestic pageant and a set of unfolding dramas that a scriptwriter couldn't hope to emulate. Here is my astronomical tribute to this magnificent saga.

Northern Lights Planetarium
Troms, far to the north of Norway, attracts summer visitors to see the midnight sun and winter visitors to see the aurora borealis. The Northern Lights Planetarium is the northermost planetarium in the world. It's worth a visit at anytime, but extra welcome if it's too cloudy to see the sky.

Obsolete Constellations
What happens to constellations when you don't want them anymore? Nothing, physically. They aren't real groups of stars like star clusters are. They're the products of human imagination, and they come and go. Here are half a dozen of my favorite obsolete constellations.

Once in a Blue Moon
"Once in a blue moon" is a common English expression and it refers to a rare event. But why a blue Moon? And what is a blue Moon if it isn't blue? There is no unique answer, but here are a few things it could be.

Oort Cloud - Facts for Kids
Where do comets come from? The Oort Cloud is home to a trillion comets at the edge of the Solar System, nearly half way to the next star. Sometimes they get kicked out and sometimes they come to visit the inner Solar System.

Orion the Hunter
The stars of Orion have been part of humanity's mythscape for thousands of years. Seven bright stars outline the hunter's body. One of them is a supergiant nearing the end of its life. Yet just visible to the unaided eye is a vast stellar nursery where the next generation of stars is forming.

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