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Absolute Beginners - Seeing Mercury and Venus
We can see five planets with our unaided eyes. But people often ask how to find them and how to recognize them. Here is a beginner's guide for seeing Mercury and Venus.
Absolute Beginners - Spring Skies
Days lengthen, flowers blossom and it's starting to get warmer. Even if your spring weather is late, daffodil-colored star Arcturus says it's spring. Use the Big Dipper to find Arcturus, Polaris the pole star, the constellation of Leo the lion, and a number of galaxies and nebulae.
Absolute Beginners - Start Observing
You'd like to know the night sky better? But you haven't a got a telescope, live in a city, don't know any constellations or can't tell a star from a planet? Time to give up? Absolutely not. Time to read on and look up.
Absolute Beginners - Summer Skies
Warm summer nights are a great time to study the sky. Here is a guide to the main summer constellations. You can see all of these things without a telescope, so head outside and look up.
Absolute Beginners - Winter Skies
Many bright stars sparkle in the sky on crisp winter evenings. Brightest of all is Sirius the Dog Star, the face of one of the two dogs of Orion the hunter. The belt of Orion himself is an easily-identified feature and the constellation also has both a red supergiant star and a blue one.
Andromeda the Chained Princess
Andromeda stands in the northern sky eternally chained to her rock. She is one of six constellations that Ptolemy described in the second century, all part of one particular ancient Greek myth. In the constellation is a quadruple star, a blue snowball, exoplanets and spiral galaxies.
Annie Jump Cannon
Oh! Be a fine girl (guy)--kiss me! This is the traditional mnemonic for the way stars are classified: OBAFGKM. Find out about the astronomer and suffragette who devised the system and who said that astronomical spectroscopy made it "almost as if the distant stars had acquired speech."
Aries the Golden Ram
Aries was the winged ram from which the Golden Fleece came. Two thousand years ago his constellation marked the spring equinox when the Sun crossed the celestial equator near Beta and Gamma Arietis. The equinox is now in Pisces, but what strange object was discovered in 2007 in Aries?
Asteroid Facts for Kids
Observers used to call them vermin of the skies. Asteroids weren't interesting and their streaks ruined sky photos. But not any more! We know that they can tell us about the early Solar System, one of them may have meant the end of the dinosaurs, and there could be more heading our way.
Astrofest 2012: "The Universe under one roof." We saw aurorae and learned about solar storms, dark matter and the beginning of the Universe. There were telescopes galore and an unusual demonstration of spectroscopy.
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