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Absolute Beginners - Observing the Sun
Study the Sun, but treat it with respect! Protect your eyes and use equipment with care, and you can count sunspots and see solar eclipses and transits. Or from the the comfort of your living room your computer will let you see space telescope images of solar flares, prominences and maybe a comet.
Absolute Beginners - Seeing Mars and beyond
Three beautiful planets - Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - are all visible to the unaided eye. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you can also see some of the moons and other features. Here's a beginner's guide to the planets which lie beyond Earth.
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?
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