This ice giant is twenty times farther from the Sun than we are. It circles the Sun lying on its side, so each half the planet is dark for over twenty years at a time. It's the planet Uranus, discovered in 1781 by William Herschel who named it George.
It's not surprising to find plenty of deep-sky objects in such a big constellation as Hydra. Its varied objects include the Ghost of Jupiter, beautiful globules that are over twice the age of the Sun, and a dramatic grand design spiral galaxy known for its titanic explosions.
William Herschel discovered the planet which was named Uranus after the ancient Greek sky god. Although Uranus has at least 27 moons, most of them weren't discovered until at least the twentieth century.
Lick Observatory lies on a mountaintop overlooking Silicon Valley. Known for major contributions to astronomy, it also has some unique features. Its benefactor James Lick is buried under one of the main telescopes, and it displays original seismogram taken during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Rosetta, the European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft, traveled for ten years and billions of miles in order to rendezvous with a comet, accompany it as it moved through the inner Solar System past the Sun, and deploy a lander.
Many foods are associated with a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. But what do you suppose would be on the menu for Thanksgiving in space? Would you have to squeeze turkey paste out of a tube and get gelatin-covered dessert cubes? No. Food has improved since the early days of space flight.
Someone must have left the door open, because the skies are full of dogs. You can see the dogs of Orion and the hunting dogs of the shepherd Bootes in pursuit of the Great Bear. There is also the Running Dog Nebula, and the memory of poor Laika, the first cosmonaut, who perished in space.
Halley didn't discover a comet, but he did research and published papers in astronomy and many other fields. Russian Czar Peter the Great liked him as a dining and drinking companion and King William III put this civilian in charge of a Royal Navy ship. But how did he get a comet named for him?
Stories of gods and mortals, love and betrayal, monsters and heroes. They all adorn the night sky in the form of constellations. These star groups have also served as calendars, navigation aids and internationally defined areas of the celestial sphere.