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Royal Observatory Cape of Good Hope
Why did the British government in 1820 want to build an astronomical observatory eight thousand miles from home? Which astronomers are buried on the premises and which one went home after a year in the "dismal swamp"? Here are some of the stories of the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope.
*Most nearly Earth-sized planets so far*
Kepler keeps coming closer and closer to finding something like home. It's in orbit and scanning an area of sky to record planets transiting their stars. The latest one of interest is the star Kepler-62, which is slightly smaller and cooler than the Sun. It has at least five planets, two of them in its habitable zone. These two are somewhat larger than Earth, but certainly similar in size to our own planet.
Find out more about searching for extrasolar planets here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art66984.asp
*The southern skies*
I've just made my first visit to the southern hemisphere and have been enchanted (and a bit confused) by the southern stars. Babak Tafreshi took this picture of Iguaçu Falls and the sky above it - somewhat more dramatic than my views! This is a labelled view: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1005/IguacuNight-Labeled-tafreshi_900.jpg If you already know the southern skies, here is the original page, which you can view with or without labels: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100514.html
For a variety of astronomy images, follow me on Pinterest at: http://pinterest.com/astrobella/
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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