M1 Crab Nebula
Messier's catalog of nebulous objects begins with M1 the Crab Nebula. In 18th-century telescopes it was just a fuzzy patch, yet imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, it's fascinating and intricate. But what is it? Why is it called the Crab Nebula? And what amazing secret does it hide?
Easter Island and a distant dwarf planet – what do they have in common? The answer is Makemake – the creator god in the Rapa Nui mythology of Easter Island. How did his name come to be given to a small frozen body seven billion kilometers (four billion miles) from the Sun?
Enceladus Facts for Kids
Enceladus is a small moon of Saturn that seems to be frozen. It's the coldest moon in Saturn's system because its bright surface reflects almost all of the sunlight that hits it. But under the ice is a liquid ocean and scientists wonder if there might be life there.
Autumn begins on the equinox, the day the Sun crosses the equator. Equinoxes were celebrated by the earliest known civilizations, and are still in many places. One of the biggest celebrations is the Chinese Moon Festival. A traditional Chinese palace or garden has a moon-watching pavilion.
Absolute Beginners - Autumn Skies
As the long days of summer slip away and the skies darken earlier, the first stars of autumn appear. The centerpiece is the Great Square of Pegasus. It's the key to other autumn sights, including the most distant object you can see without a telescope - it's a billion billion miles away.
Why Planets Have Seasons
For people living outside the tropics, June 21st is the longest or shortest day of the year, a solstice. It marks the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. But why do we have seasons? And do other planets have them?
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