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BellaOnline's Astronomy Editor

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Potpourri

A collection of articles with an astronomical theme that donīt fit in another category.

A Quick Guide to the Astronomy Site star
What are other people reading? Where can I find an astronomy word search? I'd like some help to start observing. What is a meteor shower? Here is a guide to help you find what you want and get the best out of the BellaOnline Astronomy site.

Astronomy Fun on Bellaonline star
Need a break from what you're doing? Want to test your astronomy vocabulary and knowledge? Find out about astronomy games, quizzes and jigsaws on BellaOnline.

Astronomy Humor star
Here’s a collection of astronomy jokes for kids, adults and geeks of all ages. Laughter helps to keep us young and healthy, so see if anything tickles your fancy. (And how *does* the Man in the Moon cut his hair?)

Cats in the Sky star
There are three constellations named for dogs, but what about cats in the sky? There is astrocat Felicette who went into space and returned safely to Earth, but also constellations of big cats and a pawprint 50 light years across.

Cosmic Collisions star
We no longer see the heavens as perfect and the stars as eternal and unchanging. Even the Universe had a beginning, and everything that we observe changes and evolves. Many of these changes involve cosmic collisions.

Creepy Crawlies in Space star
What was the first Earth creature to go into space? Not a dog, but a fruit fly. Insects and arachnids have been mini-astronauts for over sixty years. They have also inspired the naming of heavenly objects.

Distances in Space star
You wouldnīt want to know the distance from Boston to San Francisco in inches. And for the same reason, miles arenīt very useful in space. After all, itīs 26 trillion miles to the next nearest star. So how do astronomers deal with these enormous distances?

Gravity - Cosmic Glue star
Aristotle's perfect cosmos didn't need gravity to hold it together. However a system with planets orbiting the Sun called for an explanation. In the process, Newton was inspired by a falling apple, but Galileo's experiments with falling bodies didn't involve dropping them off the Tower of Pisa.

How to Tell a Planet from a UFO star
Two English policemen chased a UFO through the Devon countryside. It was the planet Venus. A news reporter had quite a scoop when she found a UFO hovering over New York City. It was the planet Jupiter. Why are planets and stars often mistaken for spacecraft or aircraft?

Light Pollution star
Light pollution isn't just a problem for astronomers. It means the loss of an amenity for all of us now and the generations that follow. It affects the natural world, can ruin our health, wastes resources, and what's more, we're paying for it!

Merlinīs Tour of the Universe - book review star
Does the Earth really wobble on its axis? How does the Sun make its heat? What would happen if I fell into a black hole? If you want to know the answers to these and many other questions, this book is a good collection of the things that people have asked "Merlin."

Moon Madness star
How much do people know about our next-door neighbor the Moon? For example, does the full moon drive people crazy? Apparently not - unless maybe they're astronomers trying to observe faint nebulae. Here are ten common moon myths and lunar lapses.

NASA Helped Rescue Chilean Miners star
In the Chilean winter of 2010 thirty-three miners were trapped half a mile below the surface. They were in a hostile environment, a confined space, reliant on supplies from outside - similar to the problems of a space mission. Find out how NASA's decades of experience helped the Chilean rescuers.

Night Sky Olympic Tribute star
Planet Earth presents a grand international sporting spectacular every four years, the Olympic Games. Even if you're not fond of sports, it's a majestic pageant and a set of unfolding dramas that a scriptwriter couldn't hope to emulate. Here is my astronomical tribute to this magnificent saga.

Seasonal Stories star
These articles contain a wide selection of astronomical information, but each is based around a seasonal or topical theme.

Tales of the Northern Lights star
The aurora is an ethereal, shifting light in the northern sky and is associated with many tales and beliefs. It can look like the dawn, so Galileo named it after Aurora goddess of the dawn. It has reminded others of dragons, spirits, dancers, shield maidens, herrings or the legendary fire fox.

The Blufferīs Guide to the Cosmos - book review star
Here is an entertaining overview of astronomy small enough to put in your pocket. Not only the Big Bang, black holes, exploding stars, visiting Mars and all the rest of the cosmos, but plenty of laughs along the way. I enjoyed it - you must know someone who would too.

Top Astronomy Stories 2012 star
What were the big astronomy stories of the year 2012? Here is my choice of the top ten plus a non-story. What do you think?

Top Ten Astronomy Stories of 2013 star
What were the big astronomy events of 2013? Here are my top ten choices and they include a big bang over Russia, a Moon goddess and Jade Rabbit, a telescope in the high Andean desert to look for the first galaxies, and the launch one of the most ambitious space missions ever.

What's in a Name star
Things aren't always what they seem. Many discoveries aren't named for - or by - their discoverers. Halley didn't discover Comet Halley. Kuiper said the Kuiper Belt didn't exist. The Herschels called Uranus "the Georgian planet" after George III of England, but no one else did.

Who Let the Dogs out? star
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.

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