astronomy Feature Archive of Articles

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Lammas to the September Equinox – Quiz
Lammas is a Christian harvest festival celebrated on 1 August, but its origins are pagan. In the Gaelic tradition, it was Lughnasa. Lying midway between the June solstice and the September equinox, it was one of the four 'cross quarter' days of the Gaelic year.

Discoverers – Planets and Moons
The Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are visible to the naked eye. People have seen them for thousands of years. Other Solar System bodies were discoveries, but who discovered them?

Hot Jupiters
The first exoplanets discovered were orbiting a rapidly rotating neutron star formed in a supernova explosion. The first planet orbiting a sunlike planet was just as much a surprise. What was a giant planet doing so close to its star? It was a "hot Jupiter" and there have been many more since.

March Equinox to June Solstice – Quiz
The days between the first day of spring and the start of summer are marked by astronomical events, discoveries, and birthdays. Here's a little quiz for you that picks out some of the highlights of this period.

Triton – Neptune's Captured Moon
The Solar System's large moons tend towards the weird and wonderful, and Triton is no exception. It has ice volcanoes, a strange “cantaloupe terrain”, and crazy seasons. It's the only large moon to orbit in the wrong direction, so it didn't form near Neptune. But where did it come from?

Betelgeuse - Orion's Red Supergiant
Betelgeuse is the star that represents the right shoulder of Orion the hunter. It's also one apex of the Winter Triangle, and it marks the center of the Winter Hexagon. Being bright red-orange and part of the hunter's commanding presence, it's not hard to find in the winter sky.

AstroFest 2021 – An Evening with the Stars
European AstroFest in 2021 is Worldwide AstroFest. The venue isn't Kensington, London, but rather the World Wide Web. In “An Evening with the Stars” we learned about the hunt for the Universe's first stars, what the stars have meant to humanity, and what was up with Betelgeuse.

How Many Stars in the Dipper ?
The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major. It's probably the best known star group in the sky. And it has seven stars. Or does it? Let's take a closer look at at the star Mizar in the middle of the handle.

Worldwide AstroFest 2021 - Destination Mars
AstroFest had been convened in London annually since 1992, but in its 30th year a global pandemic was raging. Undaunted, the Astronomy Now folk took European AstroFest into cyberspace as Worldwide AstroFest. Several events were planned, the first on February 18th for “Destination Mars”.

Naming Pluto and Its Moons
Dwarf planet and Kuiper Belt object Pluto has five moons. How did it and its moons get their names?

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