Astronomy

Mona Evans

The Solar System was made from the leftovers of the formation of the Sun. How much do you know about the star that makes life on Earth possible? Try the quiz.

Mona Evans

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?

Mona Evans

Mercury is close enough to the Sun for lead to melt during the day. Yet there is ice at the poles. Before we had space probes, Mercury was a mystery hidden in the Sun's glare, but all that's changed.

Mona Evans

How does the composition of a star affect the temperature? In 1925 a young woman solved this puzzle in her doctoral thesis. Her analysis was a great breakthrough in astrophysics. Otto Struve described it as “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”

Mona Evans

The Herschel Space Observatory is the largest telescope ever sent into space. It was an infrared telescope named in honor of William Herschel who discovered infrared radiation, and his sister Caroline who worked with him. What's infrared? Who launched the telescope? What did we learn from it?

Mona Evans

Through the vision and dedication of Edward Pickering, Harvard College had one of the world's top observatories. Pickering had a secret weapon: a team of women computers. One of them was Mina Fleming who began her employment as a housekeeper and ended it as an astronomer of international repute.

Mona Evans

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.

Mona Evans

Astronomy Day has been an annual celebration of astronomy for over forty years of "bringing astronomy to the people." See if you can find an event near you. If not, why not create your own event by skywatching with a friend - our Absolute Beginners guides can help you out.