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New Year's Day to Candlemas – Quiz
Exploration, famous birthdays and ancient festivals in the time between January 1st and Candlemas at the start of February. Here's a little quiz for you that picks out some highlights in this period. How many do you recognize?
Canis Minor – the Lesser Dog
Canis Minor is one of Orion's hunting dogs. It trots along behind its master unperturbed by the unicorn (Monoceros), and leaving the hare (Lepus) to the greater dog (Canis Major) to chase. It's a small constellation with not much more to offer than one bright star, but it has a long history.
Five Astronomy Non-events of 2017
The year 2017 was favored with dire predictions of destructive giant impacts, and the 15 days of darkness “forecast by NASA” was back again. Unusually, there was no sign of the “Mars will look as big as the full Moon” that's been a regular since 2003. But there's also a new non-event.
Top Ten Astronomy Stories 2017
2017 was an exciting one for astronomy, full of interesting events and discoveries. There was a fantastic solar eclipse that swept across North America, a star system with 7 Earth-sized planets, a quasar from the early Universe, Cassini's Grand Finale, a dwarf planet with rings, and much more.
When Does the New Year Begin
Imagine midnight on December 31 – fireworks, friendship and celebration greet a new year. But only if you follow the Gregorian calendar. In the past, a year often didn't start on January 1, and for nearly two billion people it still doesn't. So when does a new year begin?
From March to May you can see the Spring Triangle in northern skies. In summer the Summer Triangle is most prominent, but may be seen all year round in most of the northern hemisphere. There is also a Winter Triangle. But grandest of all is the Winter Hexagon.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017
Once again images of the heavens came to Greenwich. Photographers of all ages had used skill and imagination to capture our neighbor planets, visiting comets, colorful nebulae, Earthly skies, and distant galaxies. Nearly four thousand entries came from over ninety countries.
Let's look at some doodles celebrating space missions. If you ever search with Google, you may have seen the doodles before. They're drawings and animations celebrating people, events, holidays, inventions and whatnot, incorporating the Google logo in an amusing way.
Taurids – Halloween Fireballs
Thousands of years ago a comet broke up. A remnant of it still visits Earth, adding to the debris stream fuelling the annual Taurid meteor shower. The shower peaks near Halloween and may produce brilliant meteors – its nickname is 'Halloween Fireballs'. But is there something deadly in the debris?
Crux – the Southern Cross
Crux is the smallest of the 88 constellations, but it punches above its weight. As Polaris does in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere the Southern Cross serves as a navigation aid. It's part of the flags of five nations, and its stars also feature widely in traditional lore.
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