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Here are the Editor's Picks articles for the Astronomy Site! These are the top ten articles that your Astronomy Editor feels are most important for you to read. Enjoy!
1. Geminids – a December Spectacle
Imagine the scene: a starry night in mid-December. As your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness, you start to see movement in the sky. At some point you definitely see a shooting star – properly called a meteor. Welcome to what many people think is the year's best meteor shower, the Geminids.
2. Annie Jump Cannon
Oh! Be a fine girl (guy)--kiss me! This is the traditional mnemonic for the way stars are classified: OBAFGKM. Find out about the astronomer and suffragette who devised the system and who said that astronomical spectroscopy made it "almost as if the distant stars had acquired speech."
3. Cosmic White Christmas
If you're dreaming of a white Christmas, the cosmos may have something of interest. How about deep snow on one of Saturn's moons, a gigantic Christmas tree whose lights are baby stars, a snowman on an asteroid, or an Einstein ring?
4. 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.
5. Aurorae - Polar Light Shows
There's a glow on the northern horizon. The Sun set hours ago and there are no city lights there. You could be seeing nature's great polar light show - an aurora. It's most likely if you're fairly far north or south, but a solar storm may include mid-latitudes too.
6. Orion the Hunter
The stars of Orion have been part of humanity's mythscape for thousands of years. Seven bright stars outline the hunter's body. One of them is a supergiant nearing the end of its life. Yet just visible to the unaided eye is a vast stellar nursery where the next generation of stars is forming.
7. Space Missions - Quiz
Space missions have taken us to the Sun and the Moon, asteroids and comets, planets, dwarf planets and moons, and looked beyond the Solar System. There have been so many missions it's hard to keep them straight. Can you match these descriptions with the missions?
8. Winter Solstice
For six months, each day has been shorter than the last, the Sun lower in the sky. Will it disappear altogether and leave the people bereft in the dark cold winter? The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and is associated with more festivals than any other astronomical event.
9. How Big Are the Biggest Stars
What is the biggest star yet discovered? It's harder than you might think to answer this question. But here's a short tour of big, bigger and absolutely enormous stars - including some impossible ones.
10. Winter Hexagon
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.
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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