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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. Einstein's Eclipse
While World War I was tearing Europe apart in 1915, a German physicist presented a theory that would shake up the way we see the Universe. The physicist was Albert Einstein, his face still unknown to the world, his name not yet a synonym for genius. How did a solar eclipse in 1919 change all that?
2. Palomar Observatory
A mile above the California desert stands Palomar Observatory. Its 200-inch mirror was officially impossible to make, but George Ellery Hale's vision inspired a nation in the grip of the Great Depression and it became the jewel in the crown of astronomy for the second half of the twentieth century.
3. Transit of Venus - Measuring the Solar System
On June 8, 2004 millions of people witnessed an event that no one still alive had ever seen: a transit of Venus. Another occurred in June 2012, but there won't be another for nearly a hundred years. What is a transit of Venus? How did it help to work out out the size of the Solar System?
4. Transit of Venus - Captain Cook 1769
How big is the Solar System? 18th century astronomers tried to find out by sending expeditions around the world to measure a transit of Venus. One of these was Captain Cook's voyage to Tahiti. He went under the auspices of the Royal Society, but he carried secret orders from the British government.
5. Le Gentil - Heroic Failure
Here's the story of Guillaume Le Gentil who went to India to observe the transit of Venus in 1761 and took eleven years to get home again. War and weather conspired to prevent his making observations and illness further delayed his return. Was he the unluckiest astronomer ever?
6. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
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.
7. NASA Women in Lego
Achievements may be honored with prizes and medals, but few get represented as children's toys. However Lego responded to a proposal to showcase women in space and astronomy by making a Lego set representing four such women and their major contributions. Who were these women?
8. Visiting Venus - Facts for Kids
Would you like to visit another planet? How about Mars or Venus? Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin wants to see astronauts on Mars, but could Venus be a better choice?
9. Volans Flies the Southern Skies
Volans (the Flying Fish) flees from its predator Dorado (the Mahi Mahi) across the southern sky. They're two of the southern hemisphere constellations that Flemish astronomer Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) created to fill in parts of the sky not visible to northern astronomers.
10. Firsts in Space Quiz
We walked on the Moon. Rovers explore Mars. The International Space Station has been continuously inhabited since 2000. We're in contact with the world and the cosmos via satellite. We take it for granted, but there had to be a first time for everything. How many of these space firsts do you know?
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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