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Here are the top ten articles for the Astronomy Site! These rankings are live and get reset at the beginning of each month, so check back often to see what your fellow visitors are most interested in!
1. Spring Triangle – a Seasonal Asterism
There are 88 official constellations covering the sky with no gaps or overlaps. There are also lots of asterisms, recognizable patterns of stars that aren't constellations. They have no official standing, but they have the advantage over many constellations of resembling what they represent.
2. Ultra-cool Dwarf and the Seven Planets
When a planet was first discovered around an alien sun in 1995, it was big news. Now we know thousands of them, so it takes something special to get into the news. In February 2017 one team hit the jackpot: a star with seven Earth-sized planets, three of them in the habitable zone.
3. Tarantula Nebula – Facts for Kids
Arachnophobes needn't worry about this tarantula. It's not a big spider, it's a big nebula that looks a bit like a spider in some photos. It's also so far away that its light takes 170,000 years to get here. Stars are born there, stars die there, and it's a spectacular object.
4. Astronomical Doodles
Google doodles are little drawings and animations that incorporate the Google name into a presentation of a person or event of note. Here are five doodles with an astronomy theme, including asteroids, a lunar eclipse and how the speed of light was calculated by observing Jupiter and Io.
5. Moons of Mars - Deimos
By the late 19th century we knew Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune had moons. But it seemed that there were no Martian moons. Then in 1877 American astronomer Asaph Hall surprised the world with two Martian moons. Why did it take so long to find them? And why did Hall call them Fear and Terror?
6. Antonia Maury
The women of Harvard Observatory worked hard for their meager wages. And the director wanted data processed, not theoretical work. Yet some of them made significant discoveries. One of the least known, but considered by some professional astronomers to be the most able, was Antonia Maury.
7. European Astrofest 2017
It was the 25th Astrofest – and how things have changed since the first one! No one knew then if other stars had planets. Pluto was still a planet and its discoverer Clyde Tombaugh was still alive. The Rosetta mission was in the very early planning stages, and Cassini-Huygens hadn't been launched.
8. Cosmic Valentines
Valentine's Day is no assurance that love is in the air. Hearts and flowers aren't guaranteed to come your way. You may or may not get one of the billion valentine cards that are sent each year. But heart shapes are everywhere and anyone can admire them. Here is a cosmic selection for everyone.
9. Halley's Comet
Every 75 years or so a very special member of the Solar System swoops close to the Sun, becoming visible in our skies like a cosmic ghost. Read about Halley’s Comet, the most famous comet of all.
10. Rosetta the Comet Chaser
Rosetta, the European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft, traveled for ten years and billions of miles in order to rendezvous with a comet, accompany it as it moved through the inner Solar System past the Sun, and deploy a lander.
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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