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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. Coma Berenices – Berenice's Hair
A dazzling queen of ancient Egypt was the inspiration for the constellation Coma Berenices. It's small and dim, but contains the Galactic North Pole and multitudes of galaxies.
2. Doodles for Women Astronomers
Since 2013 four outstanding women astronomers have been honored by a Google Doodle. None of the Doodles have had a worldwide reach, but there is a link to each delightful drawing and I've given some biographical details. Read on to meet this stellar quartet.
3. ABC of Astronomy – B Is for Bok Globule
B is for Bok globule, a kind of dark nebula studied by Bart Bok. B is for Bayer who invented a handy system of star designations beginning with a Greek letter. And B is for Baily's beads. You won't find them in a jewelry shop, but you might see them in a solar eclipse, as Francis Baily did.
4. 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.
5. Transit of Mercury
No one alive had seen Venus transit when the 2004 one occurred. And if you missed that and the 2012 transit, there isn't another until 2117. However Mercury also transits the Sun – and these transits happen more often. But what's a transit and what do we learn from it?
6. Planets of the Solar System - Quiz
How well do you know the planets of the Solar System? Here's a beginner's quiz for you to test your knowledge. It's complete with answers and some more facts about the planets.
7. Cosmonauts - Birth of the Space Age
The starter's pistol for the space race was fired on October 4, 1957. It was in the form of a small highly-polished sphere that orbited the Earth every 98 minutes. This was the Soviet Union's Sputnik, Earth's first artificial satellite. It shook up the United States, and there was more to come.
8. Saint Patrick's Day – Wearing the Cosmic Green
Saint Patrick's Day is associated with the shamrock and the color green. Although there don't seem to be any cosmic shamrocks, there are many green phenomena in the skies. Discover a beautiful green nebula, what excites electrons, and why con men sold “comet pills”.
9. Epsilon Eridani - A Norse God in the River
Eridanus is the great river that flows through the southern sky. One its stars, Epsilon Eridani, is of special interest to us because of its nearness and because the sunlike star has a planetary system. Benefiting from a new IAU naming policy, the star and its planet are now also Ran and AEgir.
10. ABC of Astronomy – E Is for Ecliptic
Star maps show you where the ecliptic is. That's because it's where you find the planets and the zodiac constellations. But what is the ecliptic plane on which the planets orbit? What shape are their orbits, and what do we mean by an eccentric orbit?
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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