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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. Moons of Mars – Facts for Kids
Earth's moon is “the Moon” because it was the only one humans had ever seen until 1610. That's when Galileo discovered moons orbiting Jupiter. By 1876 astronomers had found moons around all of the outer planets. So why did it take until 1877 for someone to find the moons of our neighbor Mars?
2. Are There Solar Eclipses on the Moon
Total solar eclipse: the Sun a black circle framed by an ethereal corona. Dark enough to see stars, and for birds to go to sleep – yet an eerie darkness unlike night. The Sun can also be eclipsed on other Solar System planets as long as they have moons. But what would we see from our own Moon?
3. Summer Triangle
The Summer Triangle is a stellar treat for northern mid-latitudes summer sky watchers. It graces the sky all night long in summer, and its three bright stars are visible even in urban areas. Under dark skies you can also see the Milky Way within the asterism.
4. Valentina Tereshkova - the First Spacewoman
Three days orbiting Earth strapped into a space capsule so primitive that no one could land in it. So how did the cosmonaut get home? That's part of the story of the first woman in space, on a solo flight twenty years before NASA sent Sally Ride into orbit on a Space Shuttle.
5. 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.
6. Lacerta – the Northern Stellar Lizard
Although the night sky has two lizards, the classical world wasn't enthralled by small reptiles. Both Lacerta and Chamaeleon constellations date from about the 17th century, which is considered modern. Lacerta is home to a fiery dwarf, a puffy planet and one of the most energetic known galaxies.
7. Ptolemy and the Butterfly – M7 and M6
The objects in the Messier catalog that are the farthest south are two star clusters. M6 is also called the Butterfly Cluster and M7 is also known Ptolemy's Cluster. They're splendid objects seen in their glory in the southern skies, but if you live in the far north you can't see them at all.
8. Chamaeleon – the Southern Stellar Lizard
Chamaeleons lived in lands exotic to 16th-century Europeans. Yet although color-changing lizards are fascinating, Chamaeleon the constellation is a small, dim southern sky constellation with no associated mythology. Why does it even exist? Is there anything of interest there?
9. 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?
10. 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.
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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