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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. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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."
4. 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?
5. Maria Mitchell
Maria Mitchell was a true pioneer woman. She didn't brave a physical wilderness. Hers was the harder job of pioneering higher education for women. She was the first American woman to discover a comet, the first to be elected to scientific societies and the first woman professor of astronomy.
6. Yuri Gagarin The First Spaceman
On April 12, 1961 with a Let's go!, the first spaceman blasted off. There was no fanfare or countdown when Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1 became the first human to orbit the Earth. He was an exceptional individual who came from humble beginnings, and at 34 his life ended all too soon.
7. Caroline Herschel
Caroline Herschel was an intelligent young woman trapped in domestic servitude by her mother. Her brother William rescued her and trained her as a singer. After he discovered the planet Uranus, the two of them ended up forming a great partnership whose work revolutionized the study of astronomy.
8. Camelopardalis the Giraffe
What do you know about the celestial giraffe Camelopardalis? Probably not much. It has no bright stars. Since it was invented long after the ancient Greeks, it has no folklore. But it has a runaway star, a supernova discovered by a child, and a galaxy from when the Universe was just a toddler.
9. 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.
10. Gravitational Waves What Are They?
In February 2016 news of gravitational waves went round the world. But what are these waves sometimes described as ripples in spacetime? To find out let's go back over a century to a time when Albert Einstein was completing the work that would change our view of the Universe.
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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