Top Ten astronomy Articles

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. Mercury - 10 Facts for Kids
Mercury is close enough to the Sun for lead to melt during the day. Yet there is ice at the poles. Before we had space probes, Mercury was a mystery hidden in the Sun's glare, but all that's changed.

2. Triton – Neptune's Captured Moon
The Solar System's large moons tend towards the weird and wonderful, and Triton is no exception. It has ice volcanoes, a strange “cantaloupe terrain”, and crazy seasons. It's the only large moon to orbit in the wrong direction, so it didn't form near Neptune. But where did it come from?

3. Sextans – the Sextant
Sextans is a southern constellation invented by Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century to represent his astronomical sextant. Its stars are dim, but it's rich in deep sky objects.

4. Haumea – Facts for Kids
Out in the Kuiper Belt, beyond Neptune and even farther away than Pluto, lie products of an ancient collision – they include a dwarf planet and its two moons.

5. Luna - Earth's Daughter
The Moon has always been our celestial companion, lighting the night, its changes serving as a calendar. What is it, where did it come from, why do we only see one side of it, what is our future together?

6. Boötes - the Herdsman
This ancient constellation contains black holes as massive as a billion Suns, extrasolar planets and has acquired a meteor shower from an extinct neighbor. Its brightest star, a red giant 25 times the diameter of the Sun, is a sign that spring is here.

7. Pluto - Names and Places
New Horizons was nearing Pluto in 2015 and the mission team would need names for the surface features they discovered. So they appealed to the public. The names would be informal ones, but they hoped the International Astronomical Union (IAU) would make them official.

8. Arcturus - the Bear Guardian
Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Boötes (the Herdsman) and the fourth brightest in the entire sky. It's been prominent in the skylore of many cultures for thousands of years, opened a World Fair, and may have been born in another galaxy.

9. Top Ten Astronomy Stories of 2018
The year 2018 was a good one for astronomers. Mars, asteroids, and the outer Solar System had the spotlight more than once. Gaia is bringing the Milky Way into focus, and Hubble found the most distant star ever seen. Here are my choices for the top astronomy stories of 2018.

10. Triangulum – the Northern Triangle
The sky is full of potential triangles. You just need three stars that aren't in a line. We have large triangular asterisms – the Summer, Spring, and Winter Triangles. And did you know we have two triangle constellations? The northern one is Triangulum, and it has a surprisingly long history.

Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!

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