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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. Groundhog Day
February second is Groundhog Day, a day that's a mystery to people outside North America. Even in the USA and Canada, it's more a bit of fun than a holiday. Yet however superficial it is now, it's the offshoot of traditions that began in Europe thousands of years ago.
2. Astronomy Tributes to David Bowie
If astronomers talk about the death of stars, it's probably not pop stars they mean. Unless the pop star created Ziggy Stardust, Major Tom and Aladdin Sane, and sang “Life on Mars”, “Starman” and “Hallo Spaceboy”. Here are some of the astronomy tributes to David Bowie.
3. Williamina Fleming
Through the vision and dedication of Edward Pickering, Harvard College had one of the world's top observatories. Pickering had a secret weapon: a team of women computers. One of them was Mina Fleming who began her employment as a housekeeper and ended it as an astronomer of international repute.
4. Winter Solstice
For six months, each day has been shorter than the last, the Sun lower in the sky. Will it disappear altogether and leave the people bereft in the dark cold winter? The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and is associated with more festivals than any other astronomical event.
5. Hyperion – Saturn's Weird Wobbly Moon
Saturn has lots of moons – more than five dozen of them with confirmed orbits. They are remarkable in many ways, but perhaps the strangest one is the misshapen and unpredictable Hyperion.
6. Four Big Astronomy Non-events of 2015
In 2015 we learned a lot about the Solar System and beyond. And the splendid sky events included a solar eclipse and two lunar eclipses. Yet, as ever, people on social media people who delight in disaster were declaring doom. Should we be apprehensive? Let's see.
7. Hydra the Water Snake – Myths and Stars
What links the biggest constellation in the sky with the flag of Brazil? Why is the star V Hydrae bright red? How did the hero Hercules vanquish a nine-headed monster? Read all about it here.
8. Hydra the Water Snake – Deep Sky Objects
It's not surprising to find plenty of deep-sky objects in such a big constellation as Hydra. Its varied objects include the Ghost of Jupiter, beautiful globules that are over twice the age of the Sun, and a dramatic grand design spiral galaxy known for its titanic explosions.
9. 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?
10. Johannes Hevelius
Which 17th century brewer created ten new constellations? Johannes Hevelius, astronomer, civic leader, instrument-maker, writer, engraver and publisher. He died before finishing his great star atlas, so his wife Elisabetha - also an astronomer - finished the editing and oversaw its publication.
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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