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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. 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.
2. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
How does the composition of a star affect the temperature? In 1925 a young woman solved this puzzle in her doctoral thesis. Her analysis was a great breakthroughs in astrophysics. Otto Struve described it as “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”
3. 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?
4. Galaxy or Star Cluster
Galaxies and star clusters are collections of stars held together by gravity. Galaxies are really big. But how big is big? Even bigger than a million stars? Yes, a million is small in astronomy.
5. Lawrence Hall of Science - Astronomy
Follow a steep road into California's Berkeley hills to find the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS). It's the public science center of the University of California Berkeley, and delights visitors of all ages with the wonders of science. A bonus is a spectacular panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay.
6. 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?
7. 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.
8. Who Discovered Neptune
Neptune is the planet discovered mathematically and whose detection led to a heated rivalry between British and French astronomers. But who was the first person actually to see Neptune?
9. Astronauts – in Memoriam
Traveling into space is an astronaut's dream. However it's a dangerous occupation, both in the realization and in the training. A number of astronauts, almost all American or Russian, have paid the ultimate price for their dreams. Where are their memorials?
10. Spring Triangle – a Seasonal Asterism
There are 88 official constellations covering the sky with no gaps or overlaps. There are also lots of asterisms, recognizable patterns of stars that aren't constellations. They have no official standing, but they have the advantage over many constellations of resembling what they represent.
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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