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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. Sky of Grand Central Terminal - History
In New York City, you can see the Milky Way on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal. A beautiful mural of the night sky has graced this elegant Beaux-Arts building since its opening over a century ago. But why is there a black spot and hole in the ceiling? Are the constellations really backwards?
2. Exotic Creatures of the Southern Sky
Constellations telling the ancient tales of gods and heroes are still in use by astronomers. But there are only 48 classical constellations, and the skies around the south celestial pole can't be seen from the Mediterranean, so those constellations are more modern. Here are some of them.
3. Mary Somerville and the World of Science – book
Mary Somerville was an exceptional individual. Although self-educated and - as a woman - barred from membership in scientific societies, her books sold well and were used as textbooks for many decades. Allan Chapman relates her achievements to the context of 19th century science in Britain.
4. Scorpius the Scorpion
Anyone wary of spiders may want to avoid the spider's cousin Scorpius. Most constellations don't look like their namesakes. But Scorpius is easily imagined as a giant scorpion with a blood red heart gleaming in the southern sky. It's been an astronomical scorpion for over 3000 years.
5. Polaris – Facts for Kids
Polaris, the North Star, has been a navigation star for 1500 years. It's easy to find using the pointer stars of the Big Dipper. Did you know that it hasn't always been the North Star? Or that it's really three stars?
6. 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.
7. Does Sound Travel through Space
Can sound travel in space? The short answer is no, but it's not so simple. The Sun produces sound waves we can't hear. And then there's a black hole that astronomers have detected endlessly singing a B-flat over tens of thousands of light years.
8. Quasar Facts for Kids
Quasars are the brightest and most distant objects in the universe. And when we see them we are looking into the past, to a time even before our Sun and Solar System existed.
9. Kuiper Belt - Facts for Kids
Pluto's not the last planet, it's the first Kuiper Belt Object. The Kuiper Belt is made up of millions of icy bits left over from the beginning of the Solar System. It starts at 30 AU - that's 30 times farther from the Sun than the Earth. From there it stretches for another 2 billion miles!
10. Nebulae - Ten Facts for Kids
Nebulae are great clouds of gas and dust in the spaces between the stars. Some of them are made from dying stars. Others are the nurseries for new stars. Here are ten facts about these surprising objects.
Be sure to visit the Astronomy Archives for all the articles!
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