When New Horizons made its historic fly-by of Pluto in 2015, it wasn't only Pluto that was surprising. Pluto's moon Charon also turned out to be complex and interesting. This meant names were needed for Charon's surface features too. A dozen have been approved, and exploration is the big theme.
Nicholas-Louis de Lacaille invented over a dozen constellations to fill gaps in the southern sky map. Instead of looking to classical mythology, he celebrated the instruments of the Enlightenment. Two small faint constellations represent extremes of visual aids – the telescope and the microscope.
Can you imagine a trip from our Solar System into the Virgo Supercluster 60 million light years away? Then whizzing home via a shortcut through a black hole? If not, here's good news: the American Museum of Natural History has not only imagined it, but also imaged it, in Passport to the Universe.
From March to May you can see the Spring Triangle in northern skies. In summer the Summer Triangle is most prominent, but may be seen all year round in most of the northern hemisphere. There is also a Winter Triangle. But grandest of all is the Winter Hexagon.
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?
White dwarfs are the corpses of medium-sized stars that have run out of fuel. They typically have the mass of the Sun, while being about the size of the Earth. It's no wonder that early twentieth century astronomers were dumbfounded by them.
From ancient times to the present, fifteen Solar System objects have been called planets. But there are only eight planets now. Find out what happened to the other seven and how the planets got their names.
Someone must have left the door open, because the skies are full of dogs. You can see the dogs of Orion and the hunting dogs of the shepherd Bootes in pursuit of the Great Bear. There is also the Running Dog Nebula, and the memory of poor Laika, the first cosmonaut, who perished in space.
Halley didn't discover a comet, but he did research and published papers in astronomy and many other fields. Russian Czar Peter the Great liked him as a dining and drinking companion and King William III put this civilian in charge of a Royal Navy ship. But how did he get a comet named for him?
NASA's New Horizons has been to visit Pluto, and we will be learning new things about it for years to come. Meanwhile here's a profile of dwarf planet 134340 Pluto, largest object in the Kuiper Belt and former planet.