Difference between terrestrial and Jovian planets
By: D. Vogt
Since the 1990s, the increasingly rapid discovery of extrasolar planets (planets orbiting other stars) has turned the traditional division of planets into rocky or terrestrial planets (like Earth and Mars) and Jovian planets or gas giants (like Jupiter and Saturn) from a handy shorthand for...
How mathematicians discovered planet Neptune
By: D. Vogt
Almost all of the planets in our Solar System have been discovered visually, by astronomers - including Pluto (no longer officially a planet), although in that case it took the added assistance of some photographic plates. The exception is Neptune, which at over 2.8...
By: Lawrence George
Most stars, around 90% of the total, are red dwarfs. We don't see them in our night skies, because they are too faint, but they make up the vast majority of the Milky Way Galaxy. They burn slowly and coolly (with surface temperatures of around...
The Sun's history and future
By: Lawrence George
Some 4.5 billion years ago, there was nothing here but gas: a vast, swirling cloud of hydrogen and helium gas, along with particles of dust, containing heavy elements synthesized in ancient stars and supernova explosions. This cloud, several light-years across, was probably not alone...
Iridium flares: Fascinating night sky viewing
By: Aldrin A Wilding-West
Iridium Flares: Fascinating Night Sky Viewing There is such an array of spectacular sights to see in the night sky. Even without the aid of a telescope it is possible to see some fascinating things if you look in the right place at the right...
What is a quasar
By: D. Vogt
A quasar, or quasi-stellar radio source, is a distant, high-energy source of radio waves. Although they were relatively recently discovered (and have been studied only since the 1950s), astronomers now generally agree that quasars are the extremely dense nucleus regions of certain large galaxies, home...
Aurora Borealis: The Northern Lights
By: Florence Cardinal
It's mystifying. It's mesmerizing. It's the aurora borealis, or, more simply, the northern lights. This brilliant display lights up the night skies of northern Canada from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories to the far northern reaches of Quebec. At times it even illuminates the sky...
Planet facts: Neptune
By: D. Vogt
Neptune, the eighth most-distant planet in the solar system, is unique: its existence was first calculated mathematically, before it was ever located by astronomers. As the last of the gas giants, it is now the farthest planet in the solar system (after Pluto was reduced...
Planet facts: Uranus
By: D. Vogt
Uranus is the third-largest planet in the solar system, and the seventh-farthest away from the Sun. This large, pale blue planet orbits between Saturn and more distant Neptune. Discovered by astronomers in 1781, this planet, along with its neighbour Neptune, is still a relative mystery...
Astronomy: The Big Dipper
By: D. Vogt
The Big Dipper is one of the most recognizable and easily located of the major star constellations. Also known in Britain as the Plough (and less commonly the Cleaver), the Dipper has been given a variety of names in non-English-speaking countries, even within Europe, where...

 

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