Christmas 2023 is past, but the daily “astro advent” images in the Astronomy Forum are still there to enjoy. The first eight days included the Carina Nebula, a smiley face on the Sun from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, and a breathtaking skyscape from Norway's Lofoten Islands.
The year 2022 was an exciting year for astronomy and space. James Webb started showing what amazing things it can do, and NASA made it to the Moon and back. Perseverance and Ingenuity have become partners in exploration. The most distant and oldest known star has been an amazing find.
The Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are visible to the naked eye. People have seen them for thousands of years. Other Solar System bodies were discoveries, but who discovered them?
People used to think comets were warnings of disasters. Today we know that they are icy visitors from the most distant regions of the Solar System. Other stars have exoplanets and they seem to have exocomets too.
Imagine yourself under a dark autumn or winter northern hemisphere sky. You're looking towards the â€œWâ€ of Cassiopeia, and notice a hazy patch between Cassiopeia and the constellation Andromeda. That is the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Here are some fascinating facts about this stunning object.
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?
The starter's pistol for the space race was fired on October 4, 1957. It was in the form of a small highly-polished sphere that orbited the Earth every 98 minutes. This was the Soviet Union's Sputnik, Earth's first artificial satellite. It shook up the United States, and there was more to come.
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.
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 formerly a planet.