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These pages had their origins in my skywatching guides for amateur astronomers. As I came to describe each constellation, I found myself wondering about its origin and the way in which ancient people had personified it in mythology. Astronomy books did not contain satisfactory answers.
Alcyone or Halcyone - `queen who wards off evil [storms]' - Seduced by Poseidon and gave birth to either Hyrieus (the name of Orion's father, but perhaps not the same Hyrieus) or Anthas, founder of Anthæa, Hyperea, and Halicarnassus. Another Alcyone, daughter of Æolus (guardian of the winds) and Ægiale, married Ceyx of Trachis; the two jokingly called each other Hera and Zeus, vexing those gods, who drowned Ceyx in a storm at sea; Alcyone threw herself into the sea at the news, and was transformed into a halcyon (kingfisher). Legend has it the halcyon hen buries her dead mate in the winter before laying her eggs in a compact nest and setting it adrift on the sea; Æolus forbids the nest to be disturbed, so the water is calm for 14 days centered on the winter solstice, called the Halcyon Days.
A new map of our complex universe is out. We’ll look at our “chunky” cosmos. We look up at the night sky and marvel at its depth and beauty.
Black holes sound like they're straight out of a science fiction story: objects so dense that nothing in the universe can escape from their gravitational pull. But over the past few decades astronomers have been steadily building up evidence that black holes are not only real, but, in fact, quite prevalent in the universe. It is now thought that almost all galaxies contain gigantic black holes in their centers, millions or even billions of times more massive than the Sun. Some of these beasts are among the most violent and energetic objects in the universe - active galactic nuclei and quasars, which shoot off jets even as they suck in surrounding gas - while others, often older ones like the black hole at the center of the Milky Way , are considerably more quiet feeders. Galaxies are also thought to contain many examples of small black holes, with masses only a few times greater than that of the Sun.
The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) engages the Nations science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASAs partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space. SMD seeks to understand the origins, evolution, and destiny of the universe and to understand the nature of the strange phenomena that shape it. The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) engages the Nations science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASAs partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiri... <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
Comet PANSTARRS appears in the west after sunset in March 2013. This comet will be above the star Alpheratz on March 25/26. It will meet up with the Andromeda galaxy in early April. Update on March 23, 2013 : Comet PANSTARRS is still visible through binoculars in the Northern Hemisphere, if you know exactly where to look.
Our star chart is designed to get you out learning the night sky within a matter of moments. Just set it for your time and location, make a few tweaks if you like for personal taste, and print it out. For stargazing, pick a location that's as free as possible from bright local lights, and give yourself at least half an hour outdoors so that your vision becomes fully dark-adapted.
Look for Arcturus, the "Spring Star," low in the east-northeast in twilight and higher in the east after dark. The constellation Bootes extends to its left. High to Arcturus's upper left is the Big Dipper. Want to become a better amateur astronomer? Learn your way around the constellations.
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As seen from our northern temperate latitudes, the three brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle – Vega, Deneb and Altair – are out for at least part of the night every night of the year. Presently, the Summer Triangle shines in the eastern sky at and before dawn. On a moonless night, an edgewise view of the galactic disk – and the Dark Rift – pass right through the Summer Triangle.
Share Subscribe Embed Saturn rises by midnight; use a telescope to spy its rings. Look for red giant star Betelgeuse in Orion's shoulder. Binoculars can transform the Pleiades star cluster from seven stars into a swarm.
What follows is a list of resources that excel in astronomy education. Each resource is distinctly different - they have been chosen to highlight a wide range of interests. We believe the list is topologically complete in that there are no publicly advertised astronomy resources on the WWW that cannot be found by following the internal links of these resources. The list is in alphabetical order, and is subject to change as the WWW, and our knowledge of it, matures. APOD in the Classroom
Stephen Hawking Videos
Carl Sagan Videos
Richard Feynman Physics Lectures
Free Science and Video Lectures Online
DARK MATTER PARADIGM
Astronomy & Space
World Wide Cooperation - Space
Eyes on the Sky
Venus - Sun Transit
Space Industries O to Z
Our Solar System
Greatest Astronomy Discoveries
CPEP Physics Adventure
The UNIVERSE ADVENTURE