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Kuiper Belt ~ Continuing with the extremes of the solar system, David Jewitt is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He is on the cutting edge of Kuiper Belt research and his site is aimed firmly at his astronomical mates. But if you’re feeling strong, you never know, you could learn something blinding.
Life Cycle of a Star ~ More astronomy than celebrity, this site explains the process of development that stars undergo, compared with a person’s life from conception through infancy, into adulthood and finally old age. An educational slant makes the journey fun to follow, with some great interactive tutorials to conclude and that reinforce the main facts…
Light Pollution Map ~ There are several online atlases, claiming to show the worldwide damage caused by light pollution. Unfortunately, the majority are now rather ancient, so this interactive map with a selection of comparative data from 2010, 2012 and 2014 seemed the wisest recommendation. It interfaces with Bing Maps, so you can zoom in to your viewing location.
List of Centaurs & Scattered-Disk Objects ~ Remember the days when there was only Chiron? As of March 2005 there are now 150 known centaurs and scattered-disk objects, with more constantly being discovered. Here you will find the latest astronomical data. Be prepared for lengthy concentration on a site like this.
LIVEMETEORS.com ~ It may seem tricky to grasp what is going on here, but you’ll soon appreciate why this site is so cool. You are listening to meteor echoes, caused by the ionised trail of a meteor reflecting radio waves back to Earth. This makes for a soundscape, you can use as an ambient backdrop and that is surprisingly full of variation, if you listen for long enough.
LPOD ~ Since 2004 the Lunar Photo (or Picture) of the Day has furthered the concept pioneered by APOD and later continued by EPOD, for astronomy and earth sciences respectively. Every day there’s a new image that either highlights an important feature of the Moon, shows our satellite in a different way or that otherwise intrigues…
Lunar and Planetary Institute ~ The Lunar and Planetary Institute conducts planetary science research under the leadership of staff scientists and visiting researchers, also providing support services for NASA and the planetary science community. For humble astrologers like me, they have some great images of the planets and of the Moon especially!
Lunar Perigee and Apogee Calculator ~ Perigee is when an object comes closest to the Earth. Apogee is the exact opposite, the point at which it is the furthest away. In terms of our Moon the difference between these two is almost one eighth, so here’s an excellent Javascript calculator that I stumbled across, to help spot when the full moon is going to look especially huge…
Makemake ~ Following the adoption of the term dwarf planet by the International Astronomy Union, five bodies have by early 2009 so far been awarded this status. Makemake was fourth and on July 11, 2008 joined Ceres, Pluto, Eris and later Haumea in a group growing all the time. Come on astrologers, what do you think of this one?
Mars One ~ Mars One is a non-profit organisation, aimed at establishing a permanent settlement on the red planet. Anyone is welcome to apply to be among the first to go and 78,000 did so, within a fortnight of registration opening. Training is provided and there is only one catch, as this is a one-way journey. Once you leave the safety of Earth, Mars is your new home.
Meanings Of Minor Planet Names ~ 714,825 minor planets had been located by the end of June 2016. 31,670 were discovered in the first six months of the year, a daily average of 174 or one spotted every eight minutes. With an estimated 1,025,110 words in the English language naming these is a finite exercise, even when other languages are increasingly put to work.
Mercury, the Pink Planet ~ Comets and asteroids have been centre stage, so the fortnight-long Valentine’s Day special in which Mercury, that most elusive of the visible planets has starred during February 2013, passed by without great fanfare. Still, take a moment to learn how to spot Mercury in future and why although not actually pink, it can often look that way…
MESSENGER ~ MESSENGER is an acronym for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment GEochemistry and Ranging. As I write Mercury is retrograde and NASA are presenting their findings from the first rendezvous of a proposed four this mission will make with the planet in question, leading up to orbit insertion in March 2011.
Meteorite Identification ~ The Geminid meteor shower peaks on December 13-14, 2015. While most shooting stars burn up along the way, the few that make it to the Earth’s surface are known as meteorites. They can fetch high prices, while the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University, estimates just one in a thousand samples they receive is actually the real deal.
Meteorite Information ~ From Washington University in St. Louis, this self-help guide is for those keen to distinguish a real shooting star from an earthly pretender, or your meteorite from your meteor-wrong as the catchphrase affirms. The tone of this content encourages you to bear in mind that you are far more likely to encounter the latter, both in life and especially on eBay.
Meteoritical Bulletin Database ~ The database of the Meteoritical Society, a non-profit organisation founded in 1933. Its catalogue records all known meteorites, whether recently spotted or from the distant past, in a searchable format with photographs where possible and the location of every sighting plotted on Google Maps. Try entering your country or place of interest to start.
Meteor Shower Guide: 2015 ~ I’ll admit to being tardy with this week’s recommendation, since it is already October as I write. Plus, I’m not really mentioning a website either, more a page with links to further information. But in my defence, I must say that out of eleven major meteor showers during 2015, more than half are still to come. Next up are the Draconids on October 8…