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Habitable Exoplanets Catalog ~ While the space on Earth is increasingly at a premium, the search is on for habitable planets elsewhere in the cosmos. Exoplanets are planets from outside the solar system, orbiting other stars in constellations distant from this one. So far nine are regarded as potentially inhabitable, but others are constantly being discovered…
Haumea ~ The fifth dwarf planet to go official and acquire a proper name, was formerly called Santa and now Haumea after the patron goddess of the island of Hawai’i. Apparently, there are another 40 known bodies awaiting dwarf planet status, with estimates of perhaps 200 in the Kuiper belt and maybe 2000 further beyond that.
Heavens-Above ~ No-nonsense astronomy site that encourages registration, but only so everything can be customised for you. Rewards include personalised sky maps and data, plus a timetable of your next space station fly-past and Iridium flare - as the sun catches the antennae of an Iridium communications satellite.
Hermit Eclipse ~ Another great site for practical eclipse information from an astronomical perspective. Clearly presented and readable with some detailed graphics, an eclipse search facility and extensive statistical analysis. This site is more accessible than most, yet takes you as far as you want to go…
Hill Sphere ~ The Hill sphere was defined by the American astronomer George William Hill (1838-1914), based on the work of the French astronomer Édouard Roche. It is the gravitational sphere of influence exerted by an astronomical body, within which a smaller object is bound to orbit it. Amazingly, Neptune has the largest Hill radius in our Solar System, 2.2 times that of Jupiter.
Hot Jupiters ~ Hey, know what? The multiverse is an infinitely bigger place than anyone ever managed to conjure up in their previously wildest imaginations. We are used to the distant planets of the Solar System being cold and hostile locations. But beyond our local neighbourhood, there exists an infinite array of possibilities that no astrologer has ever wrapped their head around.
Hot Neptune ~ As more exoplanets are spotted, astronomers start to encounter common themes. Neptune is arguably the coldest planet in our Solar System, but planets of a comparable diameter are known to exist within one Astronomical Unit of their parent star: the distance from our Earth to the Sun. Gliese 436 b was first seen during 2004: in the sign of Leo, at 33 light years off.
How Are Minor Planets Named? ~ Remember when there was only Chiron? Thanks to better telescopes and more detailed observations, the quantity of numbered and unnumbered discoveries stood at 714,825 in June 2016. It would be fun to see astrologers ascribe characteristics to each one, since the International Astronomy Union has an uphill task even naming them all.
HubbleSite ~ With its new advanced camera, the Hubble Space Telescope captures supreme imagery of both the known universe and beyond. The official website has the full story with superlative details and extensive interactivity. The Hubble Deep Field multimedia tour is quite simply breathtaking!
Ian Ridpath’s Star Tales ~ Ian is a professional astronomer and a prolific author who regularly features in the media. His book Star Tales was first published in 1988 and outlines the myths surrounding the 88 constellations used nowadays, plus a few obsolete ones besides. It’s now available online, with updates and additions on the way…
Impact Calculator ~ This site allows you to assess the fallout from an asteroid impact. You can target the Earth, our Moon or Mars. Set the diameter of the projectile between 100m and 15km: its trajectory, velocity, composition and the geology of where it will land. Point it at your home town if you want; I have lived in a few places where an asteroid strike would definitely be an bonus.
International Astronomy Union (IAU) ~ The IAU is made up of astronomers from all over the world and is responsible for the naming of new planetary discoveries. So if you would like to know why the object internationally called Xena, should in February 2006 still catchily be referred to as 2003 UB313, then these are the people to ask.
International Comet Quarterly ~ The ICQ is a non-profit scientific journal devoted to the study of comets. It is a link between amateur and professional astronomers in the exchange of news and useful observations. The ICQ is at present published by the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department of Harvard University. Unparalleled easy reading, it is obviously not…
International Meteor Organization ~ The International Meteor Organization was founded in 1988, to facilitate cooperation when it comes to meteor observation internationally. Although intended primarily for the astronomical community I still found this website enlightening, especially their calendar of meteor showers, which is reasonably comprehensible to the layperson.
International Space Station (ISS) ~ The International Space Station orbits the Earth over fifteen times each day. It is not hard to spot with the naked eye, but you do need to know where to look. This site’s huge database helps us all catch a glimpse from wherever we’re situated. It’s definitely a worthwhile exercise!
In-The-Sky.org ~ An attractive site, presenting the technicalities of modern astronomy in an accessible way. So as to keep you abreast of the latest developments in the sky, the online planetarium is geolocated using your IP address and has a number of configurable options. Details of comets, meteor showers and man-made satellites are a few of the other delights in store…
Io ~ Some suggest that the Earth has more than one moon. Nothing has yet been proven, but you’ll often encounter references in astrological texts. This makes it the only planet in the Solar System with a solitary satellite, although Mercury and Venus have none whatsoever. Our own Moon (note the capital!) is the fifth biggest system-wide, while Io orbits Jupiter and makes fourth largest.