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Carolyn Collins Petersen
Guide since 2014

About.com Space/Astronomy

Dark Skies are our Heritage

Have you ever heard of light pollution? It's the overuse of light at night. Nearly everyone on Earth has experienced it. Cities are bathed in light, but lights also encroach on the wilderness and rural landscapes as well. The International Dark-Sky Association is a leading authority on light pollution, its causes, and ways to reduce it while preserving safety and security. Check out their Web site, and their video "Losing the Dark", available to watch on Youtube and Vimeo, and downloadable for educators, planetariums, and other outreach professionals.

Learn More and Watch a Video!

How Does a Star Work?


The Sun is a star, one of trillions of stars in the Milky Way alone. Our star has a nuclear furnace in its core, where it fuses hydrogen into helium. In the process, it gives off heat and light, just as other stars do that have the same core process. 

Learn More about the Cosmos
Space/Astronomy Spotlight10

The Sun's Ultimate Fate

The story of how our star dies is different from the stories of its more massive siblings.

September Stargazing Preview

Finding planets just after sunset in September's skies.

The Ever-changing North Pole Star

Introducing our pole star the famous Polaris. It has been the North Pole star for several thousand years.

Digital Astronomy

Looking for astronomy computer programs and apps? This article looks at a few of the many good ones available.

MESSENGER from Mercury

Introducing the smallest planet -- Mercury, and the MESSENGER mission that is exploring it.

Solving the Martian Climate Mystery

An introduction to the Mars MAVEN Mission, set to arrive at the Red Planet in September, 2014.

Naked Cores and Degenerate Stars

Astronomy has some suggestive-sounding terms that are anything BUT risque.

Twin Telescopes Reach Out to the Cosmos

Introducing the Gemini Observatory, two telescopes in two different places.

Sun-Like Stars May Munch on Earth-like Planets

An article about how sun-like stars may gobble up their rocky planets.

Volcano World

Introduction to volcanoes and volcanism.

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