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2010-03-20 16:00:00

When the sun sets on Saturday, March 20th, a special kind of night will fall across the Earth. It's an equal night. Or as an astronomer would say, "it's an equinox." It's the date when the sun crosses the celestial equator heading north. Spring begins in one hemisphere, autumn in the other. The day and night are of approximately equal length. To celebrate the occasion, Nature is providing a sky show. It begins as soon as the sky grows dark. The Moon materializes first, a fat crescent hanging...

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2007-04-12 16:33:04

The Seven Sisters, also known as the Pleiades, seem to float on a bed of feathers in a new infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Clouds of dust sweep around the stars, swaddling them in a cushiony veil. The view is quite different from what you might see if you look out to the west shortly after dusk. Right now, the famous family of stars is "stepping out" in the evening skies with a very bright and dazzling Venus. During the period from around April 10 to 13, the Pleiades...


Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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