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Article of the month: September 2014

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Images credit: NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft, of Mira and its tail in UV light (top); Margarita Karovska (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) / NASA's Hubble Space Telescope image of Mira, with the distortions revealing the presence of a binary companion (lower left); public domain image of Orion, the Pleiades and Mira (near maximum brightness) by Brocken Inaglory of Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY-SA-3.0 (lower right).



Twinkle, twinkle, variable star

Despite the tumultuous and extreme conditions within our sun, its energy output varies only slightly—about 0.1%. Take a look at a red giant, though, and you could witness variabilities thousands of times that over the course of a single year. A great example of this is the first pulsating variable star ever discovered—Mira. Why does Mira behave this way, and what does it tell us about the fate of our own sun? Find out in this month's column!
















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Play and learn

Simple and fun learning activities to share with children.

Clues from Ancient Light—With the GALEX space telescope, astronomers know the age of a source's light by its degree of red shift. In this learning-by-analogy activity, kids arrange pictures of familiar objects by judging which is older.

Paint by Pixels—Make a picture using a technique similar to that used by many NASA spacecraft to record and send pictures back to Earth.

Make your own 2-D Flying Nanosat!

Make a Robo-Puzzle . . . Then Just Try to Solve It!



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