Astronomy

A:

Auroras are formed when charged particles that are emitted from the sun hit the Earth's magnetic field and the atoms in the atmosphere. This interaction causes the gases in the atmosphere to give out photons of different energies, which can be seen from Earth as light.

See Full Answer
Filed Under:
  • What are meteorites made of?

    Q: What are meteorites made of?

    A: The meteorites that land on earth can be made of stone, iron or stony iron. A few meteorites are made of volcanic glass, but scientists aren't sure that all of these meteorites are extraterrestrial in nature. They believe some of these meteorites are formed when material from an impact crater liquefies and then turns to glass as it's ejected into the atmosphere.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is the bright object in the western sky?

    Q: What is the bright object in the western sky?

    A: The planet Venus is the brightest object in the western sky. At its brightest, Venus is almost 10 times brighter than Jupiter, the sky's second brightest object.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Why is it that stars twinkle but planets do not?

    Q: Why is it that stars twinkle but planets do not?

    A: Stars twinkle because they are point light sources. Passing through the atmosphere, the small beam of light constantly shifts by bouncing off particles in the air. Planets are closer, so they appear as discs, with the shifting of light from one side cancelling out the other.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is the purpose of the Hubble space telescope?

    Q: What is the purpose of the Hubble space telescope?

    A: The Hubble Space Telescope was created to capture detailed images or objects that are too far away to be viewed with conventional telescopes. The Hubble's instruments create images that are far superior to those of terrestrial observatories, which suffer from the effects of atmospheric distortion.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Why do stars pulsate?

    Q: Why do stars pulsate?

    A: Stars appear to pulsate and twinkle in the night sky due to the refraction of light through the Earth's atmosphere. When the light from a star enters the atmosphere, air molecules bounce and deflect the light rays, slightly altering the apparent position and intensity of the star.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is an elliptical orbit?

    Q: What is an elliptical orbit?

    A: Elliptical orbits are the paths taken by objects as they fly around a massive object, such as the sun or Earth. Such orbits are not round as is commonly supposed; instead, they orbit the massive body in the shape of an ellipse. Ellipses are like circles that have been elongated slightly, and they are also referred to as ovals.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • How big is Titan?

    Q: How big is Titan?

    A: Titan is 3,200.051 miles in diameter. It the second-largest moon out of hundreds in the solar system and is Saturn's largest. Titan's mass is 80 percent greater than that of the Earth's moon, and its diameter is 50 percent longer than the diameter of the Earth's moon.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Who named the Milky Way?

    Q: Who named the Milky Way?

    A: Early Greek astronomers named the galaxy "Via Lactea" in reference to the pale band of light formed by stars along the galactic plane. The origin of the name, which translates as "Road of Milk," has been lost to time.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What does seeing a shooting star mean?

    Q: What does seeing a shooting star mean?

    A: Seeing a shooting star means that a meteor is plummeting toward earth. The glowing appearance is caused when the meteor's surface catches on fire upon entering the Earth's atmosphere. A shooting star, therefore, is not actually a star.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • How many satellites does Jupiter have?

    Q: How many satellites does Jupiter have?

    A: In 2011, most experts came to agree that Jupiter has a total of 67 satellites. Its four largest moons are known as the Galilean satellites: Europa, lo, Callisto and Ganymede. Around 50 of its satellites are less than 6.2 miles in diameter.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is a shooting star?

    Q: What is a shooting star?

    A: Although a shooting star looks like a star shooting across the sky, it's actually a meteor, or small rock that hits Earth's atmosphere. Because of the speed at which the meteor, or meteoroid, is traveling it burns and releases a glow.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Where on the celestial sphere can you look for the planets?

    Q: Where on the celestial sphere can you look for the planets?

    A: The sun and planets follow the ecliptic, an imaginary plane in the celestial sphere tilted approximately 23.5 degrees relative to the celestial equator. Earthbound observers see the sun and planets move along the ecliptic arc, rising up from the east and setting in the west.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is Jupiter's atmosphere made up of?

    Q: What is Jupiter's atmosphere made up of?

    A: The atmosphere of Jupiter consists of 90 percent hydrogen gas and nearly 10 percent helium. However, its atmosphere has trace amounts of ammonia, sulfur and water vapor. Jupiter is a gas giant that is also the biggest planet in the solar system.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What causes the Cassini division in Saturn's rings?

    Q: What causes the Cassini division in Saturn's rings?

    A: The Cassini Division, a gap in the rings of Saturn, is caused by gravitational pull from Saturn’s moon Mimas. The moon’s gravity affects the tiny particles that make up the rings, creating what looks like empty space. Other divisions in Saturn’s rings are the result of similar interactions with the planet’s moons.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is a constellation?

    Q: What is a constellation?

    A: The general English definition of constellation is a group or configuration of objects, characteristics, ideas, feelings, etc, as in "a constellation of qualities." The noun constellation is used in astronomy, astrology and general English.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What do you call a person who studies space?

    Q: What do you call a person who studies space?

    A: A person who studies space is called an astronomer or astrophysicist. These types of scientists are responsible for the discovery of all of the planets, stars, asteroids and other extraterrestrial objects.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is the sky made of?

    Q: What is the sky made of?

    A: Four layers of the earth's atmosphere containing various gases make up the composition of the sky. The layers of the atmosphere are divided into the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere and the thermosphere. The atmosphere's divisions occur according to temperature fluctuations.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • How did the solar system form?

    Q: How did the solar system form?

    A: The formation of the solar system began with the creation of the sun after an exploding supernova caused spherical accumulation of dust particles and gas in a huge swirling cloud called nebula. Planets and other components of the solar system formed in the flat plane of the rotating disc of dust.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • How do I set up a Tasco telescope?

    Q: How do I set up a Tasco telescope?

    A: Tasco provides free online instruction manuals for all of their products. Their telescopes come partially assembled. The tripod needs to be assembled, then the main body of the telescope attached to it. Once the main body of the telescope is on the tripod, the various accessories such as finderscopes and eyepieces need to be attached. The accessories vary slightly by model of telescope.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is a burnt-out star called?

    Q: What is a burnt-out star called?

    A: A burnt-out star is called a white dwarf. A white dwarf results after a star’s nuclear fuel burns out, which causes it to collapse or implode. While it has a mass similar to that of the sun, its radius is similar to that of the Earth.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What causes a lunar eclipse?

    Q: What causes a lunar eclipse?

    A: Lunar eclipses are caused when the moon travels through the Earth’s shadow. Complete lunar eclipses are rare, but partial lunar eclipses may occur up to four times per year.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under: