Astronomy

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Just as day is brighter than night, the sun is much brighter than the moon — 400,000 times brighter, to be exact. That's compared to even the fullest, brightest full moon. From an astronomical standpoint, this is no surprise. The moon doesn't generate its own light, and the burning sun provides the vast majority of all the natural light on earth.

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  • Are stars bigger than the sun?

    Q: Are stars bigger than the sun?

    A: Stars exist that are both bigger and smaller than the sun. The sun has a radius of 1.4 million kilometers and, relative to other stars, is an average size.
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  • What is terrestrial navigation?

    Q: What is terrestrial navigation?

    A: Terrestrial navigation is a field of study that helps sea-faring people locate points at sea and on the land. Similarly, it involves being able to identify the position of the ship anywhere in the world. Students are instructed in the use of nautical charts, compass corrections and voyage planning.
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  • Did Sir Isaac Newton have any children?

    Q: Did Sir Isaac Newton have any children?

    A: Sir Isaac Newton never married and did not have any children. According to Biography.com, the English mathematician and physicist, who was known for his law of gravitation, died on March 31, 1727, at the age of 85.
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  • What is the surface of Mercury made of?

    Q: What is the surface of Mercury made of?

    A: There is not much known about Mercury or its surface, except that it is similar to the moon in appearance and its composition consists of primarily molecular oxygen, sodium and hydrogen. There are also small amounts of helium and potassium. The planet does not have an actual atmosphere, which causes the planet to have extreme temperature changes during its rotation.
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  • What are heavenly bodies in space?

    Q: What are heavenly bodies in space?

    A: Natural objects found outside of the Earth's atmosphere, such as planets, stars, moons, comets, meteors and asteroids, are some of the heavenly bodies in space. It is believed that there are other forms of heavenly bodies or objects in space that are yet to be discovered and explored.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • What does the full moon symbolize?

    Q: What does the full moon symbolize?

    A: The full moon is said to symbolize different things in various cultures, including the control of water as well as the rhythm of time. The phases of the moon are also used to represent phases of life.
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  • 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.
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  • What is the difference between equinox and solstice?

    Q: What is the difference between equinox and solstice?

    A: A solstice is defined as the point during the Earth's orbit around the sun at which the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator, while an equinox is at its least distance. A solstice is characterized by either an extremely long night or an extremely short day.
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  • How do space craters get their names?

    Q: How do space craters get their names?

    A: The International Astronomical Union (IAU), an organization of astronomers, names the craters on planets and moons in the solar system by giving each planet a creative theme. For example, the moon’s craters are usually named for deceased explorers, scientists and scholars, while large craters on Venus are named for famous women in various professional fields.
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  • What is outer space made of?

    Q: What is outer space made of?

    A: Outer space contains a low density of particles, primarily hydrogen gas, along with electromagnetic radiation. Many people, however, mistakenly believe outer space is a complete vacuum. The term "outer space" is used mainly to distinguish the space between planets from the planets and their airspace.
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  • What is a planetarium?

    Q: What is a planetarium?

    A: A planetarium is a facility designed to replicate the features of the universe in the night sky. Similar to a museum or science center, planetariums are developed in communities to offer education and entertainment to people curious about the field of astronomy. Visitors typically pay admission fees to enter just as they would at a theater or zoo.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • How many times bigger is the sun than the earth?

    Q: How many times bigger is the sun than the earth?

    A: According to NASA, the sun’s diameter is approximately 100 times larger than the diameter of the earth. The earth would have to be lined up 100 times in order to stretch across the face of the sun.
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  • How does the Astrolabe work?

    Q: How does the Astrolabe work?

    A: Astrolabes work by presenting users with a graphic interface that makes it relatively easy to compute the positions of the sun, the moon and the stars. Astrolabes can be used for navigation as well as predicting the exact times for sunrise and sunset. Turned on its side, an astrolabe can be used as a mechanical calculator akin to a slide rule.
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  • How did the constellation Orion get its name?

    Q: How did the constellation Orion get its name?

    A: Stargazers in ancient Greece observed the "pictures" formed by stars and named the Orion constellation after a mythological hunter. Many origin stories exist, but one popular version recounts Orion's quest to defeat a giant scorpion sent by Gaia, the goddess of Earth, according to the Windows to the Universe.
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