Astronomy

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Jupiter has a dry, thick atmosphere; high-speed winds, turbulence and long-lasting storms are common. The weather on Jupiter is much different from that found on a rocky planet such as the Earth.

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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 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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  • 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 the Difference Between a Solar and Lunar Eclipse?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between a Solar and Lunar Eclipse?

    A: A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth so that the Moon's shadow falls on the Earth. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon and the Sun casts the Earth's shadow on the Moon. Both events happen only when the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned. A solar eclipse can only happen during a new moon, and a lunar eclipse can only take place on a full moon.
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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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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • What Did Galileo Discover?

    Q: What Did Galileo Discover?

    A: After Galileo built his first telescope in 1609, he observed and described the landscape of the moon, discovered four of the moons of Jupiter, discovered the phases of Venus, and discovered sunspots. Galileo's discovery of sunspots supported the idea of heliocentrism, a model that places the sun at the center of the universe with the planets orbiting around it.
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  • What Is the Circle of Illumination?

    Q: What Is the Circle of Illumination?

    A: The circle of illumination is the line that separates the Earth to create equal parts of day and night. It passes through the poles and allows the entire Earth to have an equal amount of time spent during the daylight and nighttime hours.
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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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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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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 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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  • 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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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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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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  • How Long Would It Take a Passenger Plane to Fly Around the Sun?

    Q: How Long Would It Take a Passenger Plane to Fly Around the Sun?

    A: A passenger airplane, flying at 600 mph, could circle the sun in just over six months. According to Space.com, the sun is a nearly perfect sphere, and there is essentially no difference in circumference at its equator and the circumference from pole to pole.
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  • How Long Will the Sun Last?

    Q: How Long Will the Sun Last?

    A: The sun will last approximately another five billion years, according to NASA in 2012. The sun's light and heat are generated by the burning, or fusing, of hydrogen gas into helium gas.
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