Astronomy

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  • Is the sun bigger than the moon and Earth?

    Q: Is the sun bigger than the moon and Earth?

    A: The sun is bigger than both the moon and the Earth. The Earth is approximately 7,926 miles in diameter, while the sun is roughly 900,000 miles in diameter. The moon is smaller than both the sun and the Earth, with a diameter of 2,159.26 miles.
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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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  • 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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  • 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.
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  • How does gravity keep us on Earth?

    Q: How does gravity keep us on Earth?

    A: Gravity is one of the fundamental forces of the universe, and it keeps us on Earth because it is relentlessly attractive. Every massive particle exhibits gravity by pulling closer to every other particle. The strength of this interaction is dependent on two quantities: the amount of mass and the distance between objects. It is possible to escape Earth's gravity if you have enough energy to speed up sufficiently.
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  • How did Galileo impact the world?

    Q: How did Galileo impact the world?

    A: Galileo's main impact on the world was his improvement upon the telescope and being the first to use it in the science of astronomy. He also supported the Copernican system that stated that planets orbit the sun rather than the Earth as the Catholic Church said at the time. His other contribution was to contradict Aristotle's teachings that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones.
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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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  • 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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  • What is the farthest star from Earth?

    Q: What is the farthest star from Earth?

    A: Scientists will never know the farthest star from Earth, as the star is so far away that its light has not, nor will ever, have enough time to reach Earth. Even the stars within the visible universe are far too numerous to count, but the farthest one that humans have ever detected is about 55 million light years away. This incredibly distant star is called SDSS J 122952.66 +112227.8.
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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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Where does the sky end?

    Q: Where does the sky end?

    A: The sky ends at the Karman line, which is located at about 67 miles above sea level. Above this line, space begins. However, technically, the sky does not end so much as the atmosphere, or sky, thins until there is no oxygen left.
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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 types of equipment do astronomers use?

    Q: What types of equipment do astronomers use?

    A: According to NASA, modern astronomers’ tools include advanced telescopes capable of studying light reflected from the sun, moon, planets, comets and stars. Radio telescopes are utilized in the study of radio waves, while space-borne gamma ray telescopes aid in the study of gamma rays.
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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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  • 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 happens to stars as they age?

    Q: What happens to stars as they age?

    A: Stars on the main sequence that are the same size as the Sun begin as yellow stars and turn into red giants as their hydrogen fuel runs out. Other stars shrink or explode, depending on their size.
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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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  • 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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