Astronomy

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Nicknames for the eight planets in the solar system are Swift Planet for Mercury, Morning Star and Evening Star for Venus, Blue Planet for Earth, Red Planet for Mars, Giant Planet for Jupiter, Ringed Planet for Saturn, Ice Giant for Uranus and Big Blue Planet for Neptune. Pluto was once considered a planet and had the nickname Ice Planet, but it is now classified as a dwarf planet.

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  • What Is the Weather Like on Uranus?

    Q: What Is the Weather Like on Uranus?

    A: With an atmospheric temperature of -224 degrees Celsius and a surface temperature of -197 degrees Celsius, Uranus is a very cold planet with strong winds. It is the coldest planet in the solar system.
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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 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 Are Some Solar System Project Ideas?

    Q: What Are Some Solar System Project Ideas?

    A: A popular solar system project idea is the construction of a solar system model. While the hanging Styrofoam ball model is an easy-to-create option, constructing the solar system in panoramic form in a shoe box can also be fun.
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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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.
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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 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.
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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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 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 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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