Astronomy

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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 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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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.
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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 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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 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 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 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.
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  • What is the primary purpose of an astronomical telescope?

    Q: What is the primary purpose of an astronomical telescope?

    A: The astronomical telescope is a central apparatus used to study distant planets, stars and moons from the Earth. Astronomer Galileo Galilei famously used the earliest telescopes in 1610 to prove the heliocentric solar system theory put forth by Nicolaus Copernicus in the early 16th century.
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