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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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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  • Why Is It That Stars Twinkle but Planets Do Not?

    Q: Why Is It That Stars Twinkle but Planets Do Not?

    A: Stars twinkle because they are point light sources. Passing through the atmosphere, the small beam of light constantly shifts by bouncing off particles in the air. Planets are closer, so they appear as discs, with the shifting of light from one side cancelling out the other.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 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 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 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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