Universe

A:

It is impossible to determine who discovered Saturn, as it is one of five planets that are visible without the aid of instruments. Saturn has been widely observed by people for thousands of years, although its unique and complex system of rings are only visible using a telescope.

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  • Do the planets travel around the sun in a path called an orbit?

    Q: Do the planets travel around the sun in a path called an orbit?

    A: Planets travel around the sun in paths called orbits. Each planet has its own orbit around the sun, and one orbit around the sun is called a year. All planets travel in the same direction around the sun.
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  • Who discovered the planet Saturn?

    Q: Who discovered the planet Saturn?

    A: It is impossible to determine who discovered Saturn, as it is one of five planets that are visible without the aid of instruments. Saturn has been widely observed by people for thousands of years, although its unique and complex system of rings are only visible using a telescope.
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  • What happens after a supernova?

    Q: What happens after a supernova?

    A: Depending on the size of the star before it explodes as a supernova, the core of the star either shrinks back into a tiny neutron star or becomes a black hole. If the star is only a few times bigger than the sun, the core becomes a tiny neutron star. If the star is much bigger than the sun, the chances of it becoming a black hole are much greater.
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  • How many modern constellations are there?

    Q: How many modern constellations are there?

    A: As of 2014, there are 41 modern constellations, which are constellations added to the catalogue after 1600. Four of them, Carina, Puppis, Pyxis and Vela are derived from Argo, a constellation catalogued by Ptolemy.
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  • What is the temperature of a black hole?

    Q: What is the temperature of a black hole?

    A: According to NASA, the temperature of a black hole with the mass of the sun is only one ten-millionth of a degree over absolute zero. Scientists determine this by measuring the temperature of the radiation that comes from a black hole.
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  • Why do some stars appear brighter than others?

    Q: Why do some stars appear brighter than others?

    A: The apparent brightness of a star viewed from Earth varies based both on the type of star and its distance from the planet. The apparent magnitude differs from a star's absolute magnitude, which describes its brightness from a set distance, rather than the varying distances of stars seen from Earth. The lower the apparent magnitude, the brighter the star is as seen from Earth.
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  • Why did people once believe that Earth was the center of the Universe?

    Q: Why did people once believe that Earth was the center of the Universe?

    A: The belief of early astronomers that the Earth was the center of the universe stemmed from limited astronomical tools and geocentric attitudes. The Ptolemaic Model, developed around 100 A.D., presented the Earth-centered solar system in which most early Roman astronomers believed.
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  • What are some facts about the Aurora Borealis?

    Q: What are some facts about the Aurora Borealis?

    A: Aurora Borealis occurs when materials from the surface of the Sun collide with the atmosphere of the Earth. Experts make predictions about the occurrence of Aurora Borealis based on events taking place on the Sun and the speed of matter being thrown from the Sun's surface. Aurora Borealis is visible in portions of the Northern Hemisphere, including Canada, Scandinavia, North America, Siberia and Northern Europe.
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  • How many solar systems are there?

    Q: How many solar systems are there?

    A: The exact number of solar systems is not known. According to NASA, there are more than 100 billion galaxies within the universe. One of these galaxies is the Milky Way galaxy, where our solar system is located.
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  • What color is the universe?

    Q: What color is the universe?

    A: When gazing at the starry night sky, you might imagine that the color of the universe is a dark shade of midnight blue. However, the average color is much brighter than that. When all of the universe’s light is averaged together, the resulting color is a much less mysterious light beige.
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  • Q: Are humans alone in the universe?

    A: Whether humans are the only intelligent life to have evolved in the universe cannot be answered with certainty, but a probability can be assigned to the proposition. Accurately estimating the number of advanced civilizations in existence is done by assessing the number of opportunities for intelligent life to evolve and contrasting that with the improbability of various stages in the development of a civilization.
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  • Q: What does the Milky Way Galaxy look like?

    A: The Earth's home galaxy, the Milky Way, is known as a spiral galaxy because of its shape when viewed face-on. If seen edge-on, the galaxy would appear to be a flat disk-like structure.
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  • Q: How do you explain the Big Bang Theory to kids?

    A: Explain the Big Bang Theory to kids using simple terminology and metaphors they can understand to help them relate the new concepts to concepts they already know. For example, remind them that one year is the amount of time it takes to get from one birthday to the next to help them understand just how long ago it was 14 billion years ago, when scientists believed the big bang occurred.
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  • Q: What are Edgar Cayce's thoughts on black holes?

    A: The writings and revelations of Edgar Cayce may be mute on the topic of black holes specifically, but he does refer to what he terms "the outer darkness," a region devoid of light, love and life that some may encounter at the time of death. Cayce's description of the outer darkness, denser in its center than at its outer edges, resemble some characteristics of the present-day understanding of black holes.
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  • Q: Who disproved the Ptolemaic theory of the universe?

    A: Nicolaus Copernicus' 16th-century assertion that the Ptolemaic theory of the solar system was wrong was considered revolutionary. However, his published findings in 1514 weren't widely accepted because his studies were based on naked-eye observations. Galileo Galilei used a telescope to disprove the Earth-centered solar system.
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  • Q: What is believed to be the origin of giant elliptical galaxies?

    A: Giant elliptical galaxies form early in the life of local galactic clusters as members of the group pass close by each other and begin to merge, according to John Dubinski for the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. In any sizable galactic cluster, some galaxies near the core of the group gravitationally interact with each other, exchange material and eventually fall together to form the core of the central elliptical giant.
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  • Q: What percentage of the universe have scientists been able to map?

    A: Scientists estimate that they have mapped 0.42 percent of the observable night time sky as of 2015, but they have no way of determining what percentage of the entire universe the observable portion comprises. They hope to map 12.5 percent of the observable portion by 2018.
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  • Q: What is the best estimate scientists have made of the physical size of the universe?

    A: The best estimate of scientists trying to quantify the size of the universe place estimates on the observable portion at 46 billion light years from earth to the observable edge, or approximately 91 billion light years in diameter. However, there are some fundamental flaws with this approach.
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  • Q: What are the differences between the solar system and the Milky Way Galaxy?

    A: The solar system is a system in the universe that is comprised of the Sun, eight official planets, three dwarf planets and approximately 130 satellites of the planets, according to Nine Planets. Besides these bodies, the solar system also has numerous comets and asteroids, which are smaller. On the other hand, the Milky Way is the galaxy within which the solar system falls.
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  • Q: What is beyond the universe?

    A: It is impossible to know what lies beyond the universe. Our modern technology can only detect the light that has had the time to reach us, making it impossible to even estimate the size of our universe.
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  • Q: Did the idea of a heliocentric view of the solar system originate with Copernicus?

    A: The ancient Greek astronomer and mathematician known as Aristarchus of Samos was the first person to propose a heliocentric view of the solar system. He lived circa 310 B.C. to 230 B.C. and stated that the Earth, like other planets, orbited the sun, which he regarded as the universe's center.
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