Universe

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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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Q: How do you make a model of a solar system?

    A: One of the easiest ways to make a model of a solar system is to cut circles from cardboard to represent the planets and hang them in orbits from a larger circle. Use nine circles to represent the eight planets and the sun.
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  • Q: How does gravity affect the Earth?

    A: An important effect of gravity on the Earth is that the sun's gravity is responsible for the Earth's regular orbit through the solar system. The Earth travels at a velocity that approximates the force the sun exerts on the planet, resulting in a regular orbit. Without gravity, the planet would spin away into space, and if gravity was suddenly increased, it would eventually spiral into the star's fiery surface.
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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: Are there other universes out there?

    A: There is no definitive answer as to whether other universes exist, although many astronomers believe it is highly likely and have several theories on how or where they exist. Some people theorize that an infinite number of universes could have formed following the Big Bang, with each one having its own laws of physics.
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  • Q: What is the no boundary universe theory?

    A: The no boundary theory of the universe likens the universe to the Earth, in that is impossible to find any boundaries traveling around the Earth or to fall off it. This is possible as a result of theorizing that prior to the Big Bang, the generally accepted laws of physics did not apply and that the concept of time as we know it did not exist.
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  • What does NASA say about galactic alignment?

    Q: What does NASA say about galactic alignment?

    A: According to NASA, the sun aligns with the center of the Milky Way galaxy as compared to the Earth every December when the sun enters Sagittarius. Doomsday predictions about the winter solstice of December 2012 revolved around the alignment of the sun, Earth and the galactic center. The sun and moon tug on the planet more than the galactic center, so galactic alignment does not alter the Earth whatsoever.
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  • Q: What is gravitational attraction?

    A: Gravitational attraction is the force that draws two objects together. It is governed by the law of universal gravitation, which states that the force of attraction between two objects is related to the mass of the objects and inversely related to the distance between the two.
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  • Q: Where was the sun in Ptolemy's model of the universe?

    A: Ptolemy's model of the universe was geocentric, containing the Earth at the center with a series of circles, called deferents, moving outward from the Earth, containing the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Ptolemy placed fixed stars and the Primum Mobile in the spheres after Saturn.
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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 did Nicolaus Copernicus discover?

    A: Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish scientist who is credited with the early 16th-century discovery that the sun is the center of the universe and that Earth and several other planets orbit it. Copernicus' discovery, which subsequent astronomers expanded on, has become known as the heliocentric solar system.
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  • Q: Does the universe end?

    A: Scientists believe the Universe is infinitely large and does not end. However, only part of the Universe is visible from Earth. The Observable Universe is a sphere around the Earth, and anything beyond this sphere cannot be observed from Earth because of continuing expansion over a long period of time.
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  • Q: How does gravity hold the universe together?

    A: Gravity holds the universe together by keeping the large bodies that make up the universe together. It keeps the Earth in orbit around the sun, the sun in orbit around the center of the Milky Way and the Milky Way bound to other nearby galaxies known as the Local Group.
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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: 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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