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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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: 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: 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: How many extrasolar planets have been discovered so far?

    A: About 1,700 extrasolar planets have been discovered so far, including 715 discoveries that were announced in February, 2014 by the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. The newest extrasolar planets were discovered when astronomers examined 305 stars with Kepler, NASA's first extrasolar planet mission. Extrasolar planets, also called exoplanets, are planets that exist outside of the solar system.
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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 big is the universe?

    A: As of 2013, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration determined, with a margin of error of only 0.4 percent, that the universe is infinite in size. The observable universe extends 92 billion light years in diameter. The exact size of the universe, or if there are multiples, is unknown.
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  • Q: How far is the edge of space from Earth?

    A: The edge of space is generally recognized internationally to be at the Kármán Line, which is 62 miles from the surface of Earth. While the exact boundary of space is open to interpretation, this is the definition recognized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
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  • How many solar systems are there in the universe?

    Q: How many solar systems are there in the universe?

    A: There are billions of stars, and no one knows how many solar systems there are. The Earth's galaxy, the Milky Way, is so large that it would take an object 100,000 years to cross it traveling at the speed of light.
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  • Q: What makes up the universe?

    A: The universe is made up of ordinary matter, dark matter and dark energy. Only 4.6 percent of the universe is made from ordinary atoms, the other 95.4 percent is composed of matter that humans cannot see.
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  • What types of information about space are interesting to children?

    Q: What types of information about space are interesting to children?

    A: The type of information about space that is interesting to children includes the number and nature of the planets, the different objects in the universe and the size and nature of the sun. Children find it fascinating to learn that the sun is actually a star that sits at the centre of the solar system. The sun's diameter is 110 times bigger than the earth's and that the sun alone makes up over 99 percent of the solar system's mass.
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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: How far does space go?

    A: From Earth's surface, outer space begins at the somewhat-arbitrary Karman Line, or 100 km up, according to the Space website. From there, the observable universe stretches out without reaching any perceptible boundary.
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  • Q: How was the universe created?

    A: Scientists generally believe that the universe was created from an event known as the Big Bang; however, the actual cause of the Big Bang remains unknown. The phrase "Big Bang" was coined by scientist Fred Hoyle.
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  • Q: What is the current temperature of the universe?

    A: By taking measurements of background microwave radiation, scientists have been able to establish that the average temperature of the universe is just over 2.7 degrees Kelvin. This means that the average temperature of space is just below negative 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
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