Universe

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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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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: 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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  • Q: Where is Nibiru located?

    A: No one is sure of the location of Nibiru or whether it actually exists. Nibiru has never been seen, and there is no scientific or astronomical evidence of its existence as of 2015. Sometimes referred to as Planet X, Nibiru is an alleged planetary mass beyond Neptune.
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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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  • 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 is the ultimate fate of an open universe?

    A: Although the ultimate fate of the universe is a largely debated topic, according to the University of Tennessee, in an open universe the universe will continue to expand forever. This is due to insufficient mass to cause the expansion to stop.
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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: 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: How big is space?

    A: As far as humans can tell, space is infinite; it has no end or borders. Scientists believe that space will always seem infinite to humans for two reasons. First, our investigation of space has never found an edge (or any indications of an edge). Second, measurements show that space is expanding faster and faster, which pushes the edges of the universe ? if there are any ? ever farther out.
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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: 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: 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: Is the universe flat?

    A: As of 2014, the universe is believed to be flat, according to the inflationary theory. This theory has to do with the density of the universe and suggests that the universe must be flat as piece of paper.
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