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Astronomy

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Viewing the Moon's Geology

The entire moon is pockmarked with craters of every size, from microscopic pits to basins hundreds of miles in diameter. The largest is the South Pole-Aitken Basin, which is about 1,600 miles [more…]

Astronomy -- The Celestial Pole

Over the course of the night, stars move across the sky from east to west as a consequence of Earth's rotation on its axis. The stars appear to move in circular paths around a [more…]

Solar Activity: What's Going On Out There?

The term solar activity refers to all kinds of disturbances that take place on the sun from moment to moment and from one day to the next. All forms of solar activity, including the 11-year sunspot cycle [more…]

Finding Extrasolar Planets

Astronomers have believed for decades that planets are plentiful, simply because the birth of a star is inevitably accompanied by leftover material — a messy residue of gas and dust that can turn into [more…]

Taking a Shine to Nebulae

A nebula is a cloud of gas and dust in space ("dust" meaning microscopic solid particles, which may be made of silicate rock, carbon, ice, or various combinations of those substances; [more…]

Making Interstellar Travel Possible

For those of us who keep our eyes fixed to the heavens, Einstein's theory of special relativity has thrilling implications. Namely, the relativity of time and space allows for the possibility of human [more…]

Astronomy -- Time to Practice Saving the World

Ever wonder what would happen if the Earth were ever really threatened by an incoming asteroid just like in the movies? Well, some in the European Space Agency have been thinking about it, too. [more…]

ASL: How to Sign about the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Take a moment, the next time you’re outside, and look up. Do you see the sun, moon, stars? You can communicate their beauty through their American Sign Language [more…]

How to Measure the Distance to the Moon Using Trig

One of the earliest applications of trigonometry was in measuring distances that you couldn’t reach, such as distances to planets or the moon or to places on the other side of the world. Here’s an example [more…]

Explore Space with the Star Walk App for iPad

A purely astronomy-oriented app, Star Walk brings the heavens straight down to your iPad. It has several features, but when you first open it, you'll be asked for your current location. Once you've given [more…]

A Rough Timeline of the Universe

Probing back to the origin of the universe involves a lot of estimation and guesswork. Imagine that the word ‘roughly’ is written before each date! [more…]

The Origins of the Universe Glossary

Understanding the technical jargon that makes up the science behind understanding the origins of the universe is made a little simpler with this helpful glossary. [more…]

The Origins of the Universe For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

One of the most fundamental questions of all time is: where do I come from? Delving into the science of the origins of the universe, this Cheat Sheet gives you a rough timeline of the Big Bang and a glossary [more…]

String Theory Tries to Explain Black Holes

A major motivating factor for the search for a theory of quantum gravity is to explain the behavior of black holes, and string theory appears to be one of the best methods of achieving that goal. [more…]

String Theory: Big Bangs and Crunches

String theory may offer some answers to what came before and what caused the big bang. In fact, under the big bang theory — formulated in a universe of quantum physics and relativity — the laws of physics [more…]

Does String Theory Describe Our Universe?

Now comes the real science question related to string theory: Does it describe our universe? The short answer is that no, it does not. It can be written in such a way to describe some idealized worlds [more…]

String Theory: Plurality of Worlds in Early Astronomy

Before string theory was a theory, early astronomy provided some support for the existence of a plurality of worlds, a view that was so controversial that it contributed to at least one man’s death. These [more…]

How to Calculate a Satellite’s Speed around the Earth

In space, gravity supplies the centripetal force that causes satellites (like the moon) to orbit larger bodies (like the Earth). Thanks to physics, if you know the mass and altitude of a satellite in orbit [more…]

An Astronomical Timeline

The study of astronomy is vast and encompasses a huge amount of information. This chart represents important events in astronomy, like discoveries and inventions that have impacted astronomy through the [more…]

The Space Age

The Space Age, generally considered started by the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik, is defined by the events surrounding space exploration and development of space technology. This list maps out [more…]

Famous Women in Astronomy

When you’re studying astronomy don’t forget the women that made an impact in the field. Check out this list of amazing achievements by women astronomers and astrophysicists: [more…]

Focusing with Binoculars for Stargazing

If you use binoculars for your stargazing, you need to get them into focus before you begin. Once your binoculars are focused, the stars you see should look incredibly sharp. You can focus most binoculars [more…]

Aligning Your Telescope and Finderscope for Stargazing

When you use a telescope for your stargazing, it usually comes with a finderscope, a small attachment which allows you to focus on the correct part of the sky. To align your finderscope and telescope: [more…]

Using the Big Dipper as a Stargazing Signpost

One of the great signposts in the northern hemisphere sky is the Big Dipper, also known as the Plough, an asterism in the constellation of Ursa Major. If you can find the Big Dipper, then you’re well on [more…]

Using Orion as a Stargazing Signpost

Orion is great signpost constellation to use for your stargazing. In fact, it may be the very best, because you can use the stars of Orion to find seven other constellations immediately around it. [more…]

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