The Space Between Planets

The Space Between Planets

Have you ever really sat down to think about how much space there is in the universe? It’s pretty inconceivable, but there are some useful tools that can help put things in perspective. You’ve already seen a scale model of our solar system by...

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The Geminid Meteors

The Geminid Meteors

Nothing is more exciting than looking up and seeing a shooting star streak across the night sky. But we all know it’s not really a star falling from the heavens, but rather a giant ball of rock, ice and dust skimming through the atmosphere. This...

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A Planet Size Comparison

A Planet Size Comparison

A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that: is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, not massive enough to do fusion, and has cleared its neighboring region of planetesimals. Our star (the sun) has 8...

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Look up and Constellations

Look up and Constellations

A constellation is a group of stars that are considered to form imaginary outlines or meaningful patterns on the celestial sphere. They typically represent animals, mythological people, gods or creatures. There are 88 modern constellations, but...

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Looking Back At Cassini

Looking Back At Cassini

NASA’s Cassini orbiter will be ending its mission with a grand finale dive into Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15, but it’s accomplished so much in its nearly 20 years of operation. When it was first launched on October 15, 1997, it was the...

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The Life and Death of Stars

The Life and Death of Stars

Did you know that stars live and die just like other living things?…Okay, maybe not just like them. But they do have a beginning, middle, and end. All stars start out the same way, from a nebula. A nebula, otherwise known as a “star...

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Gravitational Lensing

Gravitational Lensing

Most of us have experienced using a lens in some way, whether it was using glasses, cameras, or our favorite, telescopes. A lens is a piece of glass or other transparent substance with curved sides for concentrating or dispersing light rays. They...

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What’s So Special about the North Star?

What’s So Special about the North Star?

The most famous star in the night sky is undoubtedly the North Star, also known as Polaris. It isn’t the brightest or most spectacular looking star, but it is nevertheless very important. Let’s take a look at why! The image above shows the north...

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You Are Here: Our Place In Space

You Are Here: Our Place In Space

Spend a clear night outside and you might notice something strange about the sky: the stars migrate from horizon to horizon. It’s not quite as obvious as the sun’s motion, but it’s true. Our home star isn’t the only one that appears to rise in...

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#WhySpaceMatters: NASA’s Anniversary

#WhySpaceMatters: NASA’s Anniversary

If you’d like to know what’s out there in the universe, it’s an awfully exciting century to be alive! From Vostok to Hubble to New Horizons, ambitious feats of engineering are bringing our corner of the cosmos into fuller detail and color all the...

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How Many Stars are Out There?

How Many Stars are Out There?

The numbers used in Astronomy are truly staggering.  For starters, the Earth is about 25,000 miles around. The nearest star to us is–obviously–the sun, which is 93 million miles away. To travel that distance, you would have to circle...

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