Cosmology is a branch of astronomy that involves the origin and evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to today and on into the future. According to NASA, the definition of cosmology is “the scientific study of the large scale properties of the universe as a whole.” Cosmologists puzzle over exotic concepts like string … Read more
We often refer to our expanding universe with one simple word: space. But where does space begin and, more importantly, what is it? Space is an almost perfect vacuum, nearly void of matter and with extremely low pressure. In space, sound doesn’t carry because there aren’t molecules close enough together to transmit sound between them. … Read more
Main sequence stars fuse hydrogen atoms to form helium atoms in their cores. About 90 percent of the stars in the universe, including the sun, are main sequence stars. These stars can range from about a tenth of the mass of the sun to up to 200 times as massive. Stars start their lives as … Read more
A red giant is a dying star in the final stages of stellar evolution. In about five billion years, our own sun will turn into a red giant, expand and engulf the inner planets — possibly even Earth. What does the future hold for the light of our solar system and others like it? Star … Read more
Terrestrial planets are Earth-like planets made up of rocks or metals with a hard surface. Terrestrial planets also have a molten heavy-metal core, few moons and topological features such as valleys, volcanoes and craters. In our solar system, there are four terrestrial planets, which also happen to be the four closest to the sun: Mercury, Venus, … Read more
These unique star patterns aren’t as big as constellations. How else do they compare and what are some recognized examples?
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has a very strict definition of the word “planet”. According to the definition – drafted, tweaked, and agreed upon in August 2006 – an astronomical body is officially a planet if it orbits the Sun, has sufficient mass to be spherical, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit. … Read more