Category Archives: Observables

things we can see from Earth using our eyeballs or telescopes

Our Milky Way Galaxy

The Milky Way is a large barred spiral galaxy with four arms: the Sagittarius arm, Perseus arm, Outer arm, and Scutum-Centaurus arm. Majority of the stars in the Milky Way are single or binary stars; however, there are three distinct types of star clusters, collections of tens to thousands of stars, within the galaxy. TheseContinue reading “Our Milky Way Galaxy” Continue reading

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Shepherd Moons

Saturn is known for its rings. For years, astronomers wondered what they were. Now we know that the rings of Saturn are made up of lots of icy particles ranging from the size of a grain of sand to a boulder. These particles comprise many different individual rings. The rings are flat, and appear toContinue reading “Shepherd Moons” Continue reading

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Ultima Thule: The Space Peanut

When the New Horizon spacecraft set out into our solar system in January of 2006, we felt like we had a pretty good idea of all the possible things we could find in our solar system. While we may find some surprises, we figured everything would be mostly roundish, and composed of some rocky/icy surfaceContinue reading “Ultima Thule: The Space Peanut” Continue reading

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Comets: A Bunch of “Dirty Snowballs”

It is only right to dedicate a blog post to the very things that inspired my username: comets! Comets are small objects that orbit the Sun and tend to have more eccentric orbits than other bodies in the solar system. A comet consists of a nucleus, coma, ion tail, and dust tail. The nucleus is solidContinue reading “Comets: A Bunch of “Dirty Snowballs”” Continue reading

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Historical Views of Comets

According to NASA, comets are “frozen leftovers from the formation of the solar system composed of dust, rock and ices.  They range from a few miles to tens of miles wide, but as they orbit closer to the sun, they heat up and spew gases and dust into a glowing head that can be largerContinue reading “Historical Views of Comets” Continue reading

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The Death Star

Saturn is the mooniest planet in our Solar System, with us having discovered over 80 of them. While many moons have interesting features, only one of them look like they could destroy Alderaan. Say hello to the moon Mimas, which as you may notice, looks a bit familiar. That’s right, Mimas look like the DeathContinue reading “The Death Star” Continue reading

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Scenes from Hubble: Saturn’s Seasons

Images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope show changing seasons on the gas giant, Saturn. Saturn has a slower orbit than Earth (29 years to orbit the sun!), which makes each “season” on the planet over 7 years long. Similar to Earth, Saturn is tilted on an axis, which affects the intensity of sunlight on sides … Continue reading Scenes from Hubble: Saturn’s Seasons Continue reading

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The Northern Lights: Mythical Explanations

For thousands of years, humans have looked to the sky, and every time we uncover an astronomical surprise, we try to explain it.  Today, we use the scientific method to do so; in comparison, older societies frequently created myths.  In this blog post, I am going to explore some of the myths surrounding the NorthernContinue reading “The Northern Lights: Mythical Explanations” Continue reading

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No sunspots on the Sun?

Have you ever seen pictures of the Sun and noticed that it has dark spots on its surface? These sunspots are cooler than the other regions on the Sun, but they also represent the beginning of new solar cycles. In fact, some signs point to the next cycle, Cycle 25, having a much smaller numberContinue reading “No sunspots on the Sun?” Continue reading

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The Carrington Event: What would happen today?

The Carrington Event, named due to astronomer Robert Carrington observing that the phenomenon derived from the Sun, was an extremely powerful geomagnetic storm occurring on September 1-2, 1859. Earth’s magnetosphere was hit by a solar coronal mass ejection, or CME, from sunspots, causing auroras to light up Earth’s sky, telegraph and other communication to fail,Continue reading “The Carrington Event: What would happen today?” Continue reading

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