Author Archives: vmorehead0

The Comet Time Forgot… Until Now

A stone carving at a major archaeological site suggests a comet struck Earth thousands of years ago and started an ice age. Göbekli Tepe is an archaeological site located in modern-day Turkey.  Built before Stonehenge, it served as an ancient temple site and religious center where multiple people would gather, but it also seemed to have been an astronomy … Continue reading The Comet Time Forgot… Until NowContinue reading Continue reading

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An Exoplanet Near You

Last year, in August 2016, astronomers discovered an exoplanet within Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our Sun.  Only 4.3 light-years away, Alpha Centauri consists of the binary stars Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, and the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri.  Orbiting in the habitable zone of this red dwarf is an exoplanet named Proxima Centauri-b. … Continue reading An Exoplanet Near YouContinue reading Continue reading

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Give Neptune a Second Chance– and hopefully some more

Throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries, NASA has made many successful spacecraft expeditions to the Jovian planets.  Jupiter has been visited by Pioneer 10 (1972), Pioneer 11 (1973), Voyager 1 (1977), Galileo (1195-2003), and New Horizons (2007).  Saturn as well has also been visited by Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, and Cassini, which has orbited the planet … Continue reading Give Neptune a Second Chance– and hopefully some moreContinue reading Continue reading

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Volcanism on Io

From the four Galilean moons of Jupiter, Io stands out as having a great amount of volcanic activity.  Before it was observed via spacecraft, scientists believed all moons were cold and barren like Earth’s moon.  However, on March 8, 1979, Voyager 1 captured a mysterious plume rising from Io.  Scientists identified this as a volcanic eruption, which made Io … Continue reading Volcanism on IoContinue reading Continue reading

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Birth of the Solar System

For about 4 billion years, Earth has rather peacefully orbited the Sun along with its seven  fellow planets.  While this may feel how it has always been, this was not the case.  The creation of our planet and Solar System involved intense, powerful forces at work.  The video clip from Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe series, “Formation of … Continue reading Birth of the Solar SystemContinue reading Continue reading

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Friday Night Spectacle

Tonight, on this February 10th, there is supposed to be a full moon, a lunar eclipse, and a comet, all of which are supposed to be visible. This month’s full moon is called the “Snow Moon.”  This name came from Native American tradition, in which the full moons of each month bore different names.  However, this full moon … Continue reading Friday Night SpectacleContinue reading Continue reading

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Galileo’s Telescope

Most people credit Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) with building the first telescope.  He did not, but he made great improvements and ingenious use of the instrument. Before the telescope were lenses.  In the 13th century, Italian artisans created lenses for glasses to be worn by scholars with failing eyesight.  The process of making glass was difficult, as unrefined … Continue reading Galileo’s TelescopeContinue reading Continue reading

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Powers of Ten–Our Big Universe

In 1977, Charles and Ray Eames produced a documentary about the scale of the universe.  This documentary, Powers of Ten: A Film Dealing with the Relative Size of Things in the Universe and the Effect of Adding Another Zero, compared the relative sizes of people, locations, planets, and galaxies in our universe.  The film achieved this comparison by … Continue reading Powers of Ten–Our Big UniverseContinue reading Continue reading

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