Category Archives: astronomy

Spacecraft in the Solar System

As we have learned so much about the solar system, much of our knowledge comes from telescopic observations, ground-based and those in Earth’s orbit, as well as spacecraft explorations. Robotic spacecraft operate primarily with preprogrammed instructions and carry radios that allow them to communicate with controllers on Earth. Having sent robotic spacecraft missions to numerousContinue reading “Spacecraft in the Solar System” Continue reading Continue reading

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Spectroscopy and Space

Although Isaac Newton’s most famous contributions to astronomy are his laws of motion and gravitation, which he published in Principia, Newton also founded modern spectroscopy by publishing his second work, Opticks. Spectroscopy is an essential tool for astronomers because it allows them to not only analyze the presence of certain chemical elements, but also physicalContinue reading “Spectroscopy and Space” Continue reading Continue reading

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The History of Astronomy

Astronomy, the scientific study of the universe and of the objects that exist naturally in space, is one of the oldest natural sciences to reach a high level of sophistication. The history of this science has impressive continuity and duration, as observed changes would take thousands, millions, and even billions of years. In 3000 BC,Continue reading “The History of Astronomy” Continue reading Continue reading

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Unfathomably Insignificant

It never fails to boggle my mind whenever I think about how vast and endless our universe truly is. Our cosmic address in the universe, beginning on Earth, to within our solar system, within the Milky Way Galaxy, within our Local Galactic Group, within the Virgo Supercluster, and within our Local Superclusters, is unbelievably microscopicContinue reading “Unfathomably Insignificant” Continue reading Continue reading

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exo… moons?

What are exomoons? Well, we have already studied exoplanets (short for extra-solar planets) which are planets that are not from our star system.  Accordingly, exo-moons are moons that orbit planets that orbit stars that aren’t the Sun.  Sounds pretty cool, right?  Well exomoons get even more interesting.  In fact, exomoons are currently the subject of…

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Dark Matter and Dark Energy

One of the more peculiar parts of our universe is the presence of a great deal of mass that we cannot see. When looking at the gravitational effects on the mass in the universe, it is apparent that a significant amount of matter must be present but is not visible to us, leading to its … Continue reading Dark Matter and Dark Energy Continue reading Continue reading

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Archeoastronomy and the Newgrange monument

Newgrange is a monument located in County Meath, Ireland.  This mysterious structure is estimated to be over 5,000 years old and was built by ancient inhabitants of Ireland during the Neolithic period.  Since its construction, word of the structure was passed down through generations as part of Irish folklore.  In the meantime, the mound-like shape…

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Retrograde Motion simplified.

The path of Mars, as viewed from the Earth.          Retrograde motion is the apparent backward motion of a planet caused by its being lapped by another planet, or vice-versa.1  These two planets are usually on two different orbits, a larger one and a smaller one, and they move around the sun … Continue reading Retrograde Motion simplified. Continue reading Continue reading

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Copernicus in Context

Nicolaus Copernicus Nicolaus Copernicus was born February 19, 1473 and died May 24, 1543. Copernicus‘ most important contribution to astronomy is his heliocentric model of the solar system that placed the Sun at a fixed point in the center, and depicted the planets orbiting the Sun. In this model, Earth was just another planet. The … Continue reading Copernicus in Context Continue reading Continue reading

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Using Stellarium for observing

“Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.” – Stellarium webpage   Stellarium is an amazing bit of software to use for help with astronomical observing.  It is free 🙂 and you can…

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