The Sun is the primary source of energy for Earth’s climate system, and the life on Earth. With a diameter of about 1.39 million kilometers (864,337 miles, i.e. 109 times that of Earth), and a mass about 1.9885×1030 kg (330,000 times that of Earth, accounting for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System), it may be the biggest thing in this neighborhood, but it is actually just a medium-sized star among the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. In the video published by the CAMENGAT creative astronomy below, you can see some dwarf stars and other giants compared to the Sun at the edge of its sphere: at 150 million kilometers (1 AUNotes 1) with a 50 mm objective. The stars are the Sun, Alpha Centauri A, Sirius, Vega, Pollux, Arcturus, Aldebaran, Rigel, Antares, and Betelgeuse. The scenario: Astronomical Observatory of Paranal, Chile.
Continue reading Watch: what other stars would look like in the place of the Sun
ESA’s (European Space Agency) Gaia spacecraft has created the most accurate and detailed map of the Milky Way galaxy (and beyond) to date. The map includes high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars and reveals previously unseen details of our home Galaxy. It is the second iteration of the map and published by ESA on April 25, 2018.
Continue reading ESA’s Gaia has Created the Most Detailed Map of the Milky Way
You can help NASA on some projects: for instance, citizen scientists helped NASA identify an aurora-related celestial phenomenon, now called STEVE. Want to become a citizen scientist? You can find projects on NASA website.
Continue reading Want to Become a Citizen Scientist for NASA?
Will we ever visit other stars? Maybe, in the distant future, if humans won’t become extinct, our grand grand … (insert a hundred or a thousand grands here) children can stand on an exoplanet’s surface someday. But, we don’t have to wait. NASA has opened a new web page, an “Exoplanet Travel Bureau”, and we can, at least, see the artists’ imaginations of what an exoplanet surface look like, based on available data. NASA warns, there are no actual images of the exoplanets, obviously. With interactive 3D images, it is still an exciting experience.
Continue reading Exoplanet Travel Bureau by NASA – Interactive 3D Images
How old is the Earth? This question preoccupied first philosophers, then scientists, for many centuries. Today, we know that the age of the Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years, with an error range of about 50 million years (4.54 × 109years ± 1%). This number is based on evidence from radiometric dating of the oldest-known terrestrial rocks as well as lunar rock samplesNotes 1 and meteorites.
Continue reading The Earth is 18 Galactic Years Old
In 1054 A.D, a new, very bright star has appeared in Earth’s sky, in the constellation Taurus. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arab astronomers observed the event and noted: “a new bright star emerged in the heavens”. The star was so bright: for nearly three weeks, it was visible even during the daytime, under the hot, shiny summer sun, and remained visible for around two years (653 days to be exact). Today, we know that that “heavenly star” was actually a supernova (SN 1054), and its remnant is what we now know as the Crab Nebula today (catalogue designations M1, NGC 1952, Taurus A).
Continue reading A new star in heavens: how Crab Nebula was born
Now we’re living on a warm, hospitable planet. As Carl Sagan has said “That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.” We, humans, are the unquestionable rulers of our little oasis in a hostile universe. But all things must pass. The life on Earth, even the planet itself, won’t last forever. What’s more, the humans may go extinct before our planet (and probably before the life on it) dies out.
Here some possible (and horrible) ways how planet Earth could die.
Continue reading How Earth Could Die – 8 Horrible Ways
Our Solar system is big, and vast, despite it is really small compared to our galaxy, not to mention the complete universe. To put this into a perspective, you can think yourself as a photon emitted by the Sun. It takes about 8 minutes to reach the Earth after a photon has been emitted from the Sun’s surface. And it takes 5 hours to get out to Pluto from the Earth. The edge of the Solar System is far beyond the orbit of Pluto.
Continue reading Leaving Solar System at the Speed Of Light
Two stars may collide into a stunning “red nova” in 2022 (or a few months earlier, most probably between September 2021 and September 2022), and for a few weeks become one of the brightest objects in Earth’s night sky, scientists predict. When two stars merge, they increase in brightness 10 thousandfold.
Continue reading Two stars may collide and light up night sky in 2022
Andromeda Galaxy is the farthest object in the sky that we can see with the naked eye. But if you don’t know where to look, you won’t notice it. But if it were much more brighter, its appearance in the sky would be sensational. The moon is a good reference about what we’d see in the image below:
Continue reading If Andromeda Galaxy were brighter, this is what we’d see