Astronomy for You, with Ms. K. Let’s begin with our very own star…. Fun Sun Facts: The sun is 4.6 billion years old (the life cycle of a star is about 10 billion years). So, how big is a billion???
Fun Sun Facts:
The sun is 4.6 billion years old (the life cycle of a star is about 10 billion years). So, how big is a billion???
Stars are hot (5,500°C at the surface, 15 million°C at its core) glowing balls made of about 92% hydrogen and 8% helium, held together by its own gravity. They glow through nuclear fusion.
Our star is 150 million km away and the light takes 8 minutes to reach Earth.
Over 1 million Earths could fit inside the Sun.
•There are over 100 billion galaxies (large collections of stars) in our known universe and an estimated 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
•Two thirds of the galaxies are spirals like the Milky Way, the rest are elliptical or toothpick shapes.
•Scientists believe the universe is expanding from a single point in space since the Big Bang, 14 billion years ago.
•We cannot see 95% of the known universe… it is in the form of dark energy and dark matter!
The nearest large galaxy to our own and the farthest “naked eye” object that can be seen from Earth (though a very dark sky is necessary).
Black holes are not empty spaces in the Universe. A black hole is a great amount of matter packed into a very small area, which results in a gravitational field so strong that nothing -- not even light -- can escape.
There are many kinds of black holes…and astronomers are discovering more all the time, observing with x-ray and radio wave telescopes.
Outside of our solar system, over 1,700 planets have been indentified. Some of these are “M-class” or capable of sustaining earth-like life forms.
Our solar system has eight planets, since Pluto was declared a dwarf planet (since it obviously did not form in the original accretion disc of the solar system)
Want to know more?
Yes, we are looking! And volunteer scientists can use their home computers to create “super-computers” to crunch the data. There are many other important science missions as well. Solar system space is being explored by many unmanned spacecraft.
Comet Tempel 1, photo taken by a research orbiter 67 seconds after an impacter hit the surface.
Is it possible at all for humans to achieve warp drive, like you see in Star Trek? A 2009 page from NASA said scientists aren’t sure about that.
“We are at the point where we know what we do know and know what we don’t, but do not know for sure if faster than light travel is possible,”