Cool Stuff In Space

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cool stuff in space

They say that space is the last frontier. We have begun to explore the vast universe that surrounds us. We know that our solar system contains planets, stars, moons, meteors, dust and gas. How many planets, stars, moons, or meteors? Nobody knows for sure, but with the aid of high powered earth based telescopes, images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and space travel and exploration, we are beginning to discover what surrounds our home planet, earth.

Planets

A planet is a celestial body that orbits around a star. In our solar system we have 8 planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. There are two types of planets. Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars are small rocky planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are gaseous planets. Pluto was at one point considered a planet, but in 2006 the International Astronomical Union changed Pluto to a new category known as “dwarf planet”.

Stars
A star is a immense ball of gas that is held together by its own gravity. Like our sun, a star gives off bright light. There are many different types of stars including red dwarfs, yellow stars, blue giants, super giant stars, and more. Our sun is a yellow dwarf star.

Galaxies

A galaxy is a large system of stars and interstellar matter that can be identified as a distinct physical entity. There are different types of galaxies which are named in order of their shapes. There are spiral, lenticular, elliptical, and irregular galaxies. We live in a spiral galaxy called the Milky Way. Our sun is only one of hundreds of billions of stars found in our galaxy.

Moons
 
A moon, which is a natural satellite, is a celestial body that orbits a planet. Our moon is the fifth largest natural satellite in our solar system. The surface of our moon displays many craters from previous meteoroid, comet, and asteroid impacts. While meteoroids come into our earth’s atmosphere, they rarely reach the earth due to the presence of our atmosphere. Our moon has no atmosphere to protect it.
Meteors, Meteorites, Meteoroids
 
A meteor, also known as a shooting star, is a small piece of rock that enters the earth’s atmosphere at a very high rate of speed. The pieces of the remaining rock that came from the meteor and falls to earth are called meteorites. A meteoroid is a piece of space rock that hasn’t come into contact with the earth’s atmosphere.

Nebula

The word “nebula” means cloud. A nebula is an extremely large cloud of dust and gas in outer space. A nebula is usually made up of hydrogen and helium. The images of planetary nebula and other galaxies taken from the Hubble Telescope have captured the imagination of many and have increased the interest in space exploration.

Black Holes
 
It is thought that a black hole forms when a star dies and collapses in on itself. When a black hole forms it has a strong gravitational pull that nothing that comes close to it can escape from. Even light is unable to escape from a black hole. Black hole V404 Cygni is the closest black hole to the earth. It is 7,800 light years from earth.
Man-Made Satellites
 
A satellite is an object that revolves around another object. The first man-made satellite was called Sputnik and was launched by the Russians in 1957. Today there are more than 2,500 satellites orbiting the earth. Not all of the satellites are in working condition.
The International Space Station
 
The International Space Station is the largest man-made satellite that has ever orbited the earth. It is an International research facility. Construction on the space station began in orbit in 1998 and is scheduled to be completed in 2011. From the earth, the International Space Station can be seen with the naked eye.
Man is always striving to learn more about his universe. The study of space is fascinating and modern inventions, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, have made discoveries made during space exploration more accessible for the common man.  With the creation of man-made satellites and the International Space Station, we can continue to learn about the universe around us.

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Oliver Gauss
Oliver has a degree in physics and mathematics and has completed all but his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Physics. He believes actual science should decide scientific disagreements, and that most people who use "science" to defend their emotion-based opinions have no idea what science actually is. Oliver is the editor of WeWantScience.com and has two new sites coming out soon. Stay tuned!