Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Astronomy SCENEsations

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This is for astronomy buffs!

Have you wondered what astronauts see when they float in zero-gravity in their capsule-shaped space shuttle? Or what do scientists know about the heavenly bodies?

Get a load of amazing astronomy-related facts and read on.

§  There’s a star called Epsilon Aurigae. It turns dark every 27 years because there’s a mysterious dark astronomical object which eclipses it. And that “eclipsing” happens every 27 years.

§  The Great Red Spot, the popular “blemish” on Jupiter’s vast surface, is actually a storm. That storm has been broiling on Jupiter’s surface for more than 300 years! That storm is so big that you can fit dozens of Earth-sized planets in it.

§  On Mercury, the planet in our solar system that’s closest to the sun, daytime is crazy and weird. During the day, the sun will rise, stop, then “turns” backwards – thus setting exactly where it first rose. Another fact about Mercury is that it has no atmosphere, so it cannot absorb heat from the sun. The side of Mercury that’s away from the sun is icy even if the other side facing the sun is fiery hot.

§  In our solar system, there are only two planets that rotate clockwise on their axes. They are Venus and Uranus. The rest, including the earth, rotate counterclockwise.

§  Another exciting fact about Uranus is that its poles get 42 years of nonstop sunlight then another 42 years of nonstop darkness.

§  The beautifully ringed giant planet Saturn – it floats on water! That’s because its density (mass per unit volume) is lower than that of water.

§  A neutron star, a type of star, has such an impressive density. If you scoop even a teaspoonful of the matter that makes it up, that “teaspoonful of a neutron star” will be heavier than all the people on Earth put together.

§  Recently, a star has been discovered somewhere in a constellation called Centaurus. The star has been nicknamed, “Lucy.” That star is a giant diamond!

§  Each time you look up to the skies, you actually travel in time. The light from distant galaxies and stars has taken a loooong time to get to us, like thousands or millions of years ago. That means, that “twinkling” that you see, that has happened even before the dinosaurs existed. And you only see the light now.

For more easy and fun science facts, projects, and activities that are perfect for your grade-schooler, be sure to check out “The Amazing Science Discovery Series” at