Space Highways, what are they?

The picture at the top is one of Elon Musk’s car that was sent to space using the Falcon Heavy rocket (as a proof that the rocket is ready). No one wanted to send a satellite on a brand new rocket so SpaceX decided on creating a stun instead by sending a car with cameras. The camera feeds were live for a while. (See Source for more info and copyright information)

Think of a highway of sorts, winding through planets and the Sun creating tunnels – that is essentially what space highways are. These gravitational channels are created when stellar objects, such as planets within our solar system, tug at each other creating forces between them. These forces act like ocean currents that can be used to propel objects that come into these areas. When a spacecraft moves into these tunnels, the forces can be used to push it to its intended destination.

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10 Things to See With a Small Telescope

Saturn as seen by Cassini when the Sun is eclipsed by the planet.

If you just recently bought your small telescope, I’m sure you’re excited to explore the skies and find out just how much of the universe you can observe. The universe is vast and interesting. Pop culture itself references a lot from outer space; Harry Potter, Star Trek, Big Bang Theory, and many more shows have made references to constellations or objects found in outer space. There is so much to see and so much to learn, and yes, with a small telescope you can discover so much of what the outer space has to offer. We will detail just a few of these great wonders that you should be on the look-out for.

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Dimensions and Distances

Compare the size of known stars

Image above:
Left: The Earth compared to our Sun.
Right: Our sun (one pixel) compared to VV Cephei

Our universe is vast, however, from our little area of space, we can assume that what we can see is the biggest that there is out there. This is not true, our sun for example is an average size star in comparison to some of the biggest stars out there like UY Scuti. The UY Scuti star is approximately 30 times our sun’s mass. The Voyager 1 Spacecraft is another example, heading out of our solar system at 62,000 kilometers per hour, it is still expected that it will take 77,000 years for it to reach the closest star.

To give us a greater perspective, when the Space Shuttle goes into space, it orbits approximately 700 kilometers above the earth. The moon on the other hand is 400,000 kilometers away, which is equivalent to going around the earth about 10 times. The distance between Earth and Mars is 78,000,000 kilometers, and the distance between Neptune and Earth is 4,350,000,000 kilometers.

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ʻOumuamua a special asteroid that gave us a surprise visit in 2017

Oumuamua Simulation

In October 2017, an astronomer observed an object zooming past our sun at an incredible speed. The astronomer was Robert J. Weryk, and he noticed this bizarre object while he was recording images at the Haleakala observatory in Hawaii. This object was then named ʻOumuamua which loosely translates to a messenger from afar arriving first or scout. Apart from its drastic speed of 94,800 km/h (58,900 mph), its strange inclination clued astronomers to the fact that it was not from our solar system. It had traveled on a U-shaped hyperbolic orbit around the sun and was going back into interstellar space. The object was observed by the PAN-STARRS-1, 40 days after it made its closest journey to the sun, this was at 0.25 AU. It was also observed to be spinning rapidly. 

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What Are Black Holes?

Image of a black hole

Black holes are one of the most fascinating aspects of space. They have such an extreme gravitational pull that not even light can escape. They are so phenomenal that they are said to have the ability to alter entire galaxies.

Black holes are severely curved off that it can be considered pinched off from the rest of the universe. Within a black hole, the laws of physics as we know them no longer apply. Using Einstein’s theory of relativity, physicists such as Karl Schwarzschild theorized that any mass can become a black hole if it was compressed into a space small enough. Black holes were first predicted by Einstein in 1916, however, it was only until 1971 that the first black hole was physically discovered. Continue reading “What Are Black Holes?”