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Download: Solar System Chart

Download: Solar System Guide The Solar System is a pretty big place with some exciting worlds. It can be challenging to contextualize eight planets, hundreds of moons, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, and other bodies. That's why we created this excel file that categorizes the celestial bodies of our Solar System based on information we have available to us today. We derived this information from the International Astronomical Union, the Planetary Habitability Laboratory of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. The guide includes classifications, orbital groups, mass, radius and surface gravity of the Sun, the eight planets, their 185 moons, and all known dwarf planets. Let us know what you think! Download Solar System Guide Excel File

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Understanding Gas Giants

Understanding Gas Giants When we hear the term Gas Giants, our minds race directly to several planets located within our Solar System, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These planets share several defining characteristics that allow them to be lumped together into the same category. In particular, it is the high percentage of helium and hydrogen within their over-all composition that places them apart from other more terrestrial solar bodies. However, the term Gas Giant is a bit misleading in that it tells us very little about the actual composition of these unique worlds.Gas giants are composed of a high percentage of solid material. Due to the extreme pressure that exists within the core of a gas giant, hydrogen may be converted into a metallic solid or liquid form. Frequently, there are other materials interspersed within this solid matrix as well. Although all gas giants contain high amounts of hydrogen and helium…

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Mae C. Jemison: When Art and Science Combine

Mae C. Jemison: When Art and Science Combine By Emily ZubritskyCan you be a dancer, an astronaut, a doctor, and a professor? Yes. But you'll need the tenacity and intellect of Mae C. Jemison, whose belief is that the arts and sciences should be taught together and are not at all separate.Jemison made history on September 12, 1992, when she became the first African-American woman to travel into space aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47. She didn't mean to become a role model but quickly became one to girls, and in particular girls of color, everywhere.And what is it that made Jemison so successful? A supportive family, a drive to learn, and a balance of art and science. Jemison was born in Alabama but raised on the South Side of Chicago. Since age 11, she was an avid dancer, practicing many different types, such as African dancing, ballet, jazz, modern, and Japanese dance.…

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Super Planet Crash – The Ultimate Space Game

Super Planet Crash - The Ultimate Space Game Have you ever wondered how different masses in space interact with each other gravitationally and how stable solar systems form? Then you will want to check out the game Super Planet Crash.Super Planet Crash is a browser-based gravity game that originated from an open-source program used by astronomers for the detection of planets outside of our Solar System born out of the work of Greg Laughlin and Stefano Meschairi at UC Santa Cruz.This fun and addictive game entice users to create their planetary systems utilizing several different astronomical bodies, including Earth-like masses, Super-Earths, Ice Giants, Giant Planets, Brown Dwarfs, and Dwarf Stars. How To Play Super Planet Crash At the opening of the game, players are given a single Earth-like mass that has been assigned an arbitrary orbit around a central parent star. The challenge is for players to create their solar system…

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Why Saturn’s moon, Mimas is So Awesome

Why Saturn's moon, Mimas is So Awesome Mimas is Saturn's seventh moon and one of the most mysterious objects in the Solar System. One would think that it was Mimas that inspired the Death Star from the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but the movie was made three years before the crater's discovery by Pioneer 11 in 1979.Voyager 1, Voyager 2, the Cassini probe in 2010 have visited Mimas since it's discovery. Star Trek: The Next Generation featured the moon in an episode when Wesley Crusher once beamed to Mimas in an emergency after some suspect piloting Wes and pals, but that's another issue. Let's talk about Mimas, shall we?Mimas received its name from one of the Greek "Giants" in mythology. But don't confuse the Giants with the Titans. Both groups have the same mother and father Gaia and Uranus. Although they had the same parents, how…

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Stargazing Becomes Space Travel for Anousheh Ansari

Stargazing Becomes Space Travel for Anousheh Ansari By Emily ZubritskyI just watched Anousheh Ansari’s TED talk and felt so inspired that I may only find a way to get myself to space! Ok, let’s be honest, I probably won’t go to space. But her story definitely inspired me to pursue my own hopes and dreams. Please watch it yourself as we need more inspiration in this world around space travel and all things positive Anousheh Ansari’s TED TalkSince she was a little girl, Anousheh Ansari would stare up at the stars and dream of going to space. On September 18, 2006, she became the first female private citizen to travel to space. How’s that for following through with a dream!Ansari was aboard the mission Soyuz TMA-9 and traveled with commander Mikhail Tyurin and flight engineer Michael Lopez-Alegria. She landed safely back on earth on September 29, 2006. While aboard the aircraft, Ansari…

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Interview with Shawna Pandya

Talk with Dr. Shawna Pandya Shawna Pandya is a practicing surgeon, motivational speaker, citizen-scientist astronaut, aquanaut-to-be. Superwoman maybe? Well, she is one of the most intelligent, motivated, goal-achieving people 'I've had the pleasure to meet. Last summer, I spoke with Dr. Padya about her experience in a pseudo-mars environment, a career in the space industry, and how she handles a life pursuing her dreams. Dr. Pandya holds an Honors Neuroscience BSc, an MD from the University of Alberta and an MSc from the International Space University in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France. Dr. Pandya also attended Singularity University, an international learning community geared towards scientific progress and "exponential" technologies. During her attendance at Singularity University, she co-founded CiviGuard, a real-time, disaster relief, and emergency response platform. Currently, Dr. Pandya is a citizen-scientist astronaut candidate with the Polar Suborbital Science of the Upper Mesosphere (PoSSUM) project. The PoSSUM program is an international program dedicated to…

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Why Is Pluto Not a Planet?

Why Is Pluto Not a Planet? History of Pluto's Discovery Pluto was previously considered a planet since it's discovery in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh. Pluto had little resistance to its classification as the ninth planet upon its discovery. This may have been a slight case of confirmation bias since the presence of a "ninth planet" or "planet X" was hypothesized by Percival Lowell. Lowell believed that the apparent discrepancies of Uranus were the causation of another planet beyond Neptune. Pluto was within only 6 degrees of the predicted location of the ninth planet as predicted by Lowell. However, Lowell predicted that this planet would be around 6.6 the mass of Earth. As telescopes improved, we were able to learn more about Pluto. In 1950, Gerard Kuiper was able to observe Pluto as a spherical world using a 200-inch telescope at Mount Palomar. Kuiper estimated that Pluto's diameter was around 5,900 kilometers.…

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Why Do People Believe The Earth Flat Theory?

Why Do People Still Believe The Earth is Flat? I have spent hours of flat earth debates and what I'm seeing is this growing "anti-flat earther" movement. The movement is quite adamant about proving that the Earth is a globe. I second their motion; however, the "how" they go about the business of addressing this issue leaves much to be desired. They usually come from a logical positivism point of view, which is excellent for most assertions regarding the nature of our world, but it has inherent flaws and doesn't acknowledge the real issue at hand with flat earthers. If empirical evidence were all that was needed to whisk away the pesky idea, then it wouldn't exist, but yet this idea persists. Our knights in shining armor are heavily armed, but maybe a little too armed. The dynamic between flat earthers and anti-flat earthers is a mirror image of most political…

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Solar Eclipse 2017 Experience: A Moment in Totality

Solar Eclipse 2017 Experience Experiencing the Eclipse No matter what you read on Facebook, 2017 has been a great year, especially for astronomy and space. The top three astronomical events that come to mind first were the discovery of the Trappist planets, the completion of Juno's mission to Jupiter and the American Solar Eclipse. Experiencing the Solar Eclipse was the first time I witnessed an eclipse with my own eyes. What I can unequivocally say is that it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life. I advise anyone, no matter what interests or knowledge level, to see a total solar eclipse at least once in your lifetime. The next one over North America will be April 8, 2024, so don't miss it! I saw the eclipse with a close friend in Makanda, IL, at Star View Vineyards. There were already about twenty to thirty people…

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