1) A supernova is an explosion, triggered by the collapse and
explosion of a massive star. There are two types of supernova explosion in
the universe, called Type I and Type II. The remains of the core of a star
that has gone supernova is a neutron star. These stars give off radio waves
called pulsars. When a huge star goes supernova, the gravity of the core
becomes so strong that even light cannot escape it. This is called a Black
On occasion, throughout the centuries, astronomers have been puzzled by the
appearance of, as they phrased it, new stars in the sky. For instance, in
July 1054 AD, Chinese astronomers noted the appearance of a “guest star”
(as they called it) in the constellation Taurus. The guest star was visible
in broad daylight for three weeks, and was visible at night for two years
before it faded into invisibility.
Astronomers also study supernovae because they are rare, luminous, and
fairly brief events. There are only about one per century in our galaxy.
2) Normal forces give us the sensation of having weight. If we remove
the supporting force, we have the sensation of “apparent weightlessness.”
For example, a skydiver feels weightless before opening the parachute and
in and the unlikely event of an elevator breaking loose, you would also
experience weightlessness. Certain amusement park rides are designed to
remove the supporting force and induce a feeling of weightlessness.
Galileo correctly concluded that in free fall, all objects must fall at the
same rate. While in orbit our astronauts are constantly falling. Since
everything around them is also falling and everything falls at the same
rate, they have a continuing experience of weightlessness.
Some of the very real effects to the human body of this “apparent
1. Loss of bone mass (similar to osteoporosis)
2. Reduced total blood volume, particularly loss of red blood cells
3. Giddy, light-headed feeling
4. Space sickness with nausea and vomiting
5. Decrease of heart size
6. Nasal congestion
7. Muscle weakness
3) To determine the movement of a star through the universe,
scientists use a method called red shift. There are 3 different types of
red shift and two are used to find the movement of stars. The Doppler Red
shift results from the relative motion of the light emitting object and the
observer. If the source of light is moving away from you then the
wavelength of the light is stretched out, i.e., the light is shifted
towards the red. These effects, individually called the blue shift, and the
red shift are together known as Doppler shifts.
The other red shift used to find the motion of stars is the Cosmological
Red shift. This is a red shift caused by the expansion of space. The
wavelength of light increases as it traverses the expanding universe
between its point of emission and its point of detection by the same amount
that space has expanded during the crossing time.
4) Sunspots are regions on the solar surface that appear dark because
they are cooler than the surrounding photosphere. They are believed to be
caused by intense magnetic fields interfering with the bubbles of hot gas.
They are only dark in a relative sense; a sunspot removed from the bright
background of the Sun would glow quite brightly. The largest sunspots
observed have had diameters of about 50,000 km, which makes them large
enough to be seen with the naked eye. Sunspots often come in groups with as
many as 100 in a group, though sunspot groups with more than about 10 are
relatively rare. Sunspots develop and persist for periods ranging from
hours to months, and are carried around the surface of the Sun by its
Solar flares emit radiation that includes x-rays and ultraviolet rays,
charged particles called protons and electrons, and powerful particles with
no electric charge, called neutrons. This radiation surge may damage
electrical power systems, interfere with telecommunications, wreck high-
tech ship navigation systems, harm an astronaut in space, or create the
spectacular Northern and Southern lights, aurora.
5) The Big Bang Theory is the dominant scientific theory about the
origin of the universe. It states that the universe was created between 10
and 20 billion years ago from the random, cosmic explosion of a subatomic
ball that hurled matter and energy in all directions. Then over a period of
approximately 10 billion years, this newly created matter and energy
coagulated into stars, galaxies and planets, including our earth.
This theory was first introduced by in Albert Einstein in 1905. Another
scientist, Edwin Hubble, observed that distant galaxies in every direction
are going away from us at speeds proportional to their distance. The big
bang concept was initially suggested because it explains why distant
galaxies are travelling away from us at great speeds. The theory also
predicts the existence of cosmic background radiation
The Big Bang Theory has many significant problems. Besides conflicting with
the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics, the Big Bang Theory contradicts the
Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum. Everything in the universe is
spinning – planets, stars, galaxies, etc. It would take an enormous amount
of energy to start a planet spinning. Many other contradictions have also
been noted making this theory very unstable.
6) Most telescopes are on the ground. The advantage of this is that on
the ground, you can deploy a heavier telescope and upgrade it more easily.
The trouble is that Earth-bound telescopes must look through the Earth’s
atmosphere. This is a problem because, firstly the Earth’s atmosphere
blocks out a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing a narrow
band of visible light to reach the surface. Second, the Earth’s atmosphere
blurs the light it lets through. By orbiting above the Earth’s atmosphere,
satellites in space, such as the Hubble, can get clearer images. In fact,
even though Hubble has a mirror 15 times smaller than large Earth-bound
telescopes, it can still resolve detail almost 100 times finer.