Category Archives: Astronomy

The Balmer Thermometer

How hot would you say this star is? Take a wild guess. Well…sorry, but I’m going to stop you for a moment just to make sure we’re all using Kelvins. The Kelvin scale is like the Celsius scale, except water … Continue reading

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The Atomic Spectrum

Astronomers know that if white light passes through a prism and is bent, it’s separated out into its component colors—the colors of the rainbow. Astronomers also know that when light interacts with atoms, the building blocks of the universe, the … Continue reading

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Stars and Radiation

Stars are hot. Really hot. Hot enough to have energy to spare for their planets. If our star wasn’t hot, we couldn’t live on Earth. And our star isn’t even particularly hot for a star. It’s a middle-aged star of … Continue reading

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Atoms and Radiation

Everything we know about space comes from radiation. Now wait just a moment here. That statement explains how astronomy is such a successful field of science—it’s based entirely on the information we can glean from radiation, after all. But how … Continue reading

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How Atoms Work

Have you ever seen something like this? I’m going to venture a wild guess and say you haven’t, since scientists have only recently been able to take this kind of image. I learned about it in my biology class this … Continue reading

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Types of Atoms

Does this look familiar? It might, or it might not. If it does, you might recognize it as the periodic table of the elements—more often known as simply the “periodic table.” It’s an ingenious way to organize elements that has … Continue reading

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The Building Blocks of the Universe

“The Building Blocks of the Universe.” When you put it that way, atoms sound less like a topic specifically for a chemistry class and more like something astronomers might discuss. They really are. I’ve got a fantastic reason to include … Continue reading

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Cosmic Rays

Cosmic rays remain, for the most part, a cosmic mystery. But then, what about the universe doesn’t still remain partially shrouded in mystery? Cosmic rays are radiation, but they’re not electromagnetic. That is, they’re not on the electromagnetic spectrum. So, … Continue reading

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Infrared & High-Energy Astronomy

You probably recognize this image. You see something like it whenever you look up at the sky. Some days are clearer than others—some, you might even see a completely blue sky—but regardless, you know that this is an image of … Continue reading

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The Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most famous telescopes in the world. Oops, excuse me—one of the most famous telescopes built. Hubble, after all, is certainly not in this world. Unless you call the universe the “world,” it’s about … Continue reading

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