NASA Space Place

NASA's Space Place: The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

NASA's Space Place

From Dr. Ethan Siegel  --  For those of us in the northern hemisphere, winter brings long, cold nights, which are often excellent for sky watchers (so long as there's a way to keep warm!) But there's often an added bonus that comes along when conditions are just right: the polar lights, or the Aurora Borealis around the North Pole. Here on our world, a brilliant green light often appears for observers at high northern latitudes, with occasional, dimmer reds and even blues lighting up a clear night.

NASA's Space Place: Where Does the Sun's Energy Come From?

NASA's Space Place

This month, the Space Place is doing something a little bit different for their monthly column—providing you with a beautifully informative and educational poster (attached below) about the mechanics of our sun. This poster accompanies their latest "Space Place in a Snap" animation. This "Snap" series is a set of narrated videos and posters that, together, explain basic scientific concepts in a dynamic new medium. Entertaining in their own right, they also wish to bring this new resource to your attention as an educational tool.

NASA's Space Place: Twinkle, twinkle, variable star

NASA's Space Place

By Dr. Ethan Siegel  --  As bright and steady as they appear, the stars in our sky won't shine forever. The steady brilliance of these sources of light is powered by a tumultuous interior, where nuclear processes fuse light elements and isotopes into heavier ones. Because the heavier nuclei up to iron (Fe), have a greater binding energies-per-nucleon, each reaction results in a slight reduction of the star's mass, converting it into energy via Einstein's famous equation relating changes in mass and energy output, E = mc2.

NASA's Space Place: Why did it take so long to discover Uranus?

A carefully trained eye in perfect conditions can spot the dim light of Uranus without a telescope. Despite this fact, it wasn’t officially discovered until 1781—thousands of years after the other visible planets were documented. Part of the problem was not finding it, but correctly identifying it. Read all about it in the Space Place’s latest column: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/uranus/en/.

The Space Place is a NASA educational website about space and Earth sciences and technologies. It targets upper-elementary-aged-children.

NASA's Space Place in a SNAP! - Tectonic Forces

NASA Space Place in a SNAP!

NASA's Space Place in a SNAP! is a series of quick, narrated tours of animated infographics that illustrate key science concepts. Not only are they fun and entertaining on their own, they also come with a downloadable poster and a transcript of the video, making for a cross-disciplinary learning experience. There was once a time when you could take a stroll from North or South America to Africa no problem. There was no ocean to get in the way, because all of Earth’s continents were stuck together in one massive supercontinent called Pangea. How is this possible?

NASA's Space Place: Droughts, Floods and the Earth's Gravity, by the GRACE of NASA

NASA's Space Place

By Dr. Ethan Siegel  --  When you think about gravitation here on Earth, you very likely think about how constant it is, at 9.8 m/s2 (32 ft/s2). Only, that's not quite right. Depending on how thick the Earth's crust is, whether you're slightly closer to or farther from the Earth's center, or what the density of the material beneath you is, you'll experience slight variations in Earth's gravity as large as 0.2%, something you'd need to account for if you were a pendulum-clock-maker.

NASA's Space Place: The Invisible Shield of our Sun

NASA's Space Place

By Dr. Ethan Siegel - Whether you look at the planets within our solar system, the stars within our galaxy or the galaxies spread throughout the universe, it's striking how empty outer space truly is. Even though the largest concentrations of mass are separated by huge distances, interstellar space isn't empty: it's filled with dilute amounts of gas, dust, radiation and ionized plasma.

NASA's Space Place: A Glorious Gravitational Lens

NASA's Space Place

By Dr. Ethan Siegel  --  As we look at the universe on larger and larger scales, from stars to galaxies to groups to the largest galaxy clusters, we become able to perceive objects that are significantly farther away. But as we consider these larger classes of objects, they don't merely emit increased amounts of light, but they also contain increased amounts of mass. Under the best of circumstances, these gravitational clumps can open up a window to the distant universe well beyond what any astronomer could hope to see otherwise.

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