This reader question comes from Google+
AmyBeth Inverness from amybethinverness.com recently asked two very intriguing questions about Lunar Geology.
Since my field of expertise is with variable stars, I enlisted the help of my friends at the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Center at Arizona State University (http://www.lroc.asu.edu/) to help shed some light on AmyBeth’s questions.
Keep reading to learn more about the incredibly diverse geology of our closest neighbor.
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people interested in picking up a telescope for themselves, or for someone they know. This guide will cover telescopes ranging from $40 to $200 – great for first-time telescope buyers on a budget.
In many cases, the people I talk to have an idea of what they would like to spend on a telescope, but usually don’t have much of an idea of what they would like to view.
Different objects in the night sky can require different types of telescopes, however in the “starter” telescope price range, there are a lot of good, all-purpose telescopes that can be had – with even the most modest budget. These telescopes do not feature “goto” functions, and are operated manually.
While you CAN find “goto” telescopes for a few hundred dollars, the optics suck, and the drive systems are of poor quality. If you see a computerized telescope at a “big box” retail store, stay away! Better yet, don’t buy ANY telescope from a big-box retail/grocery store.
Keep reading to learn more about some great telescopes that will give great views without breaking your bank account. I’ve used every telescope on this list, and provide the pros and cons of each model.
What is on the outside of the universe? Is there an outside of the universe?
Excellent question Veronesa!
Many people speculate at what (if anything) lies outside our Universe. In the past I’ve been asked where the Big Bang happened, and if there’s a center to our Universe. Where did the Big Bang happen? Everywhere. When did the Big Bang happen? At the beginning of time, about 14 billion years ago.
Given the tidbits of information above, once can easily begin to speculate about what, if anything, lies outside our existence in our Universe. Keep reading to learn more about the science (and philosophy) of this rather existential question.
Dear Astronomer,Why does it always say that the best time to watch for
meteorites during a meteor shower is between midnight and dawn?
Are there really more meteorites at that time, or is just because the sky is usually
darker at that time?
We live in the high mountains of Colorado, 21 miles from the nearest small town.
When we crawl out of bed at 3 AM to watch a meteor shower, I wonder if we couldn’t see it just as well at 9 PM.
We seem to see just as many stars at that time.
Great question Janet!
There are a number of factors that can affect visibility of a meteor shower, some of which you touched on in your question.
I’ll explain a number of things that go into an “ideal” meteor shower viewing experience.
Keep reading to learn more on making the most of your next meteor shower.
Is the amount of matter in the Universe finite or infinite, and why do you think so?
I’ll be the first to admit I’m more of an observational astronomer, and not much of a cosmologist or theoretical physicist.
That being said, the answer to your question varies depending on how you look at it. As far as matter you can see, touch, taste, or smell, there is a finite amount of it.
Since we can measure (roughly) the matter in the observable universe, and we know the universe is expanding, we’re actually in an exciting time where the density of matter in the universe is at a balance point.
However….. if you peer deep into the subatomic and “quantum” level – it could be said that there is an infinite amount of matter that pops into and out of existence. Since cosmology and theoretical physics are a bit out of my field, I’ll let ASU professor Lawrence Krauss help explain:
Dear Astronomer, What are the average high and low temperatures of the planets in our solar
Great question Alex!
Given the different distances and compositions of objects in our Solar System, there is a wide range of temperatures. What is very interesting about the range of temperatures is how a planet’s atmosphere (or lack of) can affect it’s temperature, along with the surface composition.
Keep reading for a full list of high and low temperatures across our Solar System, along with what factors can affect said temperatures.