Astronomy RSS

There are rings around Saturn, and the rest of the gas giants. There might even be rings around Pluto. So, does Mars have rings? Sorry, but it doesn't.   There are two kinds of ring systems that a planet can have. The first is made of ice, similar to the rings surrounding Saturn, Jupiter, and the ice giants. Scientists think they might have formed in the early Solar System when the gravity of the planet stopped icy moons from forming, and turned them into rings around the planet. In the case of Saturn, some of its moons have been discovered with...

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The cosmic background radiation is isotropic to roughly one part in 100,000: the root mean square variations are only 18 K. The Far-Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) instrument on the NASA Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite has carefully measured the spectrum of the cosmic microwave background. FIRAS compared the CMB with a reference black body and no difference could be seen in their spectra. Any deviations from the black body form that might still remain undetected in the CMB spectrum over the wavelength range from 0.5 to 5 mm must have a weighted rms value of at most 50 parts per...

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Note: These care instructions were written with the ETX-90EC in mind, but they work perfectly well for any Meade ETX-model telescope. The ETX-90EC is a precision optical instrument designed to yield a lifetime of rewarding applications. Given the care and respect due any precision instrument, the ETX-90EC will rarely, if ever, require factory servicing or maintenance. Maintenance guidelines include:   Avoid cleaning the telescope's optics. A little dust on the front surface of the telescope's correcting lens causes virtually no degradation of image quality and should not be considered reason to clean the lens.   When absolutely necessary, dust on...

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Saturn takes a total of 29.7 Earth years to complete a single orbit around the Sun - or 10,832 days. In other words, if you lived on Saturn, and celebrated your 2nd birthday, you would be almost 60 Earth years old. Saturn orbits the Sun at an average distance of 1.43 billion km, or 9.58 astronomical unit (1 astronomical unit, or AU, is the same as the distance from the Earth to the Sun). Saturn has a very similar axial tilt to Earth - it's tilted at an angle of 26.73. And this means that Saturn has seasons, very similar to the...

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Taking photographs of the depths of space is difficult when you can’t experience a fully dark sky. Light pollution is extremely common in the United States, and escaping it is harder than you think. Light pollution has the ability to make or break photographs of the night sky. Luckily there are several techniques avid astrophotographers can use to ensure they’re reducing the impact of light pollution.   Techniques to Reduce Light Pollution  The most common technique used to reduce light pollution is called “expose to the right,” also known in short as ETTR. This technique is achieved by shifting a camera’s histogram...

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