Discovering the Universe
Explore the concepts that underlie the study of the stars and other heavenly bodies, and how astrophysicists analyze their distant light for clues to their physical and chemical properties. This Special Collection sets out the fundamentals and demonstrates them in a set of articles, activities, and reference lists for all ages.
All the color photos of astronomical phenomena that we see in magazines and books begin as three separate images—one red, one green, and one blue. Explore how CCD cameras and their color filters work.
A 2-D map is a great guide here on Earth—and virtually worthless for finding your way around in outer space. Take a 3-D look at mapping our solar system and universe.
In outer space, you might not recognize the Big Dipper. The stars that form this constellation exist in 3-D not 2-D—so the star pattern changes with your viewpoint. Take another look at the Big Dipper.
When it comes to observing stars, our eyes have their limitations. Take a look at how astronomers combat these limits and accurately measure the distances between celestial bodies.
We owe our lives to gravity. It holds the atmosphere to Earth and keeps us all from falling off into space. Not to mention that without gravity, the stars and planets—including Earth—wouldn't even exist!
Here on Earth, we tend to take gravity for granted. Yet the astronauts aboard the Space Station need to learn how to do everything without it. Can you imagine shooting hoops in a "weightless" world?
Did you know that satellites and the Space Shuttle don't need engines to power their orbits? See how Earth's gravitational pull bends their forward motion and keeps them moving around the planet.
Focus on the best books about astronomy, astrophysics, light, telescopes, digital imaging, and the 3-D universe with this list of recommended titles, suitable for older students and adults.
Students use Google Earth and an online calculator to create a scale model of the distances among the objects in the Solar System.