19Nov2017

Can I Ask A Question?

Puzzled

What questions would you ask somebody like me?

Simple things in the night sky are taken for granted pose the greatest number of question to pages like this. Not a lot of people can answer correctly all 3 of these questions. See how you go with them.

What are meteor showers?

An increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year is called a meteor shower. Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers. As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet’s orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighbourhood of a constellation.

Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo. The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus.

What are shooting stars?

“Shooting stars” and “falling stars” are both names that people have used for many hundreds of years to describe intense streaks of light across the night sky caused by small bits of interplanetary rock and debris called meteors crashing and burning high in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Travelling at speeds of 30-60 kilometres a second, meteoroids quickly ignite in searing friction of the atmosphere, 50 to 80 kilometres above the ground. Almost all are destroyed in this process; the rare few that survive and hit the ground are known as meteorites .

When a meteor appears, it seems to “shoot” quickly across the sky, and its small size and intense brightness might make you think it is a star. If you’re lucky enough to spot a meteorite (a meteor that makes it all the way to the ground), and see where it hits, it’s easy to think you just saw a star “fall.”

Why is there a ring around the moon?

Simply put – A ring or a foggy halo around the moon indicates the presence of tiny ice crystals in the atmosphere. Clouds containing predominantly ice crystals are more likely to produce rain.

Let’s look at it in more detail: The moon can produce interesting optical effects when conditions are right. The most common of which are moon rings caused by the refraction of Moonlight from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. The shape of the ice crystals results in a focusing of the light into a ring. Since the ice crystals typically have the same shape, namely a hexagonal shape, the Moon ring is almost always the same size.

Moon Ring Weather Folklore: Folklore has it that a ring around the moon signifies bad weather is coming, and in many cases this may be true. So how can rings around the moon be a predictor of weather to come? The ice crystals that cover the halo signify high altitude, thin cirrus clouds that normally precede a warm front by one or two days. Typically, a warm front will be associated with a low pressure system which is commonly referred to as a storm.

* It is believed that the number of stars within a moon halo indicate the number days before bad weather will arrive. Give it a try the next time you observe a moon halo.

  • It snows in the upper atmosphere of Mars but vaporizes before reaching the ground.
  • There was a time when Mars had large amounts of surface water
  • Saturn’s rings are about 500,000 miles in circumference but only about a foot thick.
  • December 21st 1968, was the first time that humans actually left the Earth, when Apollo 8 became the first manned space vehicle to leave Earth orbit and to orbit the Moon.
  • A satellite launched by Britain was called Black Arrow.
  • Our moon is in fact moving away from Earth at a rate of about 2.5 cm per year. There are different statistics for the moon’s rate of moving way from the Earth, some claim the rate of moon’s moving away from the Earth is up to 34 cm per year but according to the most credible sources it moves 2.5 cm away from Earth each year.
  • Buzz Aldrin’s (second man on the moon) mother’s maiden name was “Moon”.
  • Did you know that astronauts cannot burp in space?
  • It is said that just 20 seconds worth of fuel remained when Apollo 11’s lunar module landed on the moon.
  • A comet’s tail always points from the sun.
  • Every day, Earth accumulates 10 to 100 tons of material.
  • Did you know that astronauts get taller when they are in space?
  • The largest found meteorite was found in Hoba, Namibia. It weighed 60 tons.
  • Did you know that the heart of an astronaut actually gets smaller when in outer space?
  • The Earth orbits the Sun at a speed of 66,700mph.
  • The earth is .02 degrees hotter during a full moon.
  • Some large asteroids even have their own moon.
  • On average, Saturn is 886 million miles away from the Sun.
  • Saturn’s density is less than water on average, although this fact is a bit misleading. As one looks deeper into the planets gas surface, density rises well above water.
  • Jupiter has 60 known moons, but some of them are quite small and look fainter.
  • A 100 pound object on Earth would weight 116 pounds on Saturn.
  • Mars is red because it is rusty. There is a lot of iron in the soil, and the air on Mars has made it turn red-just like rusty iron on Earth.
  • It takes about 29.46 Earth years for Saturn to complete its orbit around the sun.
  • Mars complete its orbit around the Sun in 687 days.
  • The atmosphere of Saturn comprises mostly of Hydrogen and Helium.
  • At its brightest, Mars outshines every other planet apart from Venus.
  • Only moon of Saturn to have an atmosphere out of its thirty satellites is Titan.
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