What Would We See If The Moon Rotated Every 24 Hours?

If the Moon rotated as fast as the Earth would we only see one side of the Moon?
Framed by the Earth's horizon and airglow, the full moon floats in the blackness of space in this photo from the Expedition 10 crew on board the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA

Framed by the Earth's horizon and airglow, the full moon floats in the blackness of space in this photo from the Expedition 10 crew on board the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA

The Earth rotates around its own axis once every twenty-four hours. The Moon, on the other hand, rotates once around its own axis every 28 days, and once around the Earth in that same 28 days. The end result of this combination is...

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Sign up for the mailing list for updates & news straight to your inbox! Astroquizzical is becoming a book! Check here for details & where to preorder.

Astroquizzical book cover reveal!

Hello all! I have a very exciting announcement!

In conjunction with the lovely folks at Icon Books, I am pleased to unveil the cover for Astroquizzical: A curious journey through our cosmic family tree. This book is based on the content of Astroquizzical over the past few years, and will be coming out in the UK on March 8th, and in the US on June 12th! 

BookCover_Astroquizzical.png
How did the Earth get to be the way it is? Just like all of us, it’s a product of its ancestors.

In this enthralling cosmic journey through space and time, astrophysicist Jillian Scudder locates our home planet within its own ‘family tree’. Our parent the Earth and its sibling planets in our solar system formed within the same gas cloud. Without our grandparent the Sun, we would not exist, and the Sun in turn relies on the Milky Way as its home. The Milky Way rests in a larger web of galaxies that traces its origins right back to tiny fluctuations in the very early Universe.

Following these cosmic connections, we discover the many ties that bind us to our Universe. Based around readers’ questions from the author’s popular blog ‘Astroquizzical’, the book provides a quirky layperson’s guide to how things work in the Universe and why things are the way they are, from shooting stars on Earth, to black holes, to entire galaxies.

For anyone interested in the ‘big picture’ of how the cosmos functions and how it is all connected, Jillian Scudder is the perfect guide.

The book is available for preorder on Amazon in both the UK and the US, and if you check the Icon Books page, there are links to sources for the rest of the world (and non-Amazon options)! 

I hope you all enjoy it!

Can A Slow Shuttle Leave A Fast Ship Safely?

I am traveling in a Generational spaceship that has, over time, been accelerated to 0.4 light speed. The ship can not slow down until it nears its destination in 50 years. The ship has a small, conventionally powered shuttle craft whose top speed is 0.1 light speed. Can that shuttle leave the ship and maneuver about the ship without being left behind? I am thinking that when it leaves the ship it is moving at the same relative speed as the ship, and as long as it does not ever go below that speed, it can safely return.
The Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis, framed by the California mountains, as it rides on the back of one of NASA's Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) en route from California to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Image credit: NASA

The Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis, framed by the California mountains, as it rides on the back of one of NASA's Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) en route from California to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Image credit: NASA

It’s easier to get your head around this scenario if we start with a much simpler version of this, moving at much slower speeds...

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How Fast Do Galaxies Circle Each Other?

How fast are both galaxies orbiting each other? Is there a NASA reference?
NGC 5256 is a pair of galaxies in its final stage of merging. It was previously observed by Hubble as part of a collection of 59 images of merging galaxies, released on Hubble’s 18th anniversary on 24 April 2008. The new data make the gas and dust being whirled around inside and outside the galaxy more visible than ever before. This image is composed of data gathered with the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide-Field Camera 3. Image credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA

NGC 5256 is a pair of galaxies in its final stage of merging. It was previously observed by Hubble as part of a collection of 59 images of merging galaxies, released on Hubble’s 18th anniversary on 24 April 2008. The new data make the gas and dust being whirled around inside and outside the galaxy more visible than ever before. This image is composed of data gathered with the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide-Field Camera 3. Image credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA

The Milky Way and Andromeda are plunging towards each other, aimed nearly directly at each other, and proceeding at a pace of about 110 kilometers every second. Given the enormous distance between...

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Why Didn't 'Oumuamua Hit The Sun?

If Oumuamua has come from so far away, and in it’s final approach was primarily attracted by the Sun, why didn’t it hit the Sun? Were the gravitational forces of other planets sufficient to make it miss?
This artist’s impression shows the first interstellar asteroid: `Oumuamua. This unique object was discovered on 19 October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawai`i. Subsequent observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that it was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. Image credit: European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser

This artist’s impression shows the first interstellar asteroid: `Oumuamua. This unique object was discovered on 19 October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawai`i. Subsequent observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that it was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. Image credit: European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser

The answer to this question lies in how gravity acts over large distances, with a bit of interstellar aiming thrown in for flavor.

On the surface of planet Earth, the force of gravity is pretty much a constant through our entire lives. We recognize it as the influence which grounds us to the surface of our planet - but it remains a constant feature...

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