Why Does The Moon Rise Later Each Day?

Why does the Moon rise 30 to 70 mins later each day than the previous day?
The Galileo spacecraft took this 1992 shot showing the Moon in orbit about Earth. With only a third of the brightness of Earth, the Moon has been digitally enhanced to improve visibility. Image credit: NASA

The Galileo spacecraft took this 1992 shot showing the Moon in orbit about Earth. With only a third of the brightness of Earth, the Moon has been digitally enhanced to improve visibility. Image credit: NASA

The Moon does indeed rise on average 50 minutes later each day in our skies, which may come as a surprisingly large daily change, particularly if you’re used to the much more gradual changes of sunrise...

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Why Are Earth And Venus Called Twins?

Why are Earth and Venus called twins?
This global view of the surface of Venus is centered at 180 degrees east longitude. Magellan synthetic aperture radar mosaics from the first cycle of Magellan mapping are mapped onto a computer-simulated globe to create this image. Image credit: NASA/JPL

This global view of the surface of Venus is centered at 180 degrees east longitude. Magellan synthetic aperture radar mosaics from the first cycle of Magellan mapping are mapped onto a computer-simulated globe to create this image. Image credit: NASA/JPL

The Earth and Venus do often get called planetary twins, and this is largely because they are very close to being the same mass. Both the Earth and Venus are rocky...

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Why Aren't The Van Allen Belts A Barrier To Spaceflight?

I follow all kinds of information about space and the stars. My brother has only recently started paying attention to these issues, but has been reading some naysayer websites. Because of this, he says he has doubts about the ‘truth’ of the space shuttle, the flight to the moon and other missions, as some claim that they would be impossible because of the heated layers of atmosphere around the earth, which would destroy them—the Van Allen belts. I know that heat shields are used, and am assuming that the rarefied atmosphere might not conduct heat as well. But what is the real reason why these flights are possible and are not eliminated by the heat of the Van Allen belts or other layers?
In a very unique setting over Earth's colorful horizon, the silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour is featured in this photo by an Expedition 22 crew member on board the International Space Station, as the shuttle approached for its docking on Feb. 9 during the STS-130 mission. Image credit: NASA

In a very unique setting over Earth's colorful horizon, the silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour is featured in this photo by an Expedition 22 crew member on board the International Space Station, as the shuttle approached for its docking on Feb. 9 during the STS-130 mission. Image credit: NASA

So there are two questions mixed up in here - the first is about traversing the atmosphere without burning up, and the second about traversing the Van Allen belts.

It’s true that re-entering the atmosphere from space is a delicate business, and there are only a few...

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How Come The Oort Cloud Isn't Torn Away From Our Sun By Nearby Stars?

If the Oort Cloud is three light years away from our Sun, then it’s closer to Alpha Centauri than our Sun, right? So how can it stay around our Sun if the mass of Alpha Centauri is 1.1 times the mass of our Sun - wouldn’t the gravity of Alpha Centauri rip it away?
An illustration of the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud in relation to our solar system. Image credit: NASA

An illustration of the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud in relation to our solar system. Image credit: NASA

The Oort cloud is an interesting feature of our solar system; a nebulous, spherical cloud of comets which marks the very outer limit of our solar system. The Oort cloud is also the source of our long period comets - those icy fragments of the early solar system...

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Is Space Curved? Can We See The Milky Way In The Past?

Is it possible that space-time is curved in such a way that one (or many) of the galaxies we see in telescopes is actually our own Milky Way a few billion years earlier?
This infrared view reveals galaxies far, far away that existed long, long ago. Taken by the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the image is part of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field survey, the deepest portrait ever taken of the universe. Image credit: NASA, ESA and R. Thompson (Univ. Arizona)

This infrared view reveals galaxies far, far away that existed long, long ago. Taken by the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the image is part of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field survey, the deepest portrait ever taken of the universe. Image credit: NASAESA and R. Thompson (Univ. Arizona)

It is mathematically possible for a universe to be shaped this way, but not our Universe. Our Universe is as close to...

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