Solar System Model

Models of our solar system

Models of our solar system


It’s impossible to get a real sense of the size of the solar system by staring at pictures of planets on a page or a screen. Unlike most illustrations in astronomy books, Jupiter is not within arm’s reach of Earth, creepily hovering over our shoulder. (This is what Jupiter looks like from Earth—it’s…
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Tycho Brahe model of the solar system

Tycho Brahe model of the solar system


Tycho Brahe Tycho Brahe (December 14, 1546 October 24, 1601), was a Danish (Scanian) nobleman astronomer as well as an astrologer and alchemist. He was granted an estate on the island of Hven and the funding to build the Uraniborg, an early research institute, where he built large astronomical instruments…
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Comet Discoveries

Comet Discoveries


Rosetta s navigation camera took this four-image mosaic from a distance of 17.6 miles (28.4 km) from the center of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Jan. 16, 2015. Credit: SA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0 It s craggy, powdery, mysterious, and even holds the building blocks of life. Scientists are now getting an up-close-and-personal view of a comet flying through deep…


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Aristarchus model of the Universe

Aristarchus model of the Universe


It’s funny, but not all of the scientists we talk about on this website are actually famous. Some of them, like Aristarchus, deserve to be… but they’re not. If you’re looking for an unsung hero of science, you could do worse than Aristarchus of Samos, or Aristarchus the Mathematician as some people called him. Today, a better name might be Aristarchus, who discovered that the…


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Aristotle and Astronomy

Aristotle and Astronomy


In the Middle Ages astronomy was one of the seven liberal arts along with grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, and music. In the Convivio Dante proclaims the nobility of astronomy as a science, praising its high and noble subject, which regards the movement of heaven, and high and noble because of its certainty, as coming from a most perfect and regular principle…


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Astronomy scientists

Astronomy scientists


Physicists plan and conduct scientific experiments and studies to test theories and to discover properties of matter and energy. Physicists and astronomers study the ways in which various forms of matter and energy interact. Theoretical physicists and astronomers may study the nature of time or the origin of the universe. Some physicists design and perform experiments with…


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Earth-centered model

Earth-centered model


In 1543, Copernicus suggested the sun was at the center of the cosmos. However, it was centuries before a sun-centered model became widely accepted. The history of science is often thought of as a procession of discoveries and advances. This obscures the complex stories of how theories and models can compete and coexist over long periods of time. When the Copernican model eventually…


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Astronomy Space

Astronomy Space


Saturn’s moon Titan is the only world - other than earth - that we know has liquid’s pooled on its surface. Unlike Earth, Titan has lakes of liquid methane - you wouldn’t want to swim in these lakes. Titan’s “methane cycle” is analogy to Earth’s water cycle. In the 3rd and 4th images above we can see clouds of methane in Titan’s atmosphere. Ever since NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft…


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Planetary or solar system model

Planetary or solar system model


The planets of the solar system as depicted by a NASA computer illustration. Orbits and sizes are not shown to scale. Credit: NASA Ever since the discovery of Pluto in 1930, kids grew up learning about the nine planets of our solar system. That all changed starting in the late 1990s, when astronomers began to argue about whether Pluto was a planet. In a highly controversial…


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Aristarchus heliocentric model

Aristarchus heliocentric model


Aristarchus (310 BC - circa 230 BC) was a Greek astronomer and mathematician, born in Samos, Greece. He is the first recorded person to propose a heliocentric model of the solar system, placing the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the known universe (hence he is sometimes known as the Greek Copernicus ). His astronomical ideas were not well-received and were subordinated…


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Earth in which galaxy

Earth in which galaxy


There was confetti on the ground and a broken man walked over it all to claim his trophy and none of us knew. We had learned Landon Donovan was stepping away from soccer before the 2012 postseason began. He announced his body had told him to take a break, that he would have to push through the final games of the season, that eight years of anything is a long time. It didn’t…


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Modern solar system model

Modern solar system model


All standard planetary formation models, when applied to the solar system, are stymied by the Mars Problem. The most sophisticated planetary system models can explain the masses and orbits of the solar system’s four gas giant planets, Mercury, Venus, and Earth. According to these models, however, Mars should be as massive as, or a little more massive than, Earth—but it’s not;…


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Sun Centered model

Sun Centered model


Copernicus is often described as a lone astronomer who defiantly argued that the sun, not the Earth was at the center of the cosmos. Copernicus contributions to astronomy are so significant that they warrant their own term: The Copernican Revolution. The story of this revolution is problematic for several reasons. First, as much as Copernicius ideas broke with the past, his…


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Planets in different Galaxies

Planets in different Galaxies


Topics: Pretty pictures, explaining science, spacecraft, trans-neptunian objects, Pluto, dwarf planets beyond Neptune, New Horizons, stars and galaxies, Hubble Space Telescope How come Hubble s pictures of galaxies billions of light years away are so beautifully detailed, yet the pictures of Pluto, which is so much closer, are just little blobs? I get asked this question, or…


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Ancient Greek models

Ancient Greek models


Aristotle teaching a young Alexander the Great. Photograph: Unknown/ Bettmann/CORBIS I ve met and interviewed hundreds of people who have used ancient Greek and Roman philosophies to help them live their lives better, including soldiers, astronauts, politicians and business leaders. They all used philosophy to help them achieve eudaimonia , by which the Greeks meant flourishing…


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Johannes Kepler contributions to Astronomy

Johannes Kepler contributions to Astronomy


German astronomer Johannes Kepler used mathematics to calculate the path of the planets, finding that they traveled not in circles, as long expected, but in ellipses. Credit: Johnnes Kepler Gesammelte Werke, C. H. Beck, 1937 Johannes Kepler Facts Born in December of 1571, young Kepler was a sickly child of poor parents. He was awarded a scholarship to the University of Tübingen…


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Planets Galaxies

Planets Galaxies


Asked by Robert Neale The word collide invokes imagery of high energy galactic collisions and it is easy to imagine that burning stars as well as planets will smash together, obliterating each other in the process. With a collision between the Andromeda galaxy and our own Milky Way galaxy are predicted to occur in the next four billion years or so, it sounds like an apocalyptic…


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