Space Reference Libraries

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The Sun
2004-10-19 04:45:40

The Sun -- intensely hot, self-luminous body of gases at the center of the solar system. Its gravitational attraction maintains the planets, comets, and other bodies of the solar system in their orbits. The sun is actually a star of about medium size; it appears larger than the other stars because of its relative nearness to the earth. The earth's distance from the sun varies from 91,377,000...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

The Planet Venus is the second planet from the sun. It is often called the evening star or morning star and is brighter than any object in the sky except the sun and the moon. Because its orbit lies between the sun and the orbit of the earth, Venus passes through phases like those of the moon, varying from a large bright crescent when the planet is near inferior conjunction (nearest the...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

The Planet Mercury -- in astronomy, nearest planet to the sun, at a mean distance of 36 million mi (58 million km); its period of revolution is 88 days. Mercury passes through phases similar to those of the moon as it completes each revolution about the sun, although the visible disk varies in size with respect to its distance from the earth. Because its greatest elongation is 28, it is seen...

Whirlpool Galaxy M51
2004-10-19 04:45:40

Whirlpool Galaxy -- Discovered 1773 by Charles Messier. The famous Whirlpool galaxy M51 was one of Charles Messier's original discoveries: He discovered it on October 13, 1773, when observing a comet, and described it as a "very faint nebula, without stars" which is difficult to see. Its companion, NGC 5195, was discovered in 1781 by his friend, Pierre Mchain, so that it is mentioned in...

Crab Nebula
2004-10-19 04:45:40

Crab Nebula -- The Crab Nebula (Messier 1, NGC 1952) is the object the which started Charles Messier logging non-cometary objects on his Messier Catalog. It is the expanding cloud of gas thrown off in the explosion that gave rise to the 1054 supernova recorded by Chinese astronomers, now more than 6 light years across (the nebula is currently expanding at 1000 km/sec and the total mass of...

Space Telescope Science Institute STScI
2014-01-11 00:00:00

Space Telescope Science Institute -- STScI mission statement: We bring the cosmos to Earth We carry out this vision by empowering the astronomy community to produce new scientific discoveries and by bringing the benefits of this research to the public. We make the best astronomical facilities productive for the largest number of scientists, and we promote new missions with the greatest...

Palomar Observatory
2004-10-19 04:45:40

Palomar Observatory -- Owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology, a privately endowed educational and research institution located in Pasadena, California, and is used to support the scientific research programs of Caltech's faculty and students. The principal instruments at Palomar are the 200-inch Hale Telescope, the 48-inch Oschin Telescope, the 18-inch Schmidt...

Word of the Day
  • an ornament or knob in the shape of a flower
  • In architecture, a floral ornament; specifically, the large conventional flower usually placed in the center of the abacus of a Corinthian capital or classic ceiling-caisson; also, the floreated termination of a Gothic finial.
[ "The word 'fleuron' comes from French."]