The Window to Deep Sky Deep Sky objects and much more


Albert EinsteiN

Biography: He was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1879. Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist and the most famous scientist in human history. As a child, he exhibited an extraordinary curiosity for and understanding of the mysteries of science.

Contribution: He had a lot to contribute in the world of science, but his most famous work was the Special Theory of Relativity.

Juicy: The first scientific paper he wrote was at the age of 16. The paper was titled “The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields.”

Galileo Galilei

Biography: Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy, on the 15th of February 1564, he died on the 8th of January 1642. Galileo was a ground breaking astronomer, physicist, mathematician, philosopher and inventor.

Contribution: Among his inventions were telescopes, a compass and a thermometer.

Juicy: Galileo enrolled to do a medical degree at the University of Pisa but never finished, instead choosing to study mathematics.

Urbain Le Verrier

Biography: Born at Saint-Lô in Normandy on March 11, 1811. Le Verrier was interested in Chemistry as a young student, but then changed his mind and took Astronomy . He died in Paris on Sept. 23, 1877.

Contribution: He made theoretical investigations which led to the discovery of the planet Neptune.

Juicy: He theorized that there was a second Asteroid Belt.

William Herschel

Biography: Born in Germany as Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel, the astronomer was the son of Anna Ilse Moritzen and Issak Herschel.

Contribution: He discovered Uranus.

Juicy: He was also a great musician and he taught music.

Clyde Tombaugh

Biography: Clyde William Tombaugh was born on near Streator, Ill., on Feb. 4, 1906. He passed away at his home in Las Cruces, N.M., on Jan. 17, 1997.

Contribution: The discovery of the planet Pluto; (which now is considered a dwarf planet.)

Juicy: He built his own telescope at the age of 20.

Percival lowell

Biography: Percival Lawrence Lowell was born on March 13, 1855, to a prominent, wealthy Bostonian family. On Nov. 12, 1916, at the age of 61, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Mars Hill.

Contribution: He made theories about the Planet X, which soon became the dwarf planet Pluto.

Juicy: His brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, was a president of Harvard.

Isaac Newton

Biography: Born on January 4, 1643, in Woolsthorpe, England, Isaac Newton was an established physicist and mathematician. He died on March 31, 1727, at the age of 84.

Contribution: He discovered a lot of works but his he was most famous for his law of gravitation-- as we call it Newton's law.

Juicy: He suffered two nervous breakdowns.

Vera Rubin

Biography: Born: July 23, 1928, Philadelphia, PA; Died: December 25, 2016, Princeton, NJ.

Contribution: She transformed the world of Physics by showing that galaxies are immersed in vast clouds dark matter.

Juicy: She wrote a children's book titled "My Grandmother Is an Astronomer" in the hopes that other children will experience some of the joy she feels watching the night skies.

Edwin Powell Hubble

Biography: Born on November 20, 1889, Marshfield, MO. Died on September 28, 1953, San Marino, CA.

Contribution: Discovered the Hubble Space Telescope which allowed scientists to see that there are more than just one galaxy in this vast universe.

Juicy: Even though he had a lot of amazing discoveries, he never won the Nobel Prize.

Deep sky objects


a star showing a sudden large increase in brightness and then slowly returning to its original state over a few months.


is the explosion of a star. It is the largest explosion that takes place in space.

Open cluster

a comparatively young, irregularly shaped group of stars, often numbering up to several hundred, and held together by mutual gravitation; usually found along the central plane of the Milky Way and other galaxies.

Globular Cluster

is a densely packed collections of ancient stars. Roughly spherical in shape, they contain hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of stars. Studying them helps astronomers estimate the age of the universe or figure out where the center of a galaxy lies.


a cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter.


is a huge collection of gas, dust, and billions of stars and their solar systems. A galaxy is held together by gravity.


a massive and extremely remote celestial object, emitting exceptionally large amounts of energy, and typically having a star-like image in a telescope. It has been suggested that quasars contain massive black holes and may represent a stage in the evolution of some galaxies.

Black Hole

A black hole is a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape. The strong gravity occurs because matter has been pressed into a tiny space. This compression can take place at the end of a star's life. Some black holes are a result of dying stars.


one of several hundred known celestial objects, generally believed to be rapidly rotating neutron stars, that emit pulses of radiation, especially radio waves, with a high degree of regular

Black Dwarf

A black dwarf is a theoretical stellar remnant, specifically a white dwarf that has cooled sufficiently that it no longer emits significant heat or light.

White Dwarf

A white dwarf is what stars like the Sun become after they have exhausted their nuclear fuel. Near the end of its nuclear burning stage, this type of star expels most of its outer material, creating a planetary nebula. Only the hot core of the star remains.

Solar System


Solar Flare- a brief powerful eruption of particles and intense electromagnetic radiation from the sun's surface, associated with sunspots and causing disturbances to radio communication on earth.

Solar Prominence (also known as a filament when viewed against the solar disk) is a large, bright feature extending outward from the Sun's surface. Scientists are still researching how and why prominences are formed.

Sunspot- are darker, cooler areas on the surface of the sun in a region called the photosphere.

Solar Wind- an emanation from the sun's corona consisting of a flow of charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, that interacts with the magnetic field of the earth and other planetary bodies.

Auroras- a radiant emission from the upper atmosphere that occurs sporadically over the middle and high latitudes of both hemispheres in the form of luminous bands, streamers, or the like, caused by the bombardment of the atmosphere with charged solar particles that are being guided along the earth's magnetic lines of force.

Solar Eclipse- an eclipse in which the sun is obscured by the moon.


Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system. It’s just a little bigger than Earth’s moon. It is the closest planet to the sun, but it’s actually not the hottest. Venus is hotter.


Even though Venus isn't the closest planet to the sun, it is still the hottest. It has a thick atmosphere full of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and clouds made of sulfuric acid. The gas traps heat and keeps Venus toasty warm. In fact, it's so hot on Venus, metals like lead would be puddles of melted liquid.


Mars is a cold desert world. It is half the size of Earth. Mars is sometimes called the Red Planet. It's red because of rusty iron in the ground.


Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system. It's similar to a star, but it never got big enough to start burning. It is covered in swirling cloud stripes. It has big storms like the Great Red Spot, which has been going for hundreds of years. Jupiter is a gas giant and doesn't have a solid surface, but it may have a solid inner core about the size of Earth. Jupiter also has rings, but they're too faint to see very well.


Saturn isn’t the only planet to have rings, but it definitely has the most beautiful ones. The rings we see are made of groups of tiny ringlets that surround Saturn. They’re made of chunks of ice and rock. Like Jupiter, Saturn is mostly a ball of hydrogen and helium.


Uranus is made of water, methane, and ammonia fluids above a small rocky center. Its atmosphere is made of hydrogen and helium like Jupiter and Saturn, but it also has methane. The methane makes Uranus blue. Uranus also has faint rings. The inner rings are narrow and dark. The outer rings are brightly colored and easier to see. Like Venus, Uranus rotates in the opposite direction as most other planets. And unlike any other planet, Uranus rotates on its side.


Neptune is dark, cold, and very windy. It's the last of the planets in our solar system. It's more than 30 times as far from the sun as Earth is. Neptune is very similar to Uranus. It's made of a thick soup of water, ammonia, and methane over an Earth-sized solid center. Its atmosphere is made of hydrogen, helium, and methane. The methane gives Neptune the same blue color as Uranus. Neptune has six rings, but they're very hard to see.


Pluto is a dwarf planet. A dwarf planet travels around, or orbits, the sun just like other planets. But it is much smaller. Pluto is very, very cold. It is much colder than Antarctica. It is so cold that Earth’s air would freeze into a kind of snow there. Pluto has less gravity than Earth. This means a person would weigh much less on Pluto than on Earth.


Comets are of frozen gases, rock and dust that is about the size of a small town. Comets orbit the sun. Jets of gas and dust from comets form long tails that can be seen from Earth.

Oort Cloud

a spherical shell of cometary bodies believed to surround the sun far beyond the orbits of the outermost planets and from which some are dislodged when perturbed to fall toward the sun — compare kuiper belt.

Asteroid Belt

the region of space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in which most asteroids are located.


a meteor that survives its passage through the earth's atmosphere such that part of it strikes the ground. More than 90 percent of meteorites are of rock, while the remainder consist wholly or partly of iron and nickel.


A moon is defined to be a celestial body that makes an orbit around a planet, including the eight major planets, dwarf planets, and minor planets. A moon may also be referred to as a natural satellite, although to differentiate it from other astronomical bodies orbiting another body, e.g. a planet orbiting a star, the term moon is used exclusively to make a reference to a planet’s natural satellite.


Apparent Magnitude- describes how bright an object appears in the sky from Earth.

Absolute Magnitude- is a concept that was invented after apparent magnitude when astronomers needed a way to compare the intrinsic, or absolute brightness of celestial objects.

Eclipsing Variable Star- pair of stars revolving about their common center of mass in an orbit whose plane passes through or very near the Earth.

Variable Star-a star that changes brightness. A star is considered variable if its apparent magnitude (brightness) is altered in any way from our perspective on Earth.

Light Year- is how astronomers measure distance in space. It’s defined by how far a beam of light travels in one year – a distance of six trillion miles.- A light-year is how astronomers measure distance in space. It’s defined by how far a beam of light travels in one year – a distance of six trillion miles.

Astronomical Unit- represents the mean distance between the Earth and our sun.

Event Horizon- boundary marking the limits of a black hole. At the event horizon, the escape velocity is equal to the speed of light.

Electromagnetic Spectrum- is the term used by scientists to describe the entire range of light that exists.

ROYGBIV- is an acronym for Red, Orange Yellow, Blue, Indigo, and Violet--the colors of the rainbow.

Dark Matter- a hypothetical form of matter invisible to electromagnetic radiation, postulated to account for gravitational forces observed in the universe.

Weird and strange, But True!

#1 In space the skin on your feet peels off!

This is a pretty gross fact but in the micro-gravity environment, astronauts are not using their feet to walk. Therefore the skin on their feet starts to soften and flakes off. As laundry facilities do not exist in space, astronauts will wear the same underwear and socks for a few days. Those socks then need to be taken off very gently. If not those dead skin cells will float around in the weightless environment.

#2 You become taller in Space?

Another change to the human body in micro-gravity is that spine straightens out, as gravity is not pushing you down. In fact you can be up to as much as 5cm taller in the Space Station.

#3 You can cry in space but your tears don’t fall!

On-board the International Space Station, water floats like bubbles or spheres. However the water will cling to a surface until it is dislodged. This means that tears start to form bubbles around your eyes as the weightless environment is not causing your tears to fall. This sounds really cool but it can be dangerous. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano suffered a space suit leak whilst on a spacewalk. The water leaked into his helmet covered his eyes and ears, but thankfully he made it back into the Space Station unharmed, but if not he could have drowned in space.

#4 Neutron stars can spin at a rate of 600 rotations per second!

Neutron stars are one of the possible evolutionary end-points of high mass stars. They're born in a core-collapse supernova star explosion and subsequently rotate extremely rapidly as a consequence of their physics. Neutron stars can rotate up to 60 times per second after born. Under special circumstances, this rate can increase to more than 600 times per second.

#5 In space, metal sticks together!

In a vacuum like space, when two pieces of metal touch each other they bond together. This is a process called cold welding. On the Earth because of the oxygen in our environment this does not happen naturally but it is used during some manufacturing processes. It is something to take into account but it is not usually a problem as the astronaut’s tools maintain an oxide layer even when leaving Earth.


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