tutorial

Forum discussion tagged with tutorial.
  1. How To What is a Dwarf Star?

    As far as suns go, ours is pretty small, but we never think of it as such. It’s fairly average in size when you consider how big other stars are, though. There are, of course, larger stars out there. Much larger, in fact. The largest we’ve discovered up to now makes our Sun look like a dot of...
  2. How To Are Black Holes Really That Massive?

    Did you know that at the center of nearly every galaxy, there’s a supermassive black hole lurking? Supermassive conjures up scary images of a hulking mass, which isn’t too far off. But we always hear about how black holes are basically an incredible amount of mass shoved into an incredibly small...
  3. How To How Strong is the Gravity of a Black Hole?

    Black holes test our comprehension of physics. They’re extremes that are fascinating to study and difficult to understand. One of the most intriguing aspects of black holes is their intense gravity. It’s what allows them to trap anything that gets too close, even light. It’s what makes them so...
  4. How To How Does Time Dilation Work?

    Time isn’t quite as straightforward as we think. We tend to work by the clock, punching in at 9 and heading home at 5, and in that span our experience of time doesn’t change (though it seems to slow down before the weekend). In reality, though, according to our understanding of physics and...
  5. How To What is the Biggest Object Ever Discovered in Space?

    There are a lot of things out there that are far more massive than anything in our solar system. We’re like ants on our giant rock of a planet, but our planet is an ant compared to the Sun. This type of scale could go on and on. It’s just like the concept that there’s always a bigger fish...
  6. How To What is Jupiter’s Atmosphere Made Of?

    Jupiter is an intriguing planet, and not just because of how massive it is. The first of the outer planets and a gas giant that dwarfs our tiny planet, Jupiter and its Great Red Spot has been a subject of study since Galileo first turned his telescope to it. Learning about this alien world has...
  7. How To What is VY Canis Majoris?

    There are many classes of stars, from the red, white, and brown dwarfs to the red giants and blue supergiants. As far as stars go, ours is pretty average. It’s not small, but it doesn’t rank among the supergiants either. There are some stars out there that are impressively huge, though. They go...
  8. How To Can Alcohol Survive in Space?

    Alcohol is an ingrained (get it?) part of our culture and has been since as far back as the Babylonians. It is, however, banned on the International Space Station, so if you had dreams of boozing it up in low Earth orbit, you’ll have to wait for commercial flights. But can alcohol even survive...
  9. How To How Does a Star Form?

    Look up at the night sky, and you’ll see a twinkling display of thousands of stars. There are billions more that we can’t see, but they’re there nevertheless. Some of those points of light are entire galaxies with billions of stars themselves. How did all of those dots get there? What causes...
  10. How To What Would Happen if the Earth Started Spinning in the Other Direction?

    We can’t feel it, but we’re happily spinning through space on this globe we call the Earth at about 1000 mph at the equator. From above, Earth is turning counterclockwise in a prograde motion, which means the planet moves west to east relative to the stars. This is how we’ve moved since the...
  11. How To Why Do Objects Burn as They Enter Earth’s Atmosphere?

    One extremely important consideration that goes into the engineering of spaceships is their ability to withstand the heat of reentry. Pushing through the Earth’s atmosphere causes extreme temperatures that can burn up manmade objects and space debris alike. What causes this fiery phenomenon...
  12. How To What is the Sun Made Of?

    The Sun is a scary hot, violent place. It’s also essential for most forms of life on Earth. Stars are very different from the planets they host, and it’s rather fascinating how they do what they do. Learning about our Sun tells us a lot about stars elsewhere, because stars are formed from the...
  13. How To Are There Other Planets with Water?

    The Earth is a very special place. To our knowledge, we’re the only planet with life, and that’s significant. We owe a lot of our special circumstances to the presence of water, so naturally that’s the first thing we look for when we’re searching for life outside our solar system. Even if it’s...
  14. How To What is a Quasar?

    Astronomical mysteries abound. Whenever something new is discovered, it presents an opportunity to peek into the unknown and learn even more about the universe. Studying objects and phenomena that are happening millions of light years away is always challenging, but scientists persevere. Out in...
  15. How To Why Are Neutron Stars So Heavy?

    What’s so small that it’s super heavy and just a teaspoon of it would weigh 10 million tons? If you guessed a neutron star, you’re right. We can barely comprehend this kind of scale, but it certainly exists. What’s with this insanity? What makes neutron stars so heavy? 1. Neutron stars form...
  16. How To Where Do Meteors Come From?

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Actually, it’s a hunk of rock hurtling through our atmosphere after a million mile trip around the solar system Meteors when they’re in the sky, meteorites if they hit the ground, and asteroids before they do either, these chunks of cosmic metals are an ever-present...
  17. How To What is the Moon’s Effect on the Earth?

    The Moon doesn’t seem to do much, does it? It just moves around up there, always watching with the same stoic face. The truth is, when two large bodies such as the Earth and the Moon are close to one another, they’re bound to interact. Here’s what the Moon does to the Earth. 1. Are you a fan...
  18. How To What Would the Moons of Mars Look Like From Its Surface?

    We’ve grown accustomed to seeing our beautiful moon in the sky day after day. Sometimes, when it’s full, we gaze in wonder at its beauty. Most of the time, though, we forget about it. This would all change if we were ever to live on Mars. Suddenly, we would have new moons to gaze at. What would...
  19. How To Why Are Spacesuits So Heavy?

    Imagine trying to fix machinery while you’re orbiting Earth, with the Sun pelting you with rays, space dust flying all around, and your only source of oxygen strapped to your back. That’s what astronauts on spacewalks experience, and they do it all in 280 pound spacesuits. Of course, thanks to a...
  20. How To What is the Goldilocks Zone?

    The story of Goldilocks is often brought up to demonstrate an idea of perfection, or what is “just right.” But what does it mean when applied to space? Where astronomy and astrobiology are concerned, what exactly is the Goldilocks Zone? 1. Not too far, not too close. As far as carbon-based life...