I know that you know the basic stuff about space. You know that there is a Sun. And that there are planets that revolve around the sun. There are moons and stars. What else do you know? You know that our Earth is the only planet that has life. Humans, a term that we use for inhabitants of planet Earth, are in a constant quest to understand the mystery called space. Do you want to know what all have we discovered out there? Let us add a few more pointers to your existing knowledge of space.
LET US START WITH ‘ASTRO’
The word ‘astro’ derived from Greek word ‘astron’ meaning star means something related to star or heavenly bodies. Astronomy is the study of celestial bodies. Astronauts are the people who travel into space to explore these celestial bodies.
Astrophysics is the study of the space bodies using physics.
Do you know that the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies are believed to have an influence on human affairs and the natural world? Astrology is the study that looks into all of it. A person trained to do all this is an astronomer.
Anything related to astronomy is called astronomical.
Probably you know about them but just a quick recap. A celestial body is a natural object that is located outside Earth’s atmosphere. This means moon, sun, star, planets, asteroids are all celestial bodies.
Is a satellite in space a celestial body? No. It is a man-made object in space!
DUST GAS ROCKS
Oh no! Not saying dust and gas rock together in space ;) There is a lot of dust, gas and rock suspended in space. Their existence creates interesting objects in space.
Nebula is a cloud of dust and gases situated between stars.
Comet is a frozen mass of gas and dust moving about the sun. When very close to the Sun, gas and dust particles tend to move away from the sun, leaving a trail that looks like a tail ;)
Asteroid is a rock that orbits the sun.
Meteorites are small rocks or debris moving in space.
HOW ABOUT STARS?
There is so much more to stars in space than just their tinkle. A lot of reactions happen at the ‘nucleus’ which is the centre of the stars.
Nova is a star that suddenly brightens up to many times its original tinkle and then slowly returns to its original state.
Supernova is a massive star that increases greatly in brightness, shines for months together and then explodes. Supernovas can turn brighter than millions of suns before the explosion. Supernova explosion is an extremely rare celestial phenomenon.
White dwarf is referred to a star that is dead. How does a star die? When no activity happens at the core of the star, they are considered dead.
Black holes are the most mysterious things in space. They form when a massive star, many times bigger than sun collapses. All the star matter gets packed into very tiny space. This results in incredibly high gravity in the region. There is nothing that can escape a black hole, not even light!!