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 Textbook: Astronomy and our world today (Modules: 1/13) - Part 3

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Aurora Merrythought
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PostSubject: Textbook: Astronomy and our world today (Modules: 1/13) - Part 3   Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:15 pm

Chapter 9: Traveling ‘Planets’

Wizards. We are a wasteful lot! Using magic creates a lot of magical
pollution that travels in to outer space creating what we Astronomers
called Cosmic Storms. At least that is the current theory behind
Traveling 'Planets'. Do we know they exist? Yes! Do we know how they
came in to existence? No! Do we want to know? Yes! Can we take hundreds
of educated guesses? Yes! And so that is what we are doing.

Cosmic storms float around and pass over planets. The large amount of
magical energy that is released forever alters the planet. Some
thousands of years after a cosmic storm has passed planets began to
suddenly disappear. Not in the sense of 'never coming back' but they
move; Hence the term traveling planets. This is a theory that is very
well supported in the magical community on how Traveling Planets are
created; however traveling planets are real. The earliest documented
study we can figure was in 1593 by a Sir Wallace Wandanded Willabee
Wizbanger, he was a relatively daft old man who had been sitting on his
porch having tea when a star moved. He made little note of it passing
it off as a shooting star with odd behaviour. He did tell his Great
Great Grandson Lord Wallace Wandanded Willabee Wizbanger III. This
young man was quite bright for his age and did mark it down and did
study it. Even with telescopes in those days he managed to make out
that it had been a planet and only a few days before it had not been
there."

In about the 1870's scientists took The Wizbanger's information and
managed to track down the same planet and it had moved yet again. 20
years later it disappeared and reappeared in another spot; this lead to
the creation of this theory over the last 100 years or so. I highly
recommend reading 'Wizbanger’s: Daft or Just plain lucky?' it is an
excellent compilation of the theory in greater detail.


Chapter 10: Nebulas


Nebulas are huge pockets of gas in space. There are generally three kinds of Nebula's:

1. Planetary Nebula: A planetary nebula is a nebula formed from by a
shell of gas that was ejected from a certain kind of extremely hot
star. As the giant star explodes, the core of the star is exposed.
Planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets. The Hourglass Nebula
is a planetary nebula.

2. Fragments of supernova explosions: Supernova Remnants or Nova
Remnants are nebula created by the left over material of one of the
events stated above.

3. Diffuse nebula: A diffuse nebula is a wide, spread-out,
irregularly-shaped cloud of gas (mostly hydrogen gas) in space that can
be up to 100 light-years wide. This type of nebula can appear to be
light or dark.


Chapter 11: Asteroids

Asteroids are normally rocky metallic objects that orbit the sun but
are too small to be considered planets. Many refer to them as ‘minor’
planets. Asteroids can be many sizes for example Ceres, is 1000km
across and yet others are the size of small stones or pebbles.
Asteroids have been found all over our solar system; however most of
them are in one specific area called the ‘main belt’. It is located
between Mars and Jupiter’s orbits. There are many theories on where the
asteroid belt came from or how it was created. The mundane theory
believes it was planetary matter that just did not form in to a planet
like earth or Mars. The reason they give is the gravitational
interference from Jupiter's huge mass prevented proto-planetary bodies
from growing larger than about 1,000 km (620 miles). However the other
theory states it was a planet that exploded or some how
self-destructed. What we do know is the asteroid belt is Primordial
Matter (Being or happening first in sequence of time; original.). Why
is that significant? Well that means it cannot have come from anywhere
else. It is original to our solar system.


Chapter 12: Meteoroids, Meteorites, and Meteor Showers

A meteor is the visible path of a meteoroid that enters the Earth's (or
another body's) atmosphere, commonly called a shooting star or falling
star. For bodies with a size scale larger than the atmospheric mean
free path (10 cm to several meters) the visibility is due to the heat
produced by the ram pressure (not friction, as is commonly assumed) of
atmospheric entry.

Since the majority of meteors are from small sand-grain size meteoroid
bodies, most visible signatures are caused by dexcitation following the
individual collisions between vaporized meteor atoms and atmospheric
constituents.

Now, while this all may seem complicated, it's actually very
interesting. Astronomy Masters in and around the north pole, such as
Lapp Shamans have actually protected us humans for hundreds using
ancient astrological magic to destroy meteors before they can hit and
cause global catastrophe. They rely a lot on the stars and planets in
the magical work, and are pretty unknown to the wizardological world.

A meteorite is an extraterrestrial body that survives its impact with
the Earth's surface without being destroyed. While in space it is
called a meteoroid. When it enters the atmosphere, air resistance
causes the body to heat up and emit light, thus forming a fireball,
also known as a meteor or shooting star.

A meteor shower, some of which are known as a "meteor storm", "meteor
outburst", or "shooting star", is a celestial event where a group of
meteors are observed to radiate from one point in the sky. These
meteors are small fragments of cosmic debris entering Earth's
atmosphere at extremely high speed. They vaporize due to friction with
the air, leaving a streak of light that very quickly disappears. For
bodies with a size scale larger than the atmospheric mean free path (10
cm to several meters) this visible light is due to the heat produced by
the ram pressure (not friction, as is commonly assumed) of atmospheric
entry. Most of the small fragments of cosmic debris are smaller than a
grain of sand, so almost all fragments disintegrate and never hit the
earth's surface. Fragments which do contact Earth's surface are called
meteorites (look above).


Chapter 13: Comets

Among the most brilliant, and most rare objects in the night sky. These
soaring beacons with their beautiful tails come from the outer realms
of the Solar System. A comet is a planetesimal. They are made out of
dust, and ice. Kind of like a dirty snow ball. Comets come from two
places: The Kuiper Belt, and the Oort Cloud, both of which are on the
very edge of the solar system.

A comet will spend billions of years in the Kuiper Belt or Oort Cloud.
Sometimes two comets will come very close to each other, or even crash
into one another. When this happens the comets change directions.
Sometimes their new path will bring them into the Inner Solar System.



This is when a comet begins to shine. Up until now the comet has been
among millions of others exactly the same, but as they approach the
warmer Inner Solar System they begin to melt leaving behind magnificent
tails.

Unfortunately Comets don't live very long once they enter the warmer
part of the Solar System. Just like a snowman melts in the summer,
comets melt in the Inner Solar System. Although it is the most glorious
part of their lives, traveling through the Inner Solar System
eventually kills them. After several thousand years they melt down to a
little bit of ice, and dust, not nearly enough to leave a tail. Some
even melt away completely.

Many people think that a comets tail is always following behind it, but
actually the coma, or tail can either be behind the comet or in front
of it. Which way the tail is pointing depends on where the Sun is.
That's right, the Sun's heat and radiation produce a wind called the
Solar Wind, as a comet gets close to the Sun it begins to melt. The gas
and dust that melt off are blown away from the Sun by the solar winds.
So if a comet is traveling towards the Sun then the tail will follow
behind, but if the comet is traveling away from the Sun the tail will
be in front of the comet.
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