Planets

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What is Pluto – a Star or a Comet?

What is Pluto – a Star or a Comet?

Which is the planet farthest from the sun? Pluto, of course. But, some recent findings suggest that Pluto is not a planet at all. It seems Pluto could actually be a comet, reports the National Geographic website – www.nationalgeographic.com Basically, it is Pluto’s small size that has got it into trouble. It has a diameter of approximately 1,420 miles or 2,280 kilometers. This makes it six times smaller than Earth. This fact irked scientists who always suspected that something so small could never belong to the hallowed club of planets....

Why Do Stars Twinkle?

Why Do Stars Twinkle?

Watching stars on a moonless night can be an quite an interesting experience. As clusters of stars take familiar forms – of a bear, a man in armor wielding a sword, millions of other stars simply twinkle. As if they were playing hide and seek with one’s eyes. We all know that each star is actually like the sun. And the huge collection of stars on the night sky is like a collection of many, many suns....

The Secrets of the Ocean Floor

The Secrets of the Ocean Floor

It is one question that is not a quizmasters’ favourite: which is the tallest mountain on earth? The answer is bound to come fast and snappy – Mt Everest, at a height of 29,000 feet. But that is only on land. For, if you were to measure from the bottom of the ocean, the tallest mountain in the world will probably be Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It rises more than 15,748 feet under the sea and another 13,779 feet above it....

Treaty on Global Warming

Treaty on Global Warming

In the last week of July 2001, representatives from 178 countries met in Bonn, Germany, for something that is very crucial to their future and the very survival of our planet. They signed a historic agreement that promises to fight global warming. This is the first international treaty of its kind that seeks to check the excesses of human development at the cost of the environment – and the planet itself. Location and date marker for glacier in Jasper National Park in Canada....

When will the Oceans of the Earth Overflow?

When will the Oceans of the Earth Overflow?

Try this out. Plug the sink and leave the water running. It will lead to a flood in the bathroom and a scolding for letting the water overflow. Since the sink could not hold an unlimited amount of water, it let the water spill out. But even the oceans are enormous bodies of water that get flooded with water from rain, melting ice, and rivers year after year. Will they start overflowing too? If so, when?...

Planets! Planets! and more Planets!

Planets! Planets! and more Planets!

Astronomers working at Berkeley and Geneva have found nine new planets circling nearby stars. With this discovery, we now know of 50 extra-solar planets, also called exoplanets. That is a big increase from 41 planets last known five years ago. All these individual planets move in an orbit around a star, which is called their parent star. The astronomers estimate that the Beta Pictoris star has a planet ten times the mass of Earth. It orbits at a distance of about 10....

What were the Voyager Missions?

What were the Voyager Missions?

Imagine a journey that takes you a billion kilometres away from earth, to the edge of the solar system, from where you can look back over your shoulder and see our sun as just another star in the sky. We are not talking about a science fiction movie but the Voyager space mission. On August 20, 1977, the Voyager 2 spacecraft was launched. Close on its heels, the Voyager 1 was launched on September 5, 1977....

How are Stars Named?

How are Stars Named?

Till now we have only seen roads, railway stations, airports, places etc. being named after famous people. But imagine paying money to get a star named after you. If that can happen, then anything is possible in this world! Well, there are organisations in different parts of the world that sell names for the stars in the sky. All you have to do is – go there, fill out the long, detailed form that they give you and buy star names or name stars after someone....

Logging on to Aliens

Logging on to Aliens

Do you believe that there might be life on other planets? Would you like to be the first ‘Earthling’ to make contact with an alien? Well, you can start your search from home. All you need is a computer and Internet access, and you can join the project of the US-based National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Logging on to Aliens [Illustrations by Kusum Chamoli] NASA launched the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project, eight years ago....

What Kind of Creatures are Sharks?

What Kind of Creatures are Sharks?

Sharks can be found in every ocean of the world. To many people, there’s only one kind of shark: the man-eating white shark of the movie Jaws. They think sharks are ruthless predators that attack anything they come across. Sharks are sometimes thought of as primitive creatures as they have been in existence for million of years. In fact, sharks are very intelligent. They have a fantastic sense of smell and hearing as well as good vision in low light conditions....

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