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chemical bonds Chemistry covalent bonds Featured Guide to Space ionic bonds matter molecules 

What are Molecules?

For millennia, scientists have pondered the mystery of life – namely, what goes into making it? According to most ancient cultures, life and all existence was made up of the basic elements of nature – i.e. Earth, Air, Wind, Water, and Fire. However, in time, many philosophers began to put forth the notion that all things were composed of tiny, indivisible things that could neither be created nor destroyed (i.e. particles). However, this was a largely philosophical notion, and it was not until the emergence of atomic theory and modern…

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Earth electricity electromagnetism Featured Guide to Space magnetic field magnetosphere magnets Physics 

What is a Magnetic Field?

Everyone knows just how fun magnets can be. As a child, who among us didn’t love to see if we could make our silverware stick together? And how about those little magnetic rocks that we could arrange to form just about any shape because they stuck together? Well, magnetism is not just an endless source of fun or good for scientific experiments; it’s also one of basic physical laws upon which the universe is based. The attraction known as magnetism occurs when a magnetic field is present, which is a…

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Featured Great Red Spot Guide to Space Juno Jupiter Oval BA 

How Big is the Great Red Spot?

When we used to do the Virtual Star Party (and I really need to start those up again, they were super fun), I had the worst luck with Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Whenever Jupiter was in the sky, the Great Red Spot always eluded us. Even though we should have had a 50/50 shot at seeing the massive storm on Jupiter, it was always hiding. Why so shy Jovian storm? Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is an enormous swirling storm located on a band of clouds just south of the planet’s…

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Astronomy Featured global warming Guide to Space orbit orbital velocity red giant 

What if Earth Stopped Orbiting the Sun?

In a previous article I investigated what would happen if the Earth stopped turning entirely, either locking to the Sun or the background stars. If it happened quickly, then results would be catastrophic, turning the whole planet into a blended slurry of mountains, oceans and trees, hurting past a hundreds of kilometers per hour. And if it happened slowly, it would still be unpleasant, as we stopped having a proper day/night cycle. But it wouldn’t be immediately lethal. But would happen if the Earth somehow just stopped in its tracks…

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Astronomy Earth Featured Ganymede Guide to Space Jupiter Mars mass Mercury Neptune planets Saturn Titan Uranus Venus 

What are the Different Masses of the Planets?

It is a well known fact that the planets of the Solar System vary considerably in terms of size. For instance, the planets of the inner Solar System are smaller and denser than the gas/ice giants of the outer Solar System. And in some cases, planets can actually be smaller than the largest moons. But a planet’s size is not necessarily proportional to its mass. In the end, how massive a planet is has more to do with its composition and density. So while a planet like Mercury may…

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