Twinkle, twinkle little star, or is it – a star that is.
The story you’re reading is premium content for subscribers of the Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun and Journal-News. Not a subscriber? Get total access to all our in-depth news and exclusive content here.
Read MyDaytonDailyNews.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24 hours
Read MyDaytonDailyNews.com all week — weekly digital pass$3.99 per week
Subscribe for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
- Aug. 11: “Night at the Meteor Shower” – Join Greene County Parks & Trails to view hundreds of meteors as they streak across the sky during this free program beginning at 9 p.m. at Twin Towers Park, 501 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road, Fairborn. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Information, call (937) 562-6400 or email email@example.com.
- Aug. 16: “Venus, Mars, the Moon, and a Star Cluster to Observe” – Evening of Astronomy free event at 7 p.m. at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, 2600 DeWeese Parkway, Dayton. Information, visit https://boonshoftmuseum.org/.
- More: Every clear Friday night, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery Apollo Observatory is open to the public free of charge. For information, call (937) 275-7431.
NASA Stargazing Basics
(For more, visit http://solarsystem.nasa.gov)
- Asteroids: rocky, airless worlds that orbit our sun, but are too small to be called planets. Tens of thousands of these “minor planets” are gathered in the main asteroid belt, a vast doughnut-shaped ring between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids that pass close to Earth are called Near-Earth Objects.
- Comets: cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust roughly the size of a small town. When a comet’s orbit brings it close to the sun, it heats up and spews dust and gases into a giant glowing head larger than most planets. The dust and gases form a tail that stretches away from the sun for millions of kilometers.
- Earth’s moon: Our Moon makes Earth a more livable planet by moderating our home planet’s wobble on its axis, leading to a relatively stable climate, and creating a rhythm that has guided humans for thousands of years. The Moon was likely formed after a Mars-sized body collided with Earth and the debris formed into the most prominent feature in our night sky.
- Meteors and meteorites: little chunks of rock and debris in space are called meteoroids. They become meteors — or shooting stars — when they fall through a planet’s atmosphere; leaving a bright trail as they are heated to incandescence by the friction of the atmosphere. Pieces that survive the journey and hit the ground are called meteorites.
- Solar system: refers to a star and all the objects that travel in orbit around it. Our solar system consists of the sun - our star - eight planets and their natural satellites (such as our moon); dwarf planets; asteroids and comets. Our solar system is located in an outward spiral of the Milky Way galaxy.
- Sun: a star, a hot ball of glowing gases at the heart of our solar system. Its influence extends far beyond the orbits of distant Neptune and Pluto. Without the sun’s intense energy and heat, there would be no life on Earth. And though it is special to us, there are billions of stars like our sun scattered across the Milky Way galaxy.