Special Science Teleclass: Astronomy

This is a recording of a recent live teleclass I did with thousands of kids from all over the world. I’ve included it here so you can participate and learn, too

Our solar system includes rocky terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn), ice giants (Uranus and Neptune), and assorted chunks of ice and dust that make up various comets and asteroids.

Did you know you can take an intergalactic star tour without leaving your seat? To get you started on your astronomy adventure, I have a front-row seat for you in a planetarium-style star show. I usually give this presentation at sunset during my live workshops, so I inserted slides along with my talk so you could see the pictures better. This video below is long, so I highly recommend doing this with friends and a big bowl of popcorn. Ready?
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20 Responses to “Special Science Teleclass: Astronomy”
  1. James Mathewson says:

    astronomy is awesome! i want to become a astronaut chemist when i grow up!!!!!!! (tech wiz at school)

  2. Aurora says:

    It’s the moon 🙂

  3. Jen Shaffer says:

    Hi there! In the part where you’re showing a year of the sky in the South Pole, what’s that white circle that shows up in May-August?

  4. Brett Barkley says:

    This was such a great video,I learned so much!!!!!

  5. Aurora says:

    Sure! First, a star guide or something similar is an astronomer’s best friend! You can read more about that here:


    Next, get very comfortable with your telescope – inside, with the lights on! This will help you know exactly how to set it up quickly and accurately on a dark evening.

    Finally, I would recommend that you find a local astronomy club. They can provide hands-on help with your specific telescope and are a wealth of information about all things astronomical.

    I hope this helps!

  6. Jessica Taylor says:

    Do you have any tips on finding things through a telescope?

  7. Aurora says:

    Not based on the forms of stars that we current know to exist, no. They are far too hot and landing on one would surely vaporize a spaceship.

    However – it’s theoretically possible as it’s hypothesized that stars can burn up all of their hydrogen and helium to the point that they become a black dwarf stellar remnant, emitting no light or heat.

  8. Robert Fosrter says:

    will a star ever cool down and condense enough to land on?

  9. Sochetra Mo says:

    Hi Aurora. I learned that you can see four of Saturn’s moons. But I was wondering which ones?

  10. James says:

    Hello Mrs. Lipper! Thank you for another awesome video! How do we know what the birth of a star looks like when we have never witnessed one? Also, how do we know that the birth of a star forms every element on the periodic table?

    On a side note, have you heard about the NICER and SEXTANT missions that just arrived at Kennedy Space Center? NICER (Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer) is supposed to test the theories of the nature of neutron stars and high-density matter by exploiting the pulsations of pulsars! The SEXTANT (Station Explorer for X-ray Timing And Navigation Technology) program actually uses the pulsars as navigation beacons! It is supposed to be launched to the ISS in February of 2017. They are expecting the initial results by summer of that year. Cool!

  11. Aurora says:

    Jupiter has lightning storms on it, so why doesn’t it blow up? It is 90% hydrogen, but the remaining 10% is mostly Helium. What’s missing then?
    Oxygen. Without it, the hydrogen doesn’t burn. Jupiter has very little oxygen , so the lightning storms on Jupiter don’t ignite the planet or start a fire.

  12. Jackie Quarles says:

    If you could take fire into space and lit Jupiter on fire would it like blow up cause its made up of gasses?
    Our sun isn’t big enough to turn in to a black whole if it were to blow up is it?

  13. Aurora says:

    It’s actually not too close to the sun. They have ones that orbit the earth and continually point toward the sun, also scopes on the earth are pointed toward the sun. You can learn more about it here: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/

  14. Marie Hutt says:

    How does NASA get close up pictures of the sun without their spacecraft burning up?

  15. Angela Foster says:

    I loved this! It was awesome.

  16. Luila Barber says:

    thats cool :()

  17. Aurora says:

    Between 1,000-5,000 are visible to the naked eye. Some folks can see more stars than others, depending on their eyesight. And if you live near the city, you’ll see less than folks in the country. And if the moon is out, there’s less stars that are visible as well. 🙂

  18. Jennifer Dove says:

    how many stars are in the sky

  19. Aurora says:

    Here’s the deal: Scientists think that Uranus and Neptune may rain diamonds, which are also piled up several miles thick at the cores of each planet. Here’s how we know this:

    Both Uranus and Neptune are almost 4 times the size of Earth. While there’s an outer layer of helium and hydrogen, it also contains methane, which is also called a ‘hydrocarbon’. The atmospheres are very dense had the planets each have a rocky core. The temperatures of these two planets are from 3,000 to 12,000°F, and they also have atmospheric pressures 200,000 to 6,000,000 times the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere. That’s 6 MILLION times the pressure we have here!

    A curious team of scientists during the 1980s at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory tested what would happen to methane under intense pressure and temperature. Marvin Ross (the leading scientist) guessed that the methane gas separated into hydrogen and carbon when it reached temperatures above 3,000°F and pressures above 200,000 Earth atmospheres. This means that the carbon atoms were so tightly squeezed together that they would form diamonds! So like any good scientist, his time designed an experiment that used a gas cannon to quickly compress and shock methane gas samples in their laboratory.

    Guess what they found? They spotted diamonds the instant before the material evaporated. Several other science teams performed the same experiment with identical results. In other words, possibly ideal conditions for producing diamonds are on Neptune and Uranus. We need to get better and figuring out the exact conditions that exist of each planet before we know for sure.

  20. Susanna says:

    No way… does it really rain diamonds? How does that happen??

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