We know that the Universe is an unfathomably large place and astronomy is infuriatingly complicated. Nevertheless, we want to help YOU understand the machinations and mysteries of this annoyingly complex cosmos. Toward that end, we ask you to send your astronomy/astrophysics questions to our staff astronomer: firstname.lastname@example.org
He'll not only send a response to you personaly, but we'll post the question and answer to this web-pageI.
II. "Ok, so, I know that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. The other day, though, I heard that particles which travel faster than light emit a strange kind of blue radiation. But, I didn't think anything could go faster than light?"
IV. "I was told that light has no mass. I also know that gravity is a force between two or more massive objects. So, how is it that massive objects can affect the trajectories of light particles, or photons?"
XI. "Hello! I saw something the other day that doesn't seem to make any sense. I read that Mars has the longest orbital period of the planets. Can that be right? I thought the most distant planets had the longest periods."
XII. "I read an article that said that winter is the shortest season. Is that right? It feels like it is never going to end!"
XV. "I know that many tests have been conducted to corroborate General Relativity. I understand why the Eddington expedition's* star field images were helpful. But, why was the 43 arc-second Mercury perihelion shift important in verifying General Relativity and what does it mean?"
XVII. "The Apollo astronauts collected rocks from the Moon and brought them back to Earth. Fine. But, I heard that pieces of the Moon, called lunar meteorites, were already here and are still here scattered around the planet. Is that true? How did they get here?"
XVIII. "Why do so many physicists and cosmologists assume that gravity and other fundamental forces are the same throughout the entire universe? Couldn't space-time have different qualities in different 'locales' within it?"
XXIII. "So is the moon being attracted by another planet and eventually it will move into another planets orbit? Is Earth also moving closer towards the sun? Will all the planets eventually be pulled into the sun and have a flaming end?"
XXIV. "I was listening to one of those radio quiz shows and they had a question on it I didn't understand. 'How fast would a 10 meter rod have to travel in order to fit into a 5 meter space,' or something like that. The answer was, like, 86 percent the speed of light. Could you explain this?
XXV. "Venus and Jupiter are going to be very close together on July 1st, you wrote in a recent article. Will these two planets being so close together affect Earth gravitationally? Will we have higher tides or anything like that?"
XXVI. "Could you explain 'Nemesis?' Is the Sun actually part of a binary star system?"
XXVIII. "My Snapple Cap had a fact on it I wanted to ask about. It said that cows resting or grazing align themselves with Earth's Magnetic poles. My question is 1. how do they know that cows do that and 2. how do cows know where the magnetic field lines are?"
Questions answered by
Edward Gleason, Level XXII Astronomer