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Chapter 14: Beyond the Solar System

Difficulty Level: Basic Created by: CK-12
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To infinity and beyond!

The same tools that are used to study the solar system can be used to study the great beyond. Tools like the Hubble Space Telescope show astronomers the most amazing things. Even one century ago, no one knew that there was anything out there beyond our galaxy. Now we can see fantastic images of other galaxies. And supernovae and stars and even evidence of black holes. In this concept, we will explore a tiny bit of what is out there... beyond our solar system... even beyond our galaxy! This Hubble Space Telescope image is of one of the Universe's most photogenic galaxies, Messier 104.

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Like humans, stars have a life cycle. Stars are born, go through middle age and then end in some sort of death. Exactly what happens depends on the size of the star. We can see different types of stars in the sky. Some stars are brighter than others. Some are colored and some are white. Stars are classified by their size and brightness. Stars cluster in galaxies. There are some fantastic galaxies to see! We are located on an arm of a spiral galaxy. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way. There are many other galaxies of different types. Scientists use observations, measurements, and mathematical calculations to hypothesize an origin for the Universe. The theory that fits the data is called the Big Bang. Scientists continue to learn new things about the Universe. For example, dark matter and dark energy have only recently been discovered. In fact, dark energy may not even exist!

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Date Created:
Nov 05, 2015
Last Modified:
Nov 20, 2015
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