- Our most powerful telescopes can only see a certain distance into space. What lies beyond that?
- We read sometimes that a very distant galaxy has been observed, say
12 billion light years away whose light left not long after the big bang. How is that possible without the the two moving apart faster than the speed of light which is itself a limiting speed?
- If the Universe (space) is expanding on a cosmic scale, is it also expanding on a local one? In other words, is the distance between planets or even electrons also increasing?
- If all black holes are by definition infinitely dense and infinitely small,
how can there be different sized black holes? Isn't infinity non-negotiable?
- Given the theory that the universe was created by one huge explosion all the planets like earth seem to be incredibly circular or rounded in shape. How could this be?
- Why are planets round?
- Why doesn't the constant shedding of debris from a comet
(giving it a tail) mean that they 'wear out' in a few years, or
decades, or centuries?
- Why is it that all matter in the universe is subject to a spinning
motion? Both at the micro and macro level, bodies spin around their own
axis as well as around other bodies. What is responsible for all this
spinning, and is this maybe the universal force that makes the universe
- What would happen if two black holes got close to each other?
- How was space formed?
- How big is space?
- I have been told the Earth gets 100 tonnes heavier each day due to
space dust. Is this so?
- At mid-winter in Wellington (latitude 41.3 degrees), the Sun rises at 7.48 am
and sets at 4.58 pm (NZST), whereas in Sydney (latitude 33.9 degrees),
the Sun rises at 7:00 am and sets at 4.54 pm (AEST). Sunrise in Sydney
is earlier at that time of year, because it’s further north. However, the sunset
times are almost the same. Why isn’t the Sydney sunset time later than that
- I read somewhere that gold is not a naturally occurring mineral on earth, but
instead has come from debris after certain planets collided. If that is so, are
any further visitations possible or was it a one-off event during earlier stages
of the Big Bang?
- If a lunar month is 28 days, does that mean a full moon is always on the same
day of the week?
- The sun cuts an arc across the sky from sunrise to sunset that is high overhead
in the summer and low in the winter. The moon's path is the exact opposite of
this. High overhead in the winter, low in the summer. Is there some kind of mirror effect happening?
- On Sunday May 5th, near Clydevale in South Otago, we saw
through a hole in the clouds something falling with white smoke-like
stuff trailing behind it. It seemed to hit nearby trees.
Could it have been space junk?
- Could it be true that the solar system exerts a modulating influence
on solar cycles?
- How is it that our seasons change exactly on time by calendar whether the Earth
is moving in orbit away from the Sun or towards it?
- Is Pluto a planet or not? It has moons, so is it a planet?
How do the moons hide? Are the moons hiding behind Pluto?
- How did the sun get so hot and stay hot?
- Who discovered the first planet and how did they know it was a planet?
- I overheard some people talking about the galactic equator and planetary
alignment on Dec 21, 2012. What is expected to happen then?
- On Tuesday the 13 of March 2012 at 8:50pm I was sitting in our spa watching, what I
believed was a satellite, going slow across the sky (south to north) then all of a sudden it
flashed really bright then took off across the sky really fast. What could this be?
- Why is gravity on Mercury different to gravity on Earth?
- If all the elements in planet Earth other than the lightest two or three were
formed within earlier generations of stars, and planet Earth was later formed
from the remains of these stars, how is it that the metals used in modern
technologies are not evenly distributed through the lithosphere, but tend to be
concentrated in particular places?
- Is the Moon drawing closer to the Earth?
- How can astronomers look 13 billion years into the past?
- What do you think happened to wipe out the dinosaurs?
- When is the best time to see meteorites?
- What knocked over Uranus so that it is on its side?
- What is the nearest galaxy to ours?
- Since looking through a super telescope is looking backwards in time,
does the universe have a visible "edge" (a kind of medieval stellatum or
Primum Mobile) where it is impossible to see any further - because
to see further is to see before time? Also does the universe have a
center or does it always appear that way from a viewer's perspective?
- Has the Earth's gravity changed over time?
- I recall reading that the sun radiates energy by converting hydrogen into
helium at the rate of 600,000 tonnes a second. The sun is billions of
years old so how could it use up hydrogen at that rate? Does it accumulate
hydrogen from space?
- How much energy is in the Sun compared to a single light bulb?
- How far does light travel?
- Why does the direction of the sun rise vary
during the year. For the Manawatu, what are the extremes during the year?
- A recent article stated that astronauts on the moon could blot out
the earth using their thumb at arms length. Is this so?
- Why are the Sun and Moon visible from both sides of the equator?
- Why is that when I am standing still the Moon looks still, but when I am
moving in a car the Moon looks like it is following me?
- Why do planets move in elliptical rather than circular orbits?
- If the Earth and Sun's alignment was altered,
say by an asteroid impact, would our lives be effected?
- Camryn Mabey, of Riverdale School, asked:-
- What was it that started the big bang?
- Why does the Earth rotate and orbit but the Moon only orbits and doesn't rotate?
- Why does the Earth revolve and the Moon doesn't?
Do all planets revolve?
- What is the size of the
Moon's umbra, the shadow cast on the Earth during an eclipse of the Sun?
- Has the Sun's diameter changed over the past 100 million years and is
this a likely problem for the Earth?
- For several months the new moon has been accompanied by an out of focus image,
lying adjacent. One new moon I saw had an additional red crescent wedged
in between. Is this related to the recent unpredictable weather patterns?
- Why does a calendar refer to the lunar phases being "first quarter" and
"last quarter", when in fact it's half of the Moon that appears bright
at those times?
- I was delighted by the brilliant display in
the early morning sky: the cresent Moon, Orion and the Great Dog with Sirius at its
sparkling best. But Venus stood out the most. Why does it appear so big?
- How far is it to the planets?
- When sending spacecraft to distant planets, scientists often use the
slingshot effect to speed up a spacecraft by having it pivot around a closer
planet. But wouldn't the spacecraft slow down again as it goes away from the
- Why do stars stay in the same place?
- Does Mars have any moons?
- Does the moon rotate and if not why not?
- How many solar systems are there?
- Why are baby stars blue?
- What makes the planets spin?
- How did the Earth get made?
- What do we know about the planet Mercury?
- Keith Ross of Taumarunui asked:-
- Why is there a boy planet (Mars) and a girl planet (Venus)?
- How do you tell a comet has fire?
- Is infinity real?
- Why do stars twinkle but planets dont?
- Is the date of the full moon the same all over the world, in the Northern
Hemisphere does it move across the Southern Sky, and is there anywhere
where it is overhead?
- What is the shape of the universe and how big is the universe?
- What stars, other than the Sun, have planets that we know about and how far
are they from Earth?
- Why does Triton, a moon of Neptune, rotate in the opposite direction to Neptune?
- Why are some planets made of gas and some solid?
- Do other planets have seasons?
- I was told that stars twinkle because gravity bends the light.
What else can gravity have an effect on?
- Which black hole is closest to Earth?
- Does everything float in space?
- Why are planets and moons round?
- What is the temperature of the universe?
- Is it possible to see stars in daytime?
- How do astronomers know how far away a star is when they only
know something about it when light reaches Earth?
- Why do we have a moon?
- Kelly Twohill, of Queenspark School asked:-
- How do black holes form?
- Why is the night darkest just before dawn?
- Why do we have days?
- Is it true that if you travel upwards in space for long enough
you will eventually end up coming from a downwards direction?
- Could you tell me about wormholes in space?
They sound fascinating for time travel etc.
- Is it true that you can see the shapes of the Star Sign symbols in the sky?
- How do scientists know the Sun won't start turning into a red Giant now?
- What would happen to the Earth if our Sun turns into a red giant?
- What would happen to earth if there was a supernova on the star Alpha Centauri?
- How far can astronomers see into space?
- Can scientists predict when a star will collapse?
- If we fired a high-speed rocket at Jupiter would
the rocket be able to enter the planet and travel right through it?
- How many stars can we see on a clear night?
- Is it likely that a large asteroid will hit Earth within the next hundred years?
- How do scientists know that the Sun is made of hydrogen and
helium when no-one has been close enough to get samples?
- What is a light year?
- Do we need to orbit a planet before landing on its surface?
- If we leave Earth, will there be gravity in outer space?
- How could scientists tell if there was a planet orbiting the sun on
the same path as the earth but on the other side of the sun?
- Why is there a ring around Saturn?
- Why are there shooting stars?
- Why do we have months and who invented them?
- How do scientists know the temperature of the core of the sun?
- What is dark matter, where is it found and how do we know it is there?
- Why is the Sun made of fire? Fire is feed by oxygen and there is no oxygen
- How do scientists know what the planets are made of if they haven't been there to take samples?
- How do scientists measure the distances between planets?
- What is a star?
- Why does the moon shine during the day?
- When the planets are spinning around the sun there must be a time
when all the planets will line up. If this does happen would this affect the earth?
- Why is there an extra day every four years?
- Is it a coincidence that we see only one side of the moon?
- Why does the moon shine when it's only rock?
- What are satellites made out of?
- How would you plan plan a manned mission to Mars?
- What makes the Earth tilt away from the sun to give us longer nights in winter?
- What makes the world spin?
- How fast does the world travel?
- Where was the largest known meteorite found?
- Why is Earth the only planet in our solar system with enough oxygen for humans to survive?
- Has a New Zealander ever been in space?
- What happened when the comet Shoemaker-Levy collided with Jupiter?
- Is there a planet with air on it?
- How was Pluto, the smallest of our planets, discovered?
- Could anyone discover a planet?
- Who first discovered the planets and how did they get their names?
- How did Jupiter get its Great Red Spot?
- Is there any evidence that another solar system exists
suitable to support human life as we know it?
- Why will the sun burn out?
- Ross Milburn, of King's High School, asked:-
- What caused the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 to collide with Jupiter?
- How do scientists measure the huge distances in space?
- When you look up at night which is going the fastest, a meteorite or a satellite?
- Georgina Guthrie, of Musselburgh School, asked:-
- How were the moon's craters made?
- The composite standard 2 - form 2 class at Rangwahia School, asked:-
Pippa Childs, aged 10 of Cashmere Primary School, asked:-
- Andrew Lord, of Musselburgh School, asked:-
Pippa Childs, of Cashmere Primary School, asked:-
- How do scientists know what are stars made of?
- How many stars are there?
- How were the planets formed?
- Why do people want to explore outer space?
- How do astronomers know the universe is expanding?
- When travelling in a space rocket do you go to sleep or not?
- How high will you have to be to begin floating around in space?
- How did Stars and Planets come to be?
- Dylan Greenfield, of Ridgway School, asked:-
- Why did the big bang happen?
- How far into space have people travelled?
- What's beyond the universe?
- Why do comets never hit the Earth?