It’s hard to convey a lot of information in the 140 character limit set by Twitter. Nonetheless, it’s enough to post a single fact or unusual insight about astronomy.
Every day at 1:37 EST I post an #AstroFact. These astronomy related facts can cover everything from planetology to stellar and galactic astrophysics to cosmology. The AstroFacts are usually derived from something I’ve recently read or taught to my class. Before posting an AstroFact I verify the statement on reliable websites and/or textbooks.
I try to schedule #AstroFact tweets days, and even weeks, in advance. Occasionally, my tweeting client hiccups and doesn’t send the tweet on schedule. For those occasions you’ll find a blank date below. My apologies.
If you ever find an error in one of the AstroFacts let me know. Also, I encourage others to use the #AstroFact hashtag and get into spreading the good word about astronomy.
January 22: Hypervelocity stars have orbital speeds large enough for them to escape the gravitational pull of galaxy.
January 21: When the Tunguska asteroid exploded over Siberia in 1908, it knocked over 80 million trees covering 2,150 square kilometers.
January 20: Helical rising is when a celestial object just becomes visible on the eastern horizon right before the Sun rises.
January 19: Although New Horizons has the record for being the fastest satellite, it will never be the furthest human made object.
January 18: The Local Fluff is the interstellar cloud that our Solar System is currently moving through.
January 17: At a few tens of megaparsecs in size, superclusters and filaments are the largest known structures in the observable Universe.
January 16: Castor, one of the twin stars in the constellation Gemini, is actually a member of a sextuple star system.
January 15: If an object is in an selenocentric orbit, then the object is orbiting about Earth’s moon.
January 14: On this date in 2005 the Huygens spaceprobe became the first to land on an outer Solar System surface: Saturn’s moon Titan.
January 13: Apollo 13 was launched at 13:13 CST (Houston time). The infamous explosion occurred two days later on April 13, 1970.
January 12: Jupiter’s moon Io has over 400 active volcanoes. For reference, Earth has about 20 eruptions occurring at any time.
January 11: The only road leading into Sunspot, New Mexico is State Road 6563, the wavelength of the brightest hydrogen emission line.
January 10: Saturn’s rings were discovered in 1610, but it wasn’t until 1859 that James Maxwell showed that they couldn’t be a solid entity.
January 9: A graveyard orbit is an orbit well above geosynchronous orbit where retired satellites are sometimes placed to avoid collisions.
January 8: Every star we see at night is not only a part of our own Milky Way Galaxy, but they’re also relatively nearby.
January 7: Although brown dwarfs don’t fuse hydrogen (which is why they’re called “failed stars”) they can fuse deuterium and lithium.
January 6: An Earth-Grazing Fireball is a small Solar System object that enters and then leaves Earth’s atmosphere.
January 5: Recombination is a transition phase the Universe went through after which the Universe became transparent.
January 4: Although dark matter doesn’t interact with normal matter through electromagnetic means, it does gravitationally influence it.
January 3: The Quandrantid meteor shower is named after a constellation, Quadrans Muralis (the wall quadrant), that no longer exists.
January 2: Regardless of what goes into a black hole, in the end they’re only characterized by three properties: mass, charge, and spin.