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Our astronomical neighbourhood

Our astronomical neighbourhood

A demonstration of nearby planets, stars and galaxies.

Geography

Keywords

Solar System, nearby stars, galaxy, Andromeda, Milky Way, spiral arm, light year, Earth, Sun, star, Universe, astronomy, geography, physics

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Scenes

Earth

  • diameter of the Earth: 12,756 km

Solar System

Nearby stars

  • 5 light years (47.3 trillion km)
  • Luyten's Star
  • Procyon
  • G51-15
  • Sirius - Also called Alpha Canis Maioris, it is one of the stars of the Canis Major constellation and the brightest star in the night sky. Its diameter is 1.8 times, its mass is 2.35 times, while its absolute luminosity is 23 times that of the Sun. The Sirius appears bluish white, due to its high surface temperature (10,000 K). It has a white dwarf companion, Sirius B.
  • L372-58
  • Epsilon Eridani (ε Eridani)
  • Wolf 359
  • Ross 128
  • Lalande 21185
  • Tau Ceti (τ Ceti) - One of the stars in the constellation Cetus. Its mass and spectral properties are similar to that of the Sun. Its distance from the Sun is less than 12 light years.
  • L726-8
  • L725-32
  • Proxima Centauri - One of the stars of the Centaurus constellation. Also called Alpha Centauri C, it is the smallest member of the Alpha Centauri triple star system. It is a red dwarf, the closest star to our Sun at a distance of 4.24 light years (4×10¹³ km).
  • α Centauri A and B - Stars of the Centaurus constellation. The stars Alpha Centauri A, B and C form a triple star system. Alpha Centauri A and B appear to the naked eye as a single object, due to their proximity (0.2 light years). Alpha Centauri A is the 3rd brightest star in the night sky, it is located at a distance of 4.4 light years from the Sun.
  • Sun - The star at the centre of the Solar System. Its diameter is 1,392,000 km, 109 times that of the Earth. Its mean distance from the core of the Milky Way is about 27,000 light years. The star closest to the Sun is the Proxima Centauri (also known as Alpha Centauri C), at a distance of 4.24 light years.
  • Epsilon Indi (ε Indi)
  • Lacaille 9352
  • Groombridge 34
  • Ross 248
  • Barnard's Star
  • L789-6
  • Struve 2398
  • Ross 154
  • 61 Cygni

Milky Way

  • width of the Milky Way: 100,000 light years
  • Sun

Nearby galaxies

  • 1 million light years
  • Milky Way
  • Andromeda galaxy - This is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way. Its distance from the Sun is 2.5 million light years. It is somewhat larger than the Milky Way, its diameter is 110.000 light years.

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Milky Way

The diameter of our galaxy is about 100,000 light years; it contains more than 100 billion stars, one of which is our Sun.

Types of stars

This animation demonstrates the process of star development for average and massive stars.

The Sun

The diameter of the Sun is about 109 times that of the Earth. Most of its mass consists of hydrogen.

Apollo 15 mission (Lunar Rover)

The animation shows the two-seater Lunar Rover used in the Apollo 15 mission

Earth

The Earth is a rocky planet with a solid crust and oxygen in its atmosphere.

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope orbits outside the distorting influence of Earth´s atmosphere.

Interesting astronomy facts

This animation presents some interesting facts in the field of astronomy.

ISS

The International Space Station is a habitable satellite built with the cooperation of 16 countries.

Kepler space telescope

The Kepler space telescope was launched by NASA to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars

Mars Exploration Program

Space probes and Mars rovers examine the structure of Mars and possible traces of life.

Moon landing: 20 July 1969

Neil Armstrong, one of the crew members of Apollo 11 was the first man to set foot on the Moon.

Planets, sizes

The inner planets of the Solar System are terrestrial planets while the outer planets are gas giants.

The Dawn mission

Studying Ceres and Vesta will help us learn more about the early history of the Solar System and how rocky planets are formed.

The life-cycle of the Solar System

The formation of the Sun and the planets started with the contraction of a dust cloud about 4.5 billion years ago.

The Solar System; planetary orbits

The orbits of the 8 planets in our Solar System are elliptical.

Voyager space probes

The Voyager space probes were the first man-made objects to leave the Solar System. They gather data about outer space and carry information about humanity.

Weightlessness

A spacecraft on its path is in a constant state of free fall.

Yuri Gagarin's journey to outer space (1961)

Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space on 12 April 1961.

The development of celestial mechanics

This animation introduces the studies of astronomers and physicists whose works fundamentally changed our view of the universe.

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