Merrillville Community Planetarium
Bringing the Universe to the Merrillville Schools and Northwest Indiana


Large Planet or Brown Dwarf?

Scientists are working on the definition for large planets by comparing their differences to small brown dwarf stars. Large exoplanets are creating the need for an upper limit on planet size.

Round Bodies

Stars and planets are typically thought of as round bodies in space. Because they all rotate or spin, their shapes aren’t exactly round.

Runaway Stars Detected

Astronomers have discovered a way to detect runaway stars. A runaway star is a star disrupted from its normal motion.

Betelguese Collision

The bright red star on the shoulder of Orion (the Hunter) is Betelguese. Betelguese is one of the brightest stars in our winter/spring sky.

Rogue Planet or Star?

While searching for brown dwarf stars, astronomers discovered an object 130 light-years from Earth that might be a rogue (or orphan planet) instead of a brown dwarf star.

Binary Stars Have Planets

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has found two planets orbitng around a binary (two star) system in the constellation Cygnus (the Swan) called Kepler-47.

Spiral-Armed Star Discovered

Using the 8.2 meter Subaru telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Carol Grady form NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center looked in the constellation

Cool Stars Discovered

NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) scanned the entire sky gathering data.

Biggest Star Ever Found

A giant star cluster (R136A) in the Large Magellanic Cloud holds the largest star ever found named R136a1. Astronomers believe the star formed with a mass of 320 times the mass of our sun.

UV light and Water

ESA’s Herschel Infrared Space Observatory has discovered the role of ultraviolet light in the creation of water in space.

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