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

Cosmology

Rogue Planet with Aurora

A rogue planet has been ejected from its solar system, and no longer orbits a star. They wander between stars. In 2016, scientists discovered one located about 20 light-years from Earth.

Andromeda Not so Big

The Andromeda galaxy, our closest neighboring galaxy, was believed to be about three times larger than our Milky Way galaxy. Scientists have recalculated its size, using a more accurate formula.

Cosmic Rays Intensify

Spaceweather.com and “Earth to Sky Calculus” students used helium balloons to monitor the level of cosmic rays in the stratosphere over California. Cosmic rays have increased 13% in one year.

Infrared's Yellow Balls

The Spitzer Space Telescope has been scanning the sky in infrared images. Weird “yellow balls” were in the images.

Supernovas and Planet Formation

Supernovas occur when large planets throw off their outer shell in a tremendous explosion. Gas and dust scatter in every direction.

Bigger Than Saturn's Rings

A large exoplanet (a planet outside of our solar system) was discovered 434 light-years from Earth. It’s like Saturn, with about 30 rings surrounding it.

Earth-Size Exoplanet Found

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered an Earth-sized planet, or exoplanet, orbiting in the habitable zone in the solar system of a star in Cygnus (the Swan), about 500 light years away.

Magellanic Stream

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has been used by astronomers to study the source of the Magellanic Stream.

Planck Reveal Universe

European Space Agency’s Planck Space Telescope collected data for 15.5 months and constructed a map of the oldest light in the universe, when the universe was only 380,000 years old.

Smallest Exoplanet

NASA’s Kepler scientists have detected the smallest exoplanet ever found.

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