FAQ for sci.astro

Frequently Asked Questions in Astronomy


sci.astro is a newsgroup devoted to the discussion of all aspects of astronomy. As such its content ranges from the Earth to the farthest reaches of the Universe. However, certain questions tend to appear fairly regularly. This document (the FAQ) attempts to summarize answers to these questions.

Table of Contents

Introduction to sci.astro

Expanded Table of Contents

  1. The Internet and Other Information Sources

  2. General Information

  3. Time, Calendars, and Terrestrial Phenomena

  4. Astrophysics

  5. Sun, Moon, and Planets

  6. Extraterrestrial Life

  7. Stars

  8. Galaxies, Clusters, and Quasars

  9. Cosmology (this section of the FAQ is derived from Ned Wright's Cosmology Tutorial and the associated discussion of the errors in alternative cosmologies)

Comments and questions, as well as volunteers to write additional sections(!), are always welcome.


I maintain a partial list of mirrors, both ftp and Web ones. Typical file sizes are 20--50 kB. If you're from overseas or having problems accessing this site, you may want to try one of these.


SmartComputing Top Site Journey through your universe at astronomylinks.com

Universe Today---Space news from around the Internet, updated every weekday


Much thanks is due Steve Willner who started the entire process of producing an FAQ for sci.astro.

Thanks to astronomy.net for hosting the FAQ.

The images at the top of this document show the sky at the extremes of the electromagnetic spectrum. On the left is the gamma-ray sky (< 100 MeV; EGRET); on the right is the radio (408 MHz; Jodrell Bank, Effelsberg and Parkes). Almost all of our information about the Universe comes to us from electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between these two extremes. The images were obtained from SkyView.

T. Joseph W. Lazio
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