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Articles on Orbit

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The Sun rises in Midland, Michigan, shortly after 8a.m. on Jan. 13, 2017. Christian Collins/Flickr

How the Earth’s tilt creates short, cold January days

The winter solstice is past, but bundle up – January is when winter really arrives in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
The International Space Station is a great example of how space has, for the most part, been a peaceful and collaborative international arena. NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center/Flickr

Space law hasn’t been changed since 1967 – but the UN aims to update laws and keep space peaceful

Activities in space today are far more numerous and complicated compared to 1967, before humans had landed on the moon or Elon Musk had been born. Two experts explain the need for better laws to keep space peaceful.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the biggest orbital telescope ever built and is scheduled to be launched into space on Dec. 18, 2021. NASA/Desiree Stover

James Webb Space Telescope: An astronomer on the team explains how to send a giant telescope to space – and why

The largest orbital telescope ever made will allow astronomers to study the atmospheres of alien planets, learn about how stars form in the Milky Way and peer into the farthest reaches of the universe.
Gravity feels like it’s pulling everything toward Earth, but why? AdventurePhoto/E+ via WikimediaCommons

Why does gravity pull us down and not up?

Gravity is something every person on Earth intuitively understands: It is what keeps you on the ground. But how come gravity pulls down, rather than pushes up? Einstein came up with the answer.
Virgin Galactic’s Unity VSS spacecraft went on a suborbital test flight in May 2021. VIrgin Galactic

What’s a suborbital flight? An aerospace engineer explains

Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are sending spacecrafts – and their billionaire founders – into suborbital flight. But what differentiates a suborbital flight from a trip around Earth?
It can stretch your mind to ponder what’s really out there. Stijn Dijkstra/EyeEm via Getty Images

Does outer space end – or go on forever?

Astronomers know a lot about what’s in outer space – and think it’s possible it never ends.

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