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first woman in space

The first woman in space was the Soviet Union’s cosmonaut, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, born March 6th, 1937. She had been selected from among 400 applicants, and five finalists, to pilot Vostok 6. This, the last of the Soviet Union’s Vostok missions, was launched on June 16th, 1963. In orbit, Valentina Tereshkova performed several tests on herself to assess the female body’s reaction to conditions in space. For much of the mission, she suffered from nausea and physical discomfort. Nevertheless, Valentina Tereshkova spent three days in orbit, circling the earth 48 times, and attaining a maximum distance of 231 km. Her flight time in space was greater than that logged by all American astronauts who had flown before her.

kelvin

What is Kelvin? Kelvin is a temperature scale in which zero occurs at absolute zero, and each degree equals one Kelvin. Water freezes at 273.15 K and boils at 373.15 K. (One Kelvin degree is equal to one Celsius degree.) This temperature scale was developed in 1848 by the British physicist, William Thomson, the first Baron Kelvin (1824 to 1907).

kuiper belt

The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region of the Solar System beyond the outer planets. The region stretches from Neptune's orbit up to approximately 50 AU from the Sun. Within the confines of the Kuiper Belt are masses of ice and icy rock that are believed to be the source of comets with orbital periods of less than 200 years.

light-speed

The speed of light in the vacuum of space is 299,792,458 meters per second, or 186,000 miles per second; 1,080 million kilometers per hour, or 671 million miles per hour; about 173 astronomical units per day.

light-year

The distance traversed by light in one mean solar year, about 5.88 trillion miles, or 9.46 trillion kilometers; used as a unit for measuring interstellar distances.

most time in space

The person with the record for most time in space is Russian cosmonaut Gennady Ivanovich Padalka, with a grand total of 879 days in orbit, having spent time on the Russian space station Mir and the International Space Station.

neighbours

The stars nearest us, after the Sun, are those of the Alpha Centauri system, which are more than 4 lightyears away. If it were possible to drive through space at a steady 55mph, you could reach the sun in 193 years. But at the same speed it would take 52 million years to reach Alpha Centauri.

occultation

The word occultation is derived from the Latin verb occultare, meaning to hide or conceal. In Astronomy, occultation occurs when one celestial body passes in front of another, in such a way that, as seen by an observer on Earth, the further object is hidden from view; for example, when a planet momentarily obscures a bright star. A planet that blocks a star’s light can help astronomers learn more about the occulting body, such as its diameter, or whether it possesses an atmosphere. (If the planet has an atmosphere, the star’s light will be dimmed gradually.) In 1977, by observing an occultation involving the planet Uranus, astronomers discovered its very faint ring system. An occultation involving Pluto in 1988 revealed that dwarf planet’s tenuous atmosphere.

oort cloud

An immense spherical cloud surrounding the Solar System, stretching up to approximately 3 lightyears, or 30 trillion kilometres from the Sun. This vast distance is thought to be the limit of the Sun's orb of physical, gravitational, or dynamical influence. The Oort Cloud is believed to be the origin of comets with orbital periods of 200 or more years.

parsec

A unit of length equal to 3.26 light-years. It is based on the distance from Earth at which an object in space would have a parallax of one second of arc. Its metric equivalent is 30.8 trillion kilometres (19.1 trillion miles). It is used in measuring distances in interstellar and intergalactic space. For example, the closest star to Earth, Alpha Centauri, is about 1.3 parsecs away.

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova

Valentina V. Tereshkova

Kuiper Belt

Kuiper Belt

Light-speed

Light-speed = 299,792,458 meters per second

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