Bob Berman's strange universe: Center of the action
April 2006: When ancient Greeks figured out Earth's a sphere, a new issue arose. Every ball has an "inside." Well, what's inside Earth?
April 1, 2006
|Until the 20th century, astronomers were strictly outsiders. They ignored star and planet interiors. They had to. Telescopes showed only the tops of things. Scientists knew that a ball's "inside" constitutes virtually all its mass, and the limitation was frustrating. Basic questions went unanswered. For example, what lies below the dazzling solar surface? How can the Sun keep shining when even the highest-quality Sun-size lump of coal would burn itself out in 2,000 years? Observers suspected that fascinating, critical processes and maybe life itself might not hang out where it's convenient for us to view like on surfaces. Of course, this frustration began long before the telescope. |
You are currently not logged in. This article is only available to Astronomy magazine subscribers.
Already a subscriber to Astronomy magazine?
If you are already a subscriber to Astronomy magazine you must log into your account to view this article. If you do not have an account you will
need to regsiter for one. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.
Non-subscribers, Subscribe TODAY and save!
Get instant access to subscriber content on Astronomy.com!
- Access our interactive Atlas of the Stars
- Get full access to StarDome PLUS
- Columnist articles
- Search and view our equipment review archive
- Receive full access to our Ask Astro answers
- BONUS web extras not included in the magazine
- Much more!