Question

Are new stars being formed, or did they all form at the same time?

They are continually being formed. The Pleiades are an example of a group of newly formed stars. When the dinosaurs walked the Earth, the Pleiades did not exist.

Last 7 Days

If you make it to 60 years of marriage, what is the recommended anniversary gift?

Diamonds or gold are the appropriate 60th anniversary gift.

I know Through a Glass Darkly was the title of a book, but I think the phrase comes from something else. What is it?

In his first letter to the early Christian church at Corinth, the apostle Paul said, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face..." The Apostle was referring to a time when the mysteries of heaven would be made clear. The glass he referred to was a looking glass, which at the time would have been made of polished metal, and would have reflected a much darker image than modern mirrors.

Why are most Nobel Prizes awarded in Sweden, but the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway?

There are several theories as to why Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist who founded the Nobel Prizes, tipped his hat to Norway for the Peace Prize. One theory is that when Nobel drew up his will, Norway and Sweden were united. He may have found more qualified experts to determine the prizewinners in Sweden but felt that Norway needed representation as well. Norway had developed an expertise in mediation, arbitration, and the peaceful solution of international disputes. Nobel also admired Norwegian literature and may have been influenced by one author, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, who was devoted to the cause of peace.

The brick on my fireplace is badly stained with black soot. How can I remove the stains?

Try applying a paste of cream of tartar and water. Rub it in, let it dry, and then scrub it off. Or create your own cleaner by following this recipe: Dissolve 1/2 cup naphtha soap in 1 quart hot water. Let cool. Stir in 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/2 pound powdered pumice. Apply the solution to your brick with a paintbrush, let it soak in, scrub, and rinse with warm water. Wear gloves to apply this, and avoid spilling the cleaning solution on floors or rugs. Make sure the room is well ventilated.

I thought century years couldn't be leap years. Am I wrong?

Yes. A year is a leap year if it is divisible by 4, but century years are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400. So, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but the year 2000, as of course you now know, is! Why do we have leap years? The actual length of a year (the rotation of Earth around the Sun) is 365.2422 days. If we didn't have leap years, the seasons would shift about a quarter of a day every year, and after 100 years the seasons would be off by 25 days. The extra leap day adjusts this drift.

Why was the New Testament written in the Greek language?

Greek was the language of the educated classes in the early days of the Christian church. It was used for commerce and international trade, much as English is today. So the New Testament writers, who were educated folks like St. Paul and Luke, naturally chose Greek. Actually, the more precise name for the language is koine, a popular form of Greek spoken in the biblical regions from the fourth century B.C. and it was used for the 27 books of the New Testament.

Will the Sun blow up someday?

Yes, but it's best to keep your sunscreen handy for a few more years. The experts at NASA explain that the Sun, since it is a "red giant star," will one day become bigger, brighter, and cooler, but that day won't be for another 5.5 billion years. To put that in perspective, realize that the Sun is currently 4.5 billion years old. In the end, it will shed its outer envelope, which will become a "planetary nebula," or gaseous shell. The remnants of the Sun will be a hot, burned-out stellar core, which is fancy talk for a star that's about to die.

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