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Please sort comments by 'new' to find questions that would otherwise be buried.

In this thread you can ask any space related question that you may have.

Two examples of potential questions could be; "How do rockets work?", or "How do the phases of the Moon work?"

If you see a space related question posted in another subeddit or in this subreddit, then please politely link them to this thread.

Ask away!


Hi everyone, we're Dr. Travis A. Rector, Kimberly Kowal Arcand and Megan Watzke, and we're here to answer questions with help from Atlas Obscura.

Dr. Travis A. Rector is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Alaska Anchorage. For over 20 years he has been creating astronomical images using some of the largest telescopes in the world, including Kitt Peak, Gemini, and Hubble. His work has been featured in, e.g., National Geographic magazine, the New York Times, Sky and Telescope magazine and Astronomy magazine.

Kimberly Kowal Arcand is the Visualization Lead for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Kim is a leading expert in studying the perception and comprehension of high-energy data visualization across the novice-expert spectrum. She uses data to tell stories, combining her backgrounds in molecular biology and computer science with her current work in the field of astronomy and physics. Recent projects include translating astronomical data into 3D prints and virtual reality.

Megan Watzke has spent her career sharing physics, astronomy and other science topics with the widest range of audiences possible, particularly in her role as the press officer for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Her popular science books also include “Magnitude: The Scale of the Universe,” "Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond" and “Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos” co-authored with Kimberly Arcand.

Rector, Arcand, and Watzke teamed up to write “Coloring the Universe,” a critically acclaimed book that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how images of space are made with the world’s largest and most powerful telescopes. The book has been described as “endlessly fascinating” (Chicago Tribune), “outstanding (5-star rating)” (BBC), and “a treasure” (Astronomy Magazine).


EDIT: Thanks everyone for tuning in! If you’d like to learn more about how we make images I recommend our book “Coloring the Universe.” It describes in more detail many of the things we’ve talked about today. Better yet, it contains over 300 images of space, including ones we’ve made. We hope you enjoy it!

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