Question from Rick, a high school junior:
"...if you had a ... variety of Spiral Galaxy photographs that you could share to me, either through email or a campus visit?"
We sent Rick some images of spiral galaxies. We recommend to Rick and anyone looking for astronomical images to visit the Astronomy Picture of the Day website and click their archive link. They have an immense archive of all the pictures they have posted since 1994. It's one of the best astronomy sites on the web and has an excellent search engine for all the images that they've posted over the years.
Questions the Vista Verde 3rd grade class
Will the star named Bellatrix ever blow up?
No, Bellatrix will become an orange giant someday, then shrink down and become a white dwarf star. It is 250 light-years away. Bellatrix means “female warrior.”
How many nebulas are there?
Nobody knows how many nebulas there are. Hundreds of nebulas are visible in the Milky Way, but it is not known how many there are in our galaxy or in the universe. It is too difficult to count them all.
Are there any other Harry Potter names for stars besides Sirius and Bellatrix?
I looked over a list of hundreds of Harry Potter characters and found a few other characters named after constellations.
A lot were part of Sirius’ family, all with the last name of Black: Arcturus, Cassiopeia, Pollux, Cygnus, Orion and Regulus.
Draco Malfoy (Draco) and family member Scorpius Malfoy
Maybe Percy Weasley (in the Percy Jackson stories, Percy is short for Perseus and perhaps Percy Weasly shares that connection)
Luna Lovegood – Luna is a word that is used with the Moon (lunar).
I seem to remember a group of characters called the Veelas-perhaps the word came from the constellation Vela.
One character that certainly isn’t named after a constellation is Kelly Whakkaarengapawarav, the famous Australian Pro Quidditch beater (couldn’t resist mentioning such a unusual name).