Author Archives: a2megal

A Changing Vision

In the news recently (back at the end of March), astronomers began to hypothesize (running simulations and doing extensive calculations) about what would happen if Comet 2013 A1 were to hit mars. Right now, this 1 to 3 km in diameter (the nucleus size) comet has a roughly 1 in 2000 chance of impacting Mars. […] Continue reading

Posted in Small SS Objects | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on A Changing Vision

On the Hunt

During class recently we have been talking a lot about the Drake Equation and extraterrestrial life. Tying all of the various topics that we have discussed together has been this concept of “astrobiology.” Class over the past couple weeks was the first time that I had ever heard the term astrobiology (that could be my […] Continue reading

Posted in Aliens | Tagged , , | Comments Off on On the Hunt

A Big Snack

The physics major in me has always been incredibly interested in black holes. We haven’t spoken about them much in this course, but there are likely black holes at the center of each galaxy, and thus studying black holes can tell us a lot about galaxies in other parts of the universe. For the first […] Continue reading

Posted in Universe | Tagged , , | Comments Off on A Big Snack

Searching the Sky

In class this week I was curious about how astronomers are able to constantly search for exoplanets. On one hand, I knew that the Kepler Space Telescope had played an integral part in discovering the roughly 2,740 exoplanetary candidates as of January 2013. However, keeping in mind how vast space is and how quickly exoplanets […] Continue reading

Posted in Exoplanets | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Searching the Sky

By Chance…

I set out without a real direction for this blog post. (I suppose that makes sense since some of the more interesting discoveries you can come across on the web pop up when you jump from page-to-page.) During my search for a new and interesting article on some aspect of astronomy, I came across a […] Continue reading

Posted in Small SS Objects | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on By Chance…

Magellan to the New World

In class we recently discussed the four primary types of robotic missions that we can send into space: flyby orbiter lander or probe sample return mission In general the concept of sending physical objects into space so that we can collect data about plates, stars, or anything really that we can’t directly observe here on […] Continue reading

Posted in Instruments | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Magellan to the New World

Setting Sail

Humans seem to have always been fascinated with what lies beyond our immediate world–our Earth. We have created stories about the stars above, how they came to be, what they are made of, and who they are. Throughout time, conversations of traveling to these stars entered the realm of conversation. I guess I have gotten […] Continue reading

Posted in Space Travel | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Setting Sail

Clear Path to the Stars

In class we talked about the different types of telescopes and the different shortcomings of reflecting versus refracting telescopes. In all though, a challenge that all types of ground-based telescopes face is the interference caused by Earth’s atmosphere. This interference causes distortion of EM waves coming through the atmosphere from outer space. The bending of […] Continue reading

Posted in Instruments | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Clear Path to the Stars

Copernicus-Historical Astronomers in Context

Basic Facts: Name: Nicholas Copernicus Birth: February 19, 1473 Death: May 24, 1543 Nicholas Copernicus played a crucial role in the development of modern astronomical theory with his monumental proposal of the Copernican system (also known as the heliocentric system). While the heliocentric model was not his idea originally (this is an idea that originally belonged […] Continue reading

Posted in Class, Historical | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Copernicus-Historical Astronomers in Context

Once in a Blue Moon

Ok, so literally a blue moon is actually when two full moons are seen in a single calendar month, but what I am talking about today isn’t totally off topic because it is something that really is pretty rare: eclipses. As we learned recently that there are two general types of eclipses, a solar and […] Continue reading

Posted in Light | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Once in a Blue Moon