Author Archives: efb28

Technology in Astronomy

On of the most interesting parts of taking astronomy has been learning about current and future technology that can be used to observe the universe. Probably the coolest example is technology that could make interstellar travel possible. Such a thing isn’t feasible in the near future, but just knowing it is conceptually possible is mind […] Continue reading

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The presence of extremophiles makes the possibility of life off Earth way more likely. In our solar system alone, there are many places humans could not live but extremophiles could. Even on Venus it is possible that extremophiles could live in the upper atmosphere (though that’s about it for Venus). Unfortunately, finding life in the […] Continue reading

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Ludicrous Speed

Science fiction is known for its use of futuristic technology that is impossible or at least seems to be at the time. In Spaceballs (parodying Star Wars) ludicrous speed is used to comically travel faster than the speed of light. You would think anything like this would have to fall into the part of science […] Continue reading

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Pluto hitting Neptune?

Some time between elementary school and high school, you probably heard that Pluto and Neptune’s orbits crossed and that one day “far into the future” (to not scare kids) they would hit each other. Well, in reality, that collision will never take place. The reason Pluto and Neptune will never collide is that their orbits […] Continue reading

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Super Volcanoes

As we know, volcanoes have a significant impact on how Earth looks today. They replenish the atmosphere and fill in craters. However, those are just regular volcanic eruptions. Super volcanoes have magma chambers (which power the explosion) that dwarf that of “normal” volcanoes. A super volcano eruption could wipe out mankind. Luckily these explosions are incredibly […] Continue reading

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Space Travel

Most people think traveling through an asteroid field would take a complicated series of evasive maneuvers and luck, but as it turns out, Star Wars got that part wrong. Dodging asteroids (like in the above picture), but odds are, you could steer blindly and never even come close to hitting anything. This is because asteroids […] Continue reading

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Limitations of Telescopes

  There are a few, relatively simple reasons why telescopes can only tell us so much about the universe. First of all, it takes large telescopes to see much detail. The additional light larger telescope lenses and mirrors collect provide more detail. However, the atmosphere distorts what can be seen by telescopes on Earth, as […] Continue reading

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  Gravity is the result of massive objects (any object that has mass) curving space-time and altering the paths of other objects. More massive objects alter space-time more and thus have more gravitational pull. As you can see above, Earth warps space-time and forces the satellite to travel around it. Without Earth, the satellite would […] Continue reading

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Historical Astronomers in Context

2) Johannes Kepler made a groundbreaking discovery when he determined planets’ orbits are ellipses, not perfect circles. This is important because it explained why previous models of our solar system were flawed. Additionally, Kepler’s laws give important information on how exactly orbits work. For example, his second law tells us that planets will cover area […] Continue reading

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Seasons on Earth

  Unless you live near the equator, you have experienced how much the temperature outside varies by season (or by day in TN). Many people assume this has something to do with Earth’s orbit being an imperfect circle, but they are wrong. As pictured above, it is actually Earth’s tilt that causes seasons to change; […] Continue reading

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