Author Archives: Emma Williams

some final thoughts

When I started this class, I didn’t expect to find so many connections between astronomy and they other subjects I’m interested in! I am majoring in philosophy and political science, subjects that I believed to be totally independent from the physics and history of our universe. Thankfully, I was very wrong! I still am shocked […] Continue reading

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the fermi paradox

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a British science fiction author, said that “two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying”. And he was exactly right! The more that we learn about and explore the universe, the more we learn about the possibility of life out there, […] Continue reading

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The shimmering curtains of color that make up the Northern Lights are incredibly fascinating. For many (myself included), it is a life goal to get to witness this phenomenon in person. The name Aurora Borealis has its roots in classical mythology. Famous astronomer Galileo Galilei combined the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, with the […] Continue reading

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The terms ‘asteroid’ and ‘comet’ are often used interchangeably, but in reality there are important differences between the two! The primary difference is in their composition; asteroids are rocky because they formed in the inner Solar System, and comets are more icy because they formed beyond the frost line! Comets are visible every few years […] Continue reading

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nuclear fusion

Have you ever wondered why the sun shines? It’s a question that has inspired centuries of astronomers to come up with a wide variety of explanations. It was once thought that the sun shone because of chemical combustion, but we now know that there is nowhere near enough oxygen for that process to have sustained […] Continue reading

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climate change

It’s no secret that our planet is in the midst of a global climate crisis– rising sea levels, compounding greenhouse gas emissions, and depleting natural resources have left our environment at a very real risk of collapse, endangering all living creatures on our planet. When studying astronomy, it becomes easy to lose focus on the […] Continue reading

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Astronomy hasn’t always been practiced the way that it is today! For many centuries, different civilizations have conceptualized the universe in a wide range of ways covering the entire spectrums of science and mythology– from this, at the intersection of astronomy and anthropology, the field of archaeoastronomy was born! The field began with the discovery […] Continue reading

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historical astronomers in context

Johannes Kepler (born December 27, 1571– died November 15, 1630) contributed to the field of astronomy by the formulation of his 3 Laws of Planetary Motion, which were later derived and formalized by Isaac Newton. The laws are 1) that planets move in elliptical orbits around the sun at one focal point, 2) that a […] Continue reading

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the cosmic calendar

The history of the universe is tough to wrap our heads around, much less to place in the context of our own lives! When studying astronomy, we are presented with so many large numbers — that the distance between earth and sun is 150,000,000 km, the universe is 14 billion years old, and the Milky […] Continue reading

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introductory post

This is a picture of me on my 18th birthday after my only class that day was cancelled! Since I’m vegan, my friends made me a vegan vanilla cake. Continue reading

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