Author Archives: Sofia

About Sofia

I am a third year Ph.D. student working with Dr. Megan Saylor in the Vanderbilt Language Development Lab. I am interested in learning about how children learn words from storybooks and which cognitive abilities that support this.

(milky) way up, I feel blessed

This semester has been vital to understanding of the universe around me. Coming for Intro to Astronomy last semester, I felt that I had a pretty comprehensive basis upon which to build. What I didn’t realize coming in however was just how much more I was going to learn. The level of detail about not … Continue reading “(milky) way up, I feel blessed” Continue reading

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So Extra…

Extrasolar planets are very important to our study of the universe. The idea that there are planets that orbit other stars the way we orbit the Sun changes our entire perspective of how the universe operates. There are many challenges with detecting extrasolar planets, but once they are found they can provide us with a … Continue reading “So Extra…” Continue reading

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Charon: The Major Key to Pluto

Up until very recently, Pluto was considered the ninth planet of our solar system. That all changed when the definition of a planet was revised, and Pluto just became another Kuiper belt object albeit the most famous one. We know significantly more about Pluto than any other Kuiper belt object simply because it was discovered … Continue reading “Charon: The Major Key to Pluto” Continue reading

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Look Back at It

The surfaces of the terrestrial planets tell us a lot about their histories. The geological surface features of the planets give insight into the geological processes that have occurred in the planets’ pasts. There are four main processes that have lasting geological impacts on the terrestrial planets in our solar system. The processes are impact … Continue reading “Look Back at It” Continue reading

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Positivity is Key

Nuclear fusion is the process by which the Sun survives. During fusion, the Sun converts its mass into energy that powers the Sun itself. Fusion is unique to the Sun’s core because in order to occur high densities and temperatures are needed. In the core, there are high densities of positively charges hydrogen nuclei. In … Continue reading “Positivity is Key” Continue reading

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Gravity is Working Against Me

  Gravity is arguably the most important aspect of our study of the universe and our solar system. Isaac Newton, famous for his three laws of motion, determined that the force of gravity could be expressed mathematically. This led him to create his universal law of gravitation. His law contains three key statements about the … Continue reading “Gravity is Working Against Me” Continue reading

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Near, Far, Wherever You Are

Understanding the ability of objects in the sky to change their spectra is vital to understanding the universe we live in. In order to fully understand the motion of the objects in the universe, we can use their spectra to see changes in their light emissions. The spectra of objects show the types of visible … Continue reading “Near, Far, Wherever You Are” Continue reading

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Copernicus in Context

Nicholas Copernicus: February 19, 1473 to May 24, 1543 Nicholas Copernicus was a pioneer in the astronomical community. Working off of a previous notion, Copernicus was able to scientifically prove the heliocentric model of the universe. Previously, the idea of the universe was Earth-centric, but his work paved the way for a new way of thinking … Continue reading “Copernicus in Context” Continue reading

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The Universe Online

This class and lab last semester have taught me how easy it is to examine the sky above us. Previously, I had always thought that learning about space would necessitate daunting instruments and advanced calculations, but technology has allowed normal people to examine the great expanse of space.   Stellarium is by far my favorite … Continue reading “The Universe Online” Continue reading

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The Cosmic Calendar

We, as humans, can have difficulty understanding amounts that exceed our narrow perspective. To aid us in understanding the 14 billion years that the universe has existed and the minuscule amount of time humans have inhabited it, scientists have put it in our terms of one year. Each month of the “cosmic calendar” represents roughly 1 … Continue reading “The Cosmic Calendar” Continue reading

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