Author Archives: katiew

What is Next?

Learning about the solar system and our entire universe has made me more curious about astronomy. At the beginning of the semester, I had trouble wrapping my head around the vastness of the universe. The number of stars, planets, and galaxies is unbelievable, especially because there is still so much that we don’t know. Although […] Continue reading

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SETI Institute

The existence of life outside of planet Earth is one of the greatest mysteries, but the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute is trying to solve it. Given our understanding about life and the vastness of the universe, it is not unreasonable to believe that there is life out there somewhere. So far, scientists have […] Continue reading

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Saturn’s Rings

In the outer solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune all have rings, but Saturn’s are by far the largest and most spectacular. Galileo was the first to discover them in 1610, but for years they remained a mystery and much is still unknown about them. In the 1980s, the Voyager missions got a closer […] Continue reading

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Halley’s Comet

Halley’s Comet is the most well known comet because it is the only short-term comet that is visible from Earth with the naked eye. Halley’s Comet was seen multiple times throughout history. The first known observation of Halley’s Comet was in 239 B.C. by Chinese astronomers. When it returned in 164 B.C. and 87 B.C. […] Continue reading

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The Future of Life On Earth

The future of Earth and the future of life depends on multiple factors.  Disregarding human technology and the effects of global warming, Earth’s future depends on interactions with other objects in the solar system, the increase in the Sun’s luminosity, and the rate of cooling of the Earth’s interior. For example, scientists have predicted that […] Continue reading

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The Invention of the Telescope

The telescope was most likely invented in 1608 by a German eyeglass maker named Hans Lippershey, although there is some uncertainty. Another eyeglass maker from the Netherlands, named Jacob Metius, filed for a patent soon after Lippershey and a third man, named Sacharias Janssen, later claimed to be the creator.  Despite these claims, Lippershey is […] Continue reading

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Many people know that tides rise and fall as a result of the Moon, but often times people are unaware that the Sun also exerts a tidal force on the Earth. Tides are caused by gravitational force, which depends on the mass of the objects pulling on each other and the distance between them. The […] Continue reading

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Historical Astronomers in Context: Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564 – January 8, 1642) is a mathematician and astronomer most well known for supporting and publishing the heliocentric model, suggested by Copernicus. Galileo helped overturn objections to Copernicus’ model by making discoveries about motion, the imperfectness of things in the sky, and providing evidence that the stars are much farther […] Continue reading

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The Zodiac was created about 2,000 years ago as a way to track time. Each month, the sun appears to pass through 1 of 12 constellations that are each tied to a sign (In 1930, the International Astronomical Union, actually defined 13 constellations that the Sun passes through, but one does not have a sign). […] Continue reading

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Size and Expansion of the Universe

I have always thought that the universe is almost unfathomably huge, but until recently I had not spent much time contemplating how humans have determined this. While reading about the topic, I came across information about the Hubble Space Telescope. Not being familiar with astronomy, I did not know much about it or its purpose. […] Continue reading

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