Author Archives: Mykayla

My Perspective of the Universe

Throughout this astronomy class, my eyes have been opened to the vastness, complexity, order, and majesty of the universe. In learning about our solar system and the processes which formed the planets and everything about them, I have seen how many different pieces must come together in order for the Earth to spin, orbit theContinue reading “My Perspective of the Universe” Continue reading

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Extremophiles are organisms that not only can survive, but thrive in extreme environments. These are organisms that love the freezing or boiling temperatures, very acidic or very basic conditions, or super high-pressure, salty, or dry environments. There are even extremophiles that hate oxygen and thrive when there is none present. Extremophiles live in places thatContinue reading “Extremophiles” Continue reading

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Shepherd Moons

Saturn is known for its rings. For years, astronomers wondered what they were. Now we know that the rings of Saturn are made up of lots of icy particles ranging from the size of a grain of sand to a boulder. These particles comprise many different individual rings. The rings are flat, and appear toContinue reading “Shepherd Moons” Continue reading

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The Oort Cloud

The Oort Cloud is a collection of comets that orbit the Sun far outside our solar system. One estimation of the number of comets in the Oort Cloud is one TRILLION. Unlike the Kuiper Belt, which lies outside the orbit of Neptune, the Oort Cloud neither lies on the same plane as the bodies orbitingContinue reading “The Oort Cloud” Continue reading

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Aurora Borealis

Aurora borealis, or the “Northern lights,” as it is often called, is the result of our Earth’s magnetosphere deflecting harmful particles from the Sun from the Earth. They can best be seen from the Arctic Circle (Canada, Iceland, Finland, etc.). Every aurora in the solar system originates from the Sun. Periodically, the Sun has stormsContinue reading “Aurora Borealis” Continue reading

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Spectroscopy is the act of “fingerprinting” stars by observing their spectra. A spectrum is produced by filtering light through a prism, resulting in a rainbow of color. There are three different types of spectra: continuous, emission, and absorption. A continuous spectrum is produced when the light of a hot, dense object is directly filtered throughContinue reading “Spectroscopy” Continue reading

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Historical Astronomers in Context

Galileo Galilei [February 15, 1564–January 8, 1642] was important to astronomy because his work “answered all three objections” to Copernicus’s view of the solar system. These three objections were (1) “that Earth could not be moving,” (2) that orbits had to be circular because the heavens are “perfect and unchanging,” and (3) that Earth cannotContinue reading “Historical Astronomers in Context” Continue reading

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Vastness of the Universe

The universe is astronomically big (cheesy pun). We live on Earth, which is in our solar system, which means that we orbit the Sun. Our Sun is just one star out of the millions upon millions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy. Our Milky Way is just one galaxy out of 30 or soContinue reading “Vastness of the Universe” Continue reading

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Hello Friends!

My name is Mykayla, and this is my introductory post to my astroblog. I am a first-year at Vanderbilt University, and this semester I am taking Dr. G’s ASTR 2110 “Solar Systems” class. I am excited about this blog, as I am obsessed with the heavens and this gives me an outlet to talk aboutContinue reading “Hello Friends!” Continue reading

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