Category Archives: Historical

An Important Musician In Astronomy

Many will remember William Herschel as the one who found planet Uranus. This founding was shocking and revolutionary. After all, Uranus was the first star found by humans for a long time. Nevertheless, there are many more interesting things one can say about William Herschel. For one, he did not train to be an astronomer.Continue reading “An Important Musician In Astronomy” Continue reading

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The Real Villain in Pluto’s Demise

The removal of Pluto as a planet was an emotional blow to anyone with a heart. It was a devastating betrayal leaving many asking questions that no one wanted to hear the answers to. While there were many reasons behind Pluto’s status change, the ultimate culprit is the dwarf planet Eris. Eris was discovered inContinue reading “The Real Villain in Pluto’s Demise” Continue reading

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The Trouble With Astronomy 🤔

“Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy So you want to study space? Now, … Continue reading The Trouble With Astronomy 🤔 Continue reading

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Our Place in the Universe

How did you first picture the universe? Before being taught in school or at home what the universe was like, we often start to wonder about the world around us. This phase in a child’s life often leads to parents being questioned about almost everything. Questions range from why the sky is blue, why isContinue reading “Our Place in the Universe” Continue reading

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The Resurgence of Flat Earth Theory

While believers in a Flat Earth have always existed (even after it became widely understood that the Earth is a sphere), the number of “Flat Earthers” has grown (and continues to grow) at alarming rates. So how is a fact that has been proven thousands of different ways over a few thousand years rejected byContinue reading “The Resurgence of Flat Earth Theory” Continue reading

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Ultraviolet Catastrophe

While we discussed in class the importance of blackbody spectra continuous spectra, there is an important historical footnote in understanding where the famous blackbody curve arises from. Physics in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s predicted the wavelength-intensity relationship to be I α 1/λ^4, using a derivation based on classical statistical mechanics. This relationship closelyContinue reading “Ultraviolet Catastrophe” Continue reading

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History of the Telescope

The telescope was first invented in the Netherlands in 1608. Its design quickly spread across Europe until it reached Galileo. Galileo spent years refining and redeveloping the telescope until it was much more powerful than before. He was able to observe many new astronomical phenomena such as the moons of Jupiter. For a while, GalileoContinue reading “History of the Telescope” Continue reading

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Stromatolites

Stromatolites are layered mounds or sheet-like layers of sedimentary rock that were originally forced by growing on a layer of cyanobacteria, a single-cell microbe. Fossilized stromatolites provide a record of ancient life and tidal patterns on Earth. Millions of years ago, seas all over the world would resemble the picture above, which was taken fromContinue reading “Stromatolites” Continue reading

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The Moon’s Tug

Three weeks ago, for my Earth System Dynamics course, I listened to a Radiolab podcast about the distance between the Earth and the Moon. In “The Times They Are a Changin’” paleontologists talk about how coral shells taught us that the Earth used to have shorter days. Their shells have tiny bands, an alternating patternContinue reading “The Moon’s Tug” Continue reading

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The Astronomy behind Astrology

While astrology is widely disproven as a form of science in our modern age, it has its origins in the beginnings of computational astronomy. As explained by David Lindberg in his book The Beginnings of Western Science, “By the end of the fifth century B.C., Babylonian celestial divination had expanded to embrace horoscopic astrology, whichContinue reading “The Astronomy behind Astrology” Continue reading

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