Category Archives: Light

Using Variable Stars to Find Exoplanets

One of the preeminent methods for finding exoplanets is tracking periodic variations in stellar brightness. In class, we practiced this technique by examining the light curves of certain variable stars and identifying the presence of orbiting exoplanets. In the real world, scientists must first identify variable stars and then determine which of these variable stars’ […] Continue reading

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Black Holes: A great mystery of the universe

Black holes are one of the greatest mysteries of our universe. However, using just a few concepts that we have learned in class, we can understand the basic constructs of black holes. A black hole is the result of a single point in space containing extreme mass (this point is called a singularity). Similar to […] Continue reading

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Where does the speed of light come from?

It might seem that the definition of the speed of light is simple–light can only physically go as fast as 300,000 km/s. This is true, but there is a lot more that goes into that number, and it doesn’t really have much to do with light. There is a lot more that goes into that […] Continue reading

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Earth’s Atmosphere and Life

Earth’s atmosphere is conducive to life in a way other terrestrial worlds’ atmospheres are not.  This is because of the greenhouse effect, which keeps Earth warm and allows water to exist in its liquid form. Other planets such as Mercury which do not have an atmosphere or the greenhouse effect are extremely hot during the […] Continue reading

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Northern Lights

The Northern lights are one of the most sought after views that light up the night sky. There is a burst of colors of greens, blues and purples that dance across the sky. But what exactly causes this astonishing sight? Many ancient civilizations have been observing this celestial phenomenon long before us, and have come […] Continue reading

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Light: Wavelength, Frequency, and Energy

A prism splits white light into a spectrum of colors ranging from red to violet. These colors correspond to different wavelengths, frequencies, and energy levels. Light with a longer wavelength has a lower frequency and lower energy level, and light with a shorter wavelength has a higher frequency and higher energy level. Violet light has […] Continue reading

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Blog Post 2 Bending of Light

Light is a weird thing. It is both a particle and a wave, yet it has no mass to it. This means it should be immune to certain laws of physics, such as gravity, since gravity requires two masses to generate a force. However, light does bend due to gravity. This is not the normal […] Continue reading

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Light

The topic of light in regards to astronomy or any study of space is incredibly fascinating. In a vacuum, the speed of light travels around 300,000 km/sec and is known to be the fastest phenomenon in the entire universe. There’s so many interesting aspects that come out of studying light. One such example would be […] Continue reading

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Discovering the Photoelectric Effect

I’ve always been taught that light is both a wave and a particle, and I’ve never faltered in believing it. However, I chose to challenge myself and question what I’ve always known to be true. Accordingly, I explored the origins of the photoelectric effect to understand how physicists arrived at their conclusions. In my research, […] Continue reading

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The James Webb Space Telescope

As you may have heard in the news recently, the James Webb Space Telescope (or JWST) was launched into space on December 25, 2021. The JWST is meant to be the successor to the Hubble Telescope, as it detects light further into the infrared spectrum than the Hubble telescope, and so can see stars that […] Continue reading

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