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Monthly Archives: April 2014
The stars are a source of courage to me, have been for a long time. My dad would point out the constellations to us and Mars. On Fall evenings they were there to greet me after soccer practice. I would get out of the car to open the gate into our driveway, my legs sore […] Continue reading → Continue reading
Voyager I and Voyager II were launched from Earth towards the outskirts of the Solar System in 1977. Each was sent for exploration. They have taken many beautiful pictures of planets we had never seen up close. Also, on each satellite was a golden record. This record contained a representation of all of mankind, all of […] Continue reading → Continue reading
The Milky Way Galaxy So, I’ve spent 4 months learning about the solar system and how everything works so perfectly together. When I started astronomy it was just because I needed a technical elective; however, it gave me a lot of perspective. Our world is in the perfect placement in a 100,000 light-year galaxy to… Continue reading → Continue reading
Through everything that I have learned in this class, I find myself most interested in the prospects for finding life elsewhere in the galaxy in the future. Given everything that we now know about solar system formation and the galaxy, it does not seem entirely unlikely that we are alone here on Earth. Microbial life […] Continue reading → Continue reading
In nearly every environment on Earth, there is some form of life. Many of these environments are quite hostile to most forms of life, but some are able to make them into a perfectly suitable home. Such locations could be deep underground in mine shafts, or near vents on the ocean floor, or even inside […] Continue reading → Continue reading
The Drake Equation by XKCD The Drake Equation allows us to predict the amount of communicative extraterrestrial civilizations. In 1961, Frank Drake proposed this equation to “guestimate” the possibility of life. The equation includes factors such as the number of planets that could support life, the fraction of those with the ability to create intelligent… Continue reading → Continue reading
Interested in learning more about Astronomy or finding a community of people who love astronomy? Try the Astronomy subreddit on the website Reddit.com. They have monthly observing challenges and ask/answer all kinds of questions about astronomy. Some examples – “I want to spend my dying years observing the unknown universe from my roof. What’s the … Continue reading Observing and Reddit → Continue reading → Continue reading
Having never taken an astronomy class before, I learned a lot about our place in the universe and the how our solar system functions and interacts within the universe. The biggest thing I learned is the magnitude and scale of even just our galaxy. Comparisons like if the Sun was about the… Continue reading → Continue reading
Edmond Halley was the first to predict this comet’s 76 year orbit. It was named in his honor and is known today as Halley’s Comet. Would you like to see it? Stick around until 2061 and you can! Fun fact – Mark Twain was born and died in the same years that Halley’s Comet made … Continue reading Halley’s Comet → Continue reading → Continue reading
One of the most interesting perspectives that Astronomy 201 has given me on space exploration is the role that funding plays. While in the past much of the money needed to fuel new discoveries came from government grants, budget cuts and restructurings have left astronomers with less and less funding from this outlet. The future […] Continue reading → Continue reading