Author Archives: ctogrye

The Solar System: My Changed Perspective

Hey Guys! This will be my last post for Astro 201. As I look back on this semester’s teaching, I realize how insular my perspective was. I had always heard about the vastness of the universe and how small we were in comparison, but I never realized how small exactly. This first struck me when […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Fermi Paradox: Where is Everyone?

Hey Listeners! Today, because we have recently been discussing life, I’m going to discuss one of the arguments against there being other intelligent civilizations in our galaxy (or the universe). This argument is called the Fermi Paradox. It consists of a number of primary points. One is that the Sun is a relatively typical star […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Exoplanets: Planets Not Orbiting the Sun

Hey there! Today I’m going to be discussing the topic. The definition of an Exoplanet is a planet which orbits a star (or stellar remnant or brown dwarf) which is not the Sun. Thus far, over 1900 exoplanets have been discovered. 480 of these exoplanets are confirmed to exist in multi-planet systems. These planets are […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Pluto: Why isn’t it a planet?

Hey Followers! Today, I’m going to be discussing some basic characteristics of the now dwarf planet Pluto. Pluto is the largest object in the Kuiper belt. It is approximately 30-49 AU from the Sun depending on its position in its elliptical orbit (this variance also indicates a high eccentricity in its orbit). An interesting phenomenon […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Panspermia: An Alternative Hypothesis

Hey Readers! Today I’m going to briefly discuss the idea of panspermia. For much of human history, we have wondered how such complex life on Earth came to be. Many suggest that life sprung up as the result of the natural aggregation of self replicating particles as in the primordial soup hypothesis. However another theory suggests […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Nuclear Fusion: Future of Energy?

Hey there everyone! Today I am going to give a brief overview of nuclear fusion, specifically in regards to ITER, or the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Currently being built in the south of France, ITER aspires to be the largest tokomak fusion reactor in the world. Experiments are currently slated to begin in 2020 with […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Drake Equation: Quantifying Extraterrestrial Life

Hey Everyone, Today I’m going to discuss a major concept in the search for extraterrestrial life. Specifically, I will be discussing the Drake equation and its impact on said search. The Drake equation is an equation designed to approximate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations that exist in the Milky Way. It was developed by Frank Drake […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Spectroscopy and the identity of elements

Hey Everyone, Today I am going to discuss the details of spectroscopy which explain why different atoms and molecules have different characteristic emission and absorption spectrum. The reason for this unique patterns lies with the the atom’s (or molecule’s) electron energy levels. Each atom and molecule has a unique separation of electron energy levels which […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Historical Astronomers in Context

The astronomer I chose was Isaac Newton, who was born on December 25, 1642 and died March 20, 1726. Some important historical events also coincided with my astronomer. In 1649, Charles I was beheaded by Oliver Cromwell and supporters during the English civil war. This precipitated the Interregnum, the period in which England did not have […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Solstices and Equinoxes: Extremes and Means

Hey Listeners! Today I will be discussing solstices and equinoxes. Firstly, we will discuss solstices. This event happens twice a year (one during winter and one during summer), and is the time of the year when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point relative to the celestial equator (ie when viewing the sun at […] Continue reading Continue reading

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