Author Archives: robbyks

My New Outlook on Space

Space has always been a fascinating thing to me. In the past, I would often find myself getting lost on Wikipedia reading articles about the Big Bang or the future of the Sun. When I was a kid, I had a recurring dream of traveling through space on a spaceship. Taking this course allowed me […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro201, blog10, Class, General, Space | Comments Off on My New Outlook on Space

Faster-than-light Travel

Many different propulsion methods have been proposed for interstellar travel. One of the most intriguing is hypothetical faster-than-light travel. Most sci-fi movies contain this in some form, whether it be the Millennium Falcon traveling through hyperspace or the Endurance traveling through a wormhole in Interstellar. A few different methods have been postulated for faster-than-light travel. […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Alcubierre, astro201, blog9, interstellar, Space travel, technology, wormholes | Comments Off on Faster-than-light Travel

Kepler Search for Exoplanets

The Kepler spacecraft entered its 4th observing campaign in February. There are nearly 16,000 target stars, which are being searched for exoplanets and other astrophysical phenomena. Included in the target are two open star clusters in the Taurus constellation. Onboard fuel is projected to last until December 2017. In its previous campaigns, the Kepler team […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro201, blog8, Exoplanets, Instruments, Kepler | Comments Off on Kepler Search for Exoplanets

Explore Vesta with Vesta Trek

Today, NASA released Vesta Trek, a free web-based application that provides a detailed visualization of Vesta, one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System. This was made possible by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which studied Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012. This application includes interactive maps, the ability to print Vesta in a 3-D printer, […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro201, blog7, Ceres, Dawn, Instruments, NASA, Solar System: Small SS Objects, technology, vesta, VestaTrek | Comments Off on Explore Vesta with Vesta Trek

The Future of the Sun and What It Means for Earth

Right now, the Sun is about halfway through its main sequence stage. It has always intrigued me how the Sun will evolve once it is past this phase. How will the Sun change? What will happen to Earth and the other planets? In approximately 5.4 billion years, the Sun will have exhausted all of its […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro201, blog6, Earth, Solar System: Sun, Stars, Sun | Comments Off on The Future of the Sun and What It Means for Earth

Mysterious Plumes in Martian Atmosphere

In 2012, two strange cloud-like plumes were observed over Mars, and astronomers are still trying to solve the mystery of what caused this in Mars’ atmosphere. The two plumes were observed a month apart, one lasting ten days and the other lasting eleven days. The clouds were seen at a high altitude of 200-250 km […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro201, Atmosphere, blog5, Mars, Observables, plumes, Solar System: Terrestrials | Comments Off on Mysterious Plumes in Martian Atmosphere

What Comes After Hubble?

The Hubble Space Telescope, in use for about 25 years, will soon have to be retired in the next 5-10 years. Plans for a successor telescope eventually materialized into the James Webb Space Telescope, pictured below as a full scale model in Austin, TX. As big as a tennis court and as tall as a […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro201, blog4, hubble, Instruments, JWST, technology, telescopes | Comments Off on What Comes After Hubble?

The Astronomical Origins of Stonehenge

Above is a photo of Stonehenge I took when I visited England the summer after freshman year of high school. I was so amazed by this structure. I wondered why it was built and what was its purpose. I did not know at the time, but many believe Stonehenge has connections to ancient astronomy. Archaeoastronomers are […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in archaeoastronomy, astro201, blog3, Class, Historical, science, stonehenge | Comments Off on The Astronomical Origins of Stonehenge

Historical Astronomers in Context

Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630 Johannes Kepler devised the three laws of planetary motion. He was the first one to state that planets followed elliptical orbits and not circular orbits. He also discovered that planets move quicker when closer to the Sun and that more distant planets orbit the Sun at slower speeds. Introduction of Gregorian Calendar, […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro201, Historical, HW6, Kepler | Comments Off on Historical Astronomers in Context

Precession and its Effects (And Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid)

Axial precession is the gradual wobble that alters the orientation of Earth’s axis in space. Historically, discovery of this phenomenon was attributed to Greek astronomer Hipparchus. The axis traces out the path of a cone over a 26,000 year cycle. When I first read about this concept, I imagined Earth becoming like Westeros and experiencing […] Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in astro201, blog2, celestialpoles, Class, Observables, precession, solstice, Time | Comments Off on Precession and its Effects (And Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid)