Author Archives: samihahplanet

The Fermi paradox: Is there life out there?

Source: Youtube Channel Kurzgesagt The Fermi paradox is summarized in the video above. At a bare minimum, the Fermi paradox is the paradox of the Drake equation supposedly estimating a large number of possible planets in our Galaxy harboring life, yet no such evidence of intelligent life has been discovered. There are many possible speculations for why […] Continue reading Continue reading

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The Demise of Pluto

  Left: Pluto Demoted, Right: Size Comparison The discovery of Pluto had scientists ecstatic. Far out in the distance was this tiny, freezing,  icy planet with moons! Then it was official: Pluto must be added to the list of planets. It’s round, orbits the Sun and has a posse of moons, what more could we need? […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Doppler vs. Astrometric: Find the Planet

Currently, it’s quite difficult to discover new planets simply by direct observation. This is because the high interference of light caused by the planets’ respective stars makes it almost impossible to detect the light reflected off of planets. However, there are two indirect planet detection methods: Doppler and astrometric. The astrometric method relies on measuring […] Continue reading Continue reading

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One Shift, Two Shift, Redshift, Blueshift

Images: Redshifted, blueshifted spectra,   The Doppler shift You’re probably already familiar with the doppler effect of sound. Every time you hear a car zoom past, it pitch changes from higher as it approaches to lower as it leaves. This is because sound is dependent on the relative position of the observer, and if the sound […] Continue reading Continue reading

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We’re all attractive (by gravity!)

We like to think science has everything figured out—and it has in fact come very far to that end. But there are still many things in the world and the universe that has researchers scratching their heads. One of these phenomena is gravity, the force that attracts all objects. Sure, we know how to calculate […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Historical Astronomers in Context

Nicolaus Copernicus formed the heliocentric model of the universe, which clashed with Aristotle’s model of celestial objects orbiting Earth in a circular path. Copernicus also hypothesized that that planetary orbit depended on distance from the sun. With this model, Copernicus was able to more accurately calculate the planets’ positions throughout the year. (Source) Events during […] Continue reading Continue reading

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The Speed Limit of the Universe

58,536 km/h. That’s the speed of the fastest ever man-made vehicle: the New Horizons space probe. Though this may seem like an unfathomable feat to the layperson, there’s something that can travel even faster than that by five orders of magnitude. Light is the current “speed limit of the universe.” It travels at 3 x 108  m/s or 1 […] Continue reading Continue reading

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About Me

Hi, I’m Samihah Islam, a student in Dr. Grundstrom’s Astronomy class at Vanderbilt. I’m a sophomore-recently-switched-computer science major, formerly premed (weren’t we all). My hobbies include graphic design, baking, and disappointing my parents.         Photo: taken by a friend. Continue reading Continue reading

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