Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

Posts tagged “astronomy

“Learn Astronomy in a Fun Way!” — Popcorn Astronomy

Get to know more about Astronomy in a more fun and interesting way through Popcorn Astronomy!

Popcorn Astronomy's logo by Ronald Buenaflor.

Like Popcorn Astronomy on Facebook!

A friend and fellow amateur astronomer from the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP Astrosoc), Ronald Buenaflor coined this term to describe learning seemingly difficult astronomical concepts through an easier, interesting and “digestible” manner. According to him, “It’s like eating popcorns while looking up the sky”. Popcorn Astronomy’s Facebook page aims to share trivia and other fun stuff related to astronomy to make it more fascinating for everyone.

Astronomy is a cool science. Whether you are simply a gazer of stars or an avid student of astronomy, there is always something new to learn about our galaxy and beyond. The study of astronomy gives us essential information about the universe that is used for practical and scientific applications.

Despite astronomy being the scientific study of the heavens, you don’t have to be a scientist to be an astronomer. Anyone with the proper know-how, determination, and persistence , with or without  equipment,  can make contributions to the field of astronomy. In fact, astronomy is one of the fields whose body of knowledge can and is regularly enlarged by the efforts of amateurs. This is especially true when it comes to observing and documenting transient phenomena, where professional astronomers simply may not be available to observe them.

Astronomy is simply amazing that’s why I love it. 😀 It’s beautiful, it ignites our curiosity, it’s extreme, and it tells a lot about our past and future.  😀

To the stars!

A Tribute to Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996)

“The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

– Excerpted from The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean, Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980

Yesterday, Nov. 6, 2010, a lot of people from different communities and organization joined the celebration of the Second Annual CARL SAGAN DAY. This event was launched by a local coalition of science and reason-based organizations to celebrate his legacy at the 76th anniversary of his birth (November 9, 1934), and to increase public involvement in the excitement of astronomy and space exploration.

Several activities, like workshops, talks, a 5-k run, science displays, games, showings, etc. were included in this event to encourage public participation. There was even a live streaming of the talks by different speakers on some astronomy and cosmology topics so that people from other parts of the globe could also participate.

Dr. Carl Sagan was a Professor of Astronomy  and Space Science and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He served as an advisor and consultant to NASA, and played a major role in the establishment of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). He was a Pulitzer Prize winning author and most familiar to the public through his COSMOS series on PBS. In addition to numerous awards, recognitions and honorary degrees for his outstanding contributions, he is acknowledged as one of the most effective public faces of astronomy and space science throughout the world. Sagan died in December 1996.

No other scientist has been able to reach and teach so many non-scientists in such a meaningful way. In fact, the National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science… his gifts to mankind were infinite” in their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan.

Earth as seen from Voyager 1 while on the edge of our solar system. The image above was taken at the request of Sagan by the science team as the robot was passing the 3.7 Billion miles-from-home-marker.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

The beautiful intro to the Cosmos television series. Carl Sagan talks about the universe and our place within it.

To Dr. Carl Sagan, astronomer, astrophysicist, author, cosmologist, and highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics and other natural sciences, thank you for all your works and contributions, especially for making us appreciate beauty of this vast universe and for sharing  how special our world is. 😀

Astronomy through Poetry

I was searching for astronomy-related blogs, but instead I found these two very nice poems,  with cute pictures of the moon and night sky. With the permission of its author, I thought of sharing them with everyone 😀

Night Sky

by Chloe Richmond*

The moon had a pale, mischievous smile
upon its whitish lips
it thought the stars were playing up
as they sparkled like distant ships

The sky less dark, the sky less black
and not so overcast
the moon did yawn
his eyes did blink
as the stars took down their masts

== § § § § § § § § § § § § ==

Release Your Dreams

by Chloe Richmond*

Once upon a moonbeam
where dreams are made
and bright stars gleam
think about life
and what it means,
evidently not always what it seems

Quit focusing on the minutiae
see instead the vastness and try
to know in its’ beauty
your destiny is aligned
your ability to achieve is just as high
as the jewels cast in that star-dripping sky
so trust in your ability
to let yourself fly

*Chloe writes good poems 🙂 You can check her other works in her blog, Writing Days — Happy Days.

List of common misconceptions in Astronomy

– It is commonly claimed that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from the Moon. This is false. None of the Apollo astronauts reported seeing any man-made object from the Moon. The misconception is believed to have been popularized by Richard Halliburton decades before the first moon landing.

– Black holes, unlike the common image, do not act as cosmic vacuum cleaners any more than do other stars. When a star evolves into a black hole, the gravitational attraction at a given distance from the body is no greater than it was for the star. That is to say, were the Sun to be replaced by a black hole of the same mass, the Earth would continue in the same orbit (assuming spherical symmetry of the sun). Due to a black hole’s formation being explosive in nature, the object would lose a certain amount of its energy in the process, which, according to the mass–energy equivalence, means that a black hole would be of lower mass than the parent object, and actually have a weaker gravitational pull.

– When a meteor lands on Earth (after which it is termed a meteorite), it is not usually hot. In fact, many are found with frost on them. A meteor’s great speed during entry is enough to melt or vaporize its outermost layer, but any molten material will be quickly blown off (ablated), and the interior of the meteor does not have time to heat up because rocks are poor conductors of heat. Also, atmospheric drag can slow small meteors to terminal velocity by the time they hit the ground, giving the surface time to cool down.

– It is a common misconception that seasons are caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer than in the winter. In fact, the Earth is actually farther from the Sun when it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Seasons are actually the result of the Earth being tilted on its axis by 23.5 degrees. As the Earth orbits the Sun, different parts of the world receive different amounts of direct sunlight. In July, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun giving longer days and more direct sunlight; in December, it is tilted away. The seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, which is tilted towards the Sun in January and away from the Sun in July. In tropical areas of the world, there is no noticeable change in the amount of sunlight.

– It is a common misconception that it’s easier to balance an egg on its end on the first day of spring. In fact, the ease or difficulty of balancing an egg is the same 365 days a year. This myth is said to originate with the egg of Li Chun, an ancient Chinese folk belief that it is easier to balance an egg on Li Chun, the first day of spring in the Chinese lunar calendar. In Chinese Li=setup/erect; Chun=spring/egg. Setup spring is a Chinese solar term, literally interpreted as erecting an egg for fun. It was introduced to the western world in a Life article in 1945, and popularized once again by self-titled ‘urban shaman’ Donna Henes, who has hosted an annual egg balancing ceremony in New York City since the mid-1970s.

– Mars will look as big as the Full Moon. Not only is this statement untrue, but, like the Energizer bunny, it keeps going and going. Mars makes a great telescopic sight when it’s closest to Earth. However, it will never appear as large as the Full Moon to the naked eye.

via Stars and Constellations Face book Fan Page 🙂