Ask Astronomy Questions Here -

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by CosmosYEM, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. #1 CosmosYEM, Aug 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2012
    A buddy of mine asked me to write a weekly astronomy-related article for his libertarian newspaper he's the editor of.

    It doesn't have to be political at all, just like basic astronomy stuff that most people would find interesting.

    This is where you all come in - ask me questions or post topic ideas I could write about that people would find interesting.
    I'll answer them here as a sort of rough draft version.

    Please and thank you!

    (An example, and one thing I'll probably definitely write about, is the difference between dark energy and dark matter)
  2. How to get into studying this awesome field? :smoke:
  3. Well I'm not sure about the best route, but I started as a physics major until I realized my school had astronomy minor available and an active observatory that I got involved with.
  4. Without university where can I learn a lot about astronomy? I'm very interested in it.
  5. Go check out your local planetarium! They are usually free/cheap and are very cool.
    If you are really interested, look into local planetariums and find the ones that have full dome video, otherwise the shows will just be audio and slide images and pretty boring.

  6. I work out of town a lot and theyre usually small towns with not much shops ect, is there any known sites on the net where i could learn some cool space shit?
  7. In all honesty, wikipedia helped me a lot looking up specific things.
    Otherwise, I use to check every day or so and go to the astronomy page.
  8. Books.
  9. [quote name='"CosmosYEM"']

    In all honesty, wikipedia helped me a lot looking up specific things.
    Otherwise, I use to check every day or so and go to the astronomy page.[/quote]

  10. [quote name='"Pink_bagel"']

    Oh really? Books? Narrows it down doesnt it smart ass
  11. #14 Turin, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
    You'll get a lot more info from a book when compared to a website.

    N.A.A.'s Best Astronomy Websites

    By the way, Sorry for hijacking you're thread fort that bit, Yem.

  12. Could you explain the basics about lightyears (i.e. what they are and how they fit into practicality).

    Something that's always confused me and I'm too lazy and terrified of mathematics to look into myself.
  13. This should be interesting. I'm not big into astronomy, but it's always fun to learn. Subbed.
  14. #17 CosmosYEM, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
    FacelessPotato - also go on netflix or Hulu and you can watch all teh episodes of Cosmos. THat's a great place to start to get a great history, geographic, and astronomy background.

    Okay, so a light year is the distance light would travel in a year of time.

    So, light travels 186,282 miles per second (roughly 300million meters per second). There are 31471200 seconds in a year - so light travels approximately 5860000000000 miles in a year (an incredibly large number).

    The reason lightyears are used is because astronomy uses such large numbers past trillions that humans can't truly comprehend them and at some point it becomes useless to say a distance even using scientific notation (#.## x 10^n).
    So the lightyear became an easy way to tell large distances. The next unit up is a parsec, which is something like 4.3 (don't quote me on the decimal) lightyears.
    Within our own solar system we get distances of billions of miles. THe nearest star is like 4 lightyears from us. The galaxy is 100,000 lightyears in diameter. The nearest galaxy is 2.5million lightyears from us (Andromeda - seen in an infrared image I took in my avatar).
    Even with the lightyear, galaxy distances may even need another unit since millions and billions still flies over the head of most people.

    Edit: I guess I should add how since light travels this way, when we see something in the night sky we are seeing it as it was in the past - whether its 4 years in the past of 4000 years. If the object is 1350 light years away, then the light left it 1350 years ago and has been traveling towards us since.
  15. #18 Helikaon, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
    I now know more than "It's a lot". Lol at parsec though, I always thought that was something George Lucas made up for Star Wars. Thanks.

    I remember the first time when I found out that Galaxy =/= The Universe and that we're only one among millions of others.

Share This Page