Well, here I am. Not only am I at the end of the Spring 2017 semester and the Descriptive Astronomy class, I am also at the end of my education here at Joliet Junior College. I am graduating on Friday! WOOHOO! Before taking this class, I must admit I thought that astronomy was just about the stars and constellations and how they fit into the universe. But, I didn’t know there were so many laws and factors at work in the universe we call home. There is so much to learn in such a short amount of time, and we didn’t even tap into all of it.
Writing the blog posts was no easy task. I think this fact is true because for the first time I was encouraged to take my knowledge on various subjects in astronomy, apply it to specific articles, write about it, and get graded on it. But, truthfully, this is what we do in life. We take our knowledge on various subject matter; apply it to current events, news, pictures, and so on; talk about it; write about it; complain about it; and so much more. The list goes on and on. In the end, no matter how much we know or don’t know on the subject, our knowledge is judged.
As I take time to reflect on this class, I am reminded of the many things I have learned which somehow made their way from my brain to my fingers during the many blog posts written throughout the class. I must say that my personal favorite was the blog written on the Juno mission that was originally set to demonstrate Kepler’s laws. I would have to say that this blog was my favorite because I felt that I understood the material in this particular objective the most. I also felt that my professor knew I understood the material the most because this was the first time his response to the blog showed that he was truly impressed with how well I was able to apply the material learned to the article I had read. I also noticed that the views on this particular blog were higher than the blogs I had written previously.
In the beginning of working with Kepler’s laws in class, I must admit that I struggled with the topic. But, as time went on, I began to apply Kepler’s laws to many celestial bodies and their orbits, and the process began to make sense. Kepler laws stated that celestial bodies tend to follow an elliptical orbit around their central star. The closer the body is to its central star, the faster the celestial body will travel during its orbit. The further away it is from its central star, the slower it will travel in its elliptical orbit. During its process of travel, the celestial body will travel equal amounts of area in equal amounts of time no matter how slow or fast the body is going in its orbit. The Juno spacecraft mission chose to test this theory by moving it in closer to the planet to reduce the orbit time. In the end, the researchers ended up not doing it because of other concerns. But, Kepler’s laws would have been proven to be true in this case as with any similar case because the same rules apply.
After this blog, my next personal favorite was entitled, Passage Graves of the Past Make Way for Telescopes of the Present. Unlike the other blog mentioned previously, this blog was harder for me and posed more of a challenge. One would wonder why I picked this blog as another favorite, right? That’s a good question. The blog wasn’t hard because I didn’t understand the class material on telescopes. I felt that finding an article that I could truly apply my knowledge of the different types of telescopes and what they do was the difficulty. I mean after all what do passage graves have to do with modern day telescopes. Many would be surprised. Before reading the article on Live Science, I never knew that passage graves held similar apertures to that of familiar refracting telescopes, or that they were great for viewing dim objects like reflecting telescopes. What I found the most intriguing was the fact that I could even compare them to the radio telescopes of today in that they both receive visible light which along with radio waves is able to penetrate the Earth’s surface.
At the end of this semester, I can say that I was challenged in a way that I haven’t been in a class ever before. Who knew that my final class would do that? I surely didn’t. What a way to leave this college, challenged, encouraged, and tired all at the same time! 🙂