Monday, April 25, 2016

A Little Girl As My Guide

I fell in love with Astronomy after watching Carl Sagan's COSMOS series. My mom would rent them from the library for me when I was seven or eight years old. I can recall seeing Dr. Sagan working with the Voyager team, going over images taken by the satellite and thinking "That's what I want to do. I want to be a part of a team pushing the boundaries of knowledge." The way astronomers study the mysteries of space fascinated that little girl. They can't touch anything out there. They can't change it and see what happens. All they can do is watch. Now that little girl is an astronomer, and she's still fascinated by the field, but she isn't part of a research team. My path did not lead her there. That little girl acted as my guide through this whole journey, pushing me forward. I want to thank her for not giving up on me and helping me through the obstacles thrown in my path.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Resurrection of Planet X

Earlier this week, two astronomers at Caltech announced that they had observational evidence of a ninth planet orbiting in the far reaches of the Kuiper Belt. The planet has not been directly detected but its effect on the orbits of six dwarf planets was observed. Based on theoretical models, the most likely explanation for the unexpected orbits of these icy bodies is a planet, 5 to 10 times the mass of Earth. They're calling it Planet Nine, but I remember when I first became interested in Astronomy at 7 years old, reading about the mysterious "Planet X" that many believed orbited somewhere in the Kuiper Belt. The story of the search for Planet X and other far orbiting bodies is apparently far from over.