The Astronomy Club Rockstars
Resources for some new friends
This blog is dedicated to my young friends in Charles County, MD
Well, did we have a good time! You see, last night was the “season finale” to the Astronomy Club at the Charles County Public Library. For the last six months, we’ve been meeting over Zoom, learning about the sky, and having some awesome discussions. You should have been there! These kids were rock stars, if you’ll pardon the pun. They’d ask things like
How did the Milky Way form?
Does it snow anywhere else in the Solar system?
Where does the word “star” come from?
I was so impressed. Parents, you should be proud of them, and kids, you should be proud of yourselves. (And you gave my brain quite the workout. Thankfully, we all had access to Google, and looked up the unanswered questions together.)
A bright future depends on people thinking, and asking good questions. Don’t wait till you’re “older” or till tomorrow! Sure, if you get a PhD in Physics, you’ll know more than you did without, but - the questions themselves can be asked right now.
This sets us up on a track to find the answer. The question can be quite simple. What’s inside a black hole? What was before the Big Bang?
Sometimes the answer might take years (if ever), but you can start asking questions today. Just notice something you’re curious about.
Even if you don’t get an answer, it’s still fun to think about.
Remember the spaghetti story from yesterday? The brilliant physicist (and Nobel prize winner) Richard Feynman had his buddy over to make dinner. While they were cooking spaghetti, they couldn’t figure out why it would break into three pieces. At the end of a few hours, after testing all sorts of ways to break it, all they had was a pile of spaghetti pieces…and no real answer.
Eventually, somebody figured it out:
So - you’re on the right track! Keep asking those questions, and keep looking up.
Do the Research
Maybe there’s an answer to your question out there! Smart people have been thinking hard for thousands of years. They certainly haven’t figured everything out (which is why we need to question things), but we can also think smarter, not harder, and continue their work.
The big resource hiding in plain sight: YOUR LIBRARY! You know - the one that hosted this program! Go check out every book on science and astronomy they have. Read them, then start on biographies: Read about Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Einstein, Hubble, etc. When you’re done with all that - let me know, and we’ll talk some more. :)
Here’s a snazzy planetarium platform that’s powerful, free, and widely used. If you like maps, you’ll love this
My favorite astronomy magazine:
Solar physics, anyone? A fan of catching some rays? Dig this series on YouTube:
For those of you interested in disaster (Greek for “Bad Star”), you’ll dig this Doomsday video from an excellent channel. What would happen if the MOON HIT THE EARTH?
(It freaked me out a little bit. I’m glad it’s locked in orbit!)
One of the smartest channels I’ve ever watched:
Keep tabs on the new James Webb Space Telescope!
If you’d like a sky chart:
If you’d like a copy of my new observing book, and you were in the club, drop me an email at JoshUrban@Protonmail.com and we’ll chat.
Keep Looking Up!
Most importantly - have fun, and keep looking up! Learn from the scientists, but realize that nobody owns the Universe. Get outside, and marvel at it.
And of course, let me know if you have any questions.