Reflections: A Year of Astronomical Study

An artist’s conception of our solar system. Image Source: NASA Science

As my freshman year of college draws to a bitter sweet and slightly chaotic close, I’ve been doing some major thinking about about the events of the past school year. I fell in love with astronomy from the very first lecture I attended, way back in August of last year. While my first semester gave me a basic understanding of stars and galaxies in ASTR-1010, this semester taught me about the solar system. I came into this course with a good deal of astronomical knowledge already; however, I could never have imagined how much more I would learn about this fascinating field. I absolutely loved taking such an in-depth look at each of the planets, the Sun, and the solar system as a whole. The study of our own star system gave way to the examination of other solar systems, and then we got into questions that will bring on existential crises like “What is life?” and “Where are the aliens?” This class has encouraged me to look at the universe in whole new ways. I’ve learned that the space between cosmic objects is almost unfathomable. I’ve learned why Venus rotates in the wrong direction and that my zodiac sign will be completely different in a couple thousand years or so. I’ve learned that while we haven’t met any aliens yet, other life forms may exist somewhere in our own solar system. The list goes on and on.

Astronomy is a complex science; while we have figured out so much about our universe already, there is still work to be done. I hope that one day, we might be able to answer some of humanity’s most burning questions.

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