Category Archives: General

Observing and Reddit

Interested in learning more about Astronomy or finding a community of people who love astronomy? Try the Astronomy subreddit on the website Reddit.com. They have monthly observing challenges and ask/answer all kinds of questions about astronomy. Some examples – “I want to spend my dying years observing the unknown universe from my roof. What’s the best location for that?” “I want to buy my first telescope, I have no idea what I should get. Help?” and my favorite, “How do we know that the universe is expanding and it’s not us that are changing our frame of reference?” Try it out. The people are nice and helpful.

The Reddit Mascot.
The Reddit Mascot. Picture from here
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My Big Takeaway

Astronomy has taught me a lot of stuff about the universe that I didn’t know. What I will remember learning though is the size of our earth. Relative to our Sun, we are quite small. Relative to our solar system, we are barely visible, and relative to our galaxy, earth is nothing. The lesson is that it’s all relative. What are you comparing your life to? To a big shot investor on Wall Street, to Lebron James, to Oprah? I’d say that Astronomy has taught me to value how big the things around us are, but to treasure the uniqueness of our earth just as much.

Earth in size

photo from here

New Zealanders

Nemo

Picture from here.

Improvise, adapt, and overcome. That’s what the Marines say. That’s what Life does, when you put it under extreme circumstances. The Anglerfish is one example of this adaptation and in this post, I’d like to take a look at some much simpler examples known as extremophiles.

My parents recently took a trip to New Zealand for their 25th anniversary. Looking through the pictures from their trip, I thought I’d really like to go there one day. The country has a smattering of landscapes and also a variety of wildlife. From whales to penguins to all kinds of wild birds, the country boasts an enormous breadth of creatures. How about those species we don’t normally think of though?

Extremophiles – Nature’s equivalent of Bruce Willis in Die Hard. These organisms thrive in extreme physical conditions. The kinds of extremophiles that live in New Zealand include thermophiles and acidophiles, which live in the hot springs such as those in Rotokawa. There are cyanobacteria in other hot springs around New Zealand. These bacteria derive energy from the sun and can produce oxygen through photosynthesis. That concludes our tour of New Zealand.

 

I’d like to thank my source.