Astrophysics

Today’s challenge is:  “Learn about something you know nothing about and share five facts”.

University of Oxford

The first thing that popped into my head was Astrophysics, something I’d heard about during my Physics lectures in high school, but never really got into, mainly because I’m incapable of understanding mathematics. This was a shame, considering most ofNASA my science and maths teachers and professors were top-notch scientists and mathematicians who had worked for NASA, which was in the same county where I grew up (Brevard County, Florida).

So, what is Astrophysics? According to Hutchinson’s Concise Encyclopaedic Dictionary, Astrophysics is:

n. the branch of astronomy concerned with the physics and chemistry of stars, galaxies, and the universe. It began with the development of spectroscopy in the 19th century, which allowed astronomers to analyse the composition of stars from their light.

In other words, something really, really, awesome. This field of study would have been so interesting to 17th-century scientists, especially Christiaan Huygens, Giovanni Cassini, and Isaac Newton.

Now, time for the 5 facts:

1) According to Phil Bull, from the University of Oxford:

Sunspots are dark regions that we observe on the disc of the Sun, caused by intense magnetic fields that sometimes form on its surface. These strong fields result in a slight cooling of the surrounding solar gas, which makes it glow less brightly. The regions therefore appear darker when compared to gas nearby that’s outside the strong field, and appear as spots on the Sun

University of oxford

2) NASA’s website states that its goal in Astrophysics is to

“Discover how the universe works, explore how the universe began and developed into its present form, and search for Earth-like planets.” Three broad scientific questions emanate from these goals.

  • To determine how the Universe works
  • To answer the age-old question of “How did we get here?”
  • To discover if we are alone in the universe.

3) Black holes are now known to be present at the center of most galaxies, including the Milky Way galaxy. (NASA)

4. The Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is one of the top research facilities for astrophysics in the world.

Research interests of the ARI include studies in star formation, stellar evolution, time-domain astrophysics (particularly novae, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts), galaxy formation, dynamics and evolution (including AGN), and galaxy clusters.

5. There is something called “Extreme Astrophysics” (!) The topics under this fascinating part of the research are, according to the Smithsonian/Harvard Center for Astrophysics as follows:

WOW. That was amazing. I don’t think I’ll be able to just keep to the 5 facts, as I want to read up some more about this fascinating field in science!

Thanks for joining me today!

<3, Andrea 🙂

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