Space: Get More Involved

Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s new cinematic marvel, met enormous success because space exploration appeals to pioneering spirits who dare to dream. Space allows us to imagine new worlds. Gravity, air, and liquid oceans become as rare as gold but they are out there, waiting to be found. Space is where dreams traverse time, space, and even dimensions.

This amazing area of science has been a passion of mine for years now and I have learned a lot. If you share a passion for learning about our universe, here are some ways to dive in head first:

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Astronomical Societies

I joined the New Hampshire Astronomical Society last year and it’s been an amazing year. The members are willing to share their knowledge and answer questions. A few benefits of joining are:

NHASLogoLrg

  • The NHAS focuses mostly on observing and has great scopes to borrow, some as long as six feet, with 10″ mirrors! Have you ever looked through a telescope and seen the weather patterns on Jupiter? It’s amazing. You can even identify 3-4 of its moons, including Europa!
  • There are monthly meetings with guest speakers who talk on subjects like dark energy, black holes, and other cool stuff.
  • They email the group and let everyone know about important space news including things like when comets are passing by, where to look in the sky, and when to look.
Europa project gets more funding than expected!

December 2014 Space News: Europa project gets more funding than requested!

  • You can ask questions!
    • After I saw the movie “Gravity” I emailed the group asking lots of questions about things that seemed odd. Summary:
      • That pressurized jetpack is real!!!
      • The second space station, that Sandra Bullock spends the movie trying to get to, is not real… China does have a space station planned to go into orbit but as of now the ISS is the only space station in orbit.
  • We have a dark sky site on a farm way out in the NH hills, open for any member to use.
  • If you want to, you can even learn how to take deep space photos. Here’s one taken by an amateur astronomer from NH
Bubble Nebula

The Bubble Nebula, taken by Herb Bubert

Search the web and see if your state or city has an astronomical society to join!

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Observatories

Do a quick search to see if you have any observatories near you.

If a few observatories are within driving distance, check their website! You might find out what planets and other space objects are visible from where you live. You may even be welcome to drop in!


If my tiny state has four observatories, I’m sure your state has even more!

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Universities often have an observatory and even offer occasional open-invitation nights to go hear a speaker, get a tour, and see some cool stuff!

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You might even be able to get involved on a consistent basis!

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Here’s the event schedule at our discovery center in Concord NH:

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Cool Websites You Don’t Know About

Space in Video

The European Space Agency (ESA) keeps this site up to date with the latest videos on cool space stuff. No reading required!

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Sky & Telescope

Want to learn what to look for? Advice on ordering a scope? Check this site out!

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Read About the Physics of Space

Issac Watson wrote a biography on Albert Einstein and it’s a must read for anyone who wants to jump back in time to when crazy ideas like relativity, black holes, and the universe still expanding all came into existence.

I also recommend any and all books written by Michio Kaku. Kaku knows how to dumb down crazy physics and relate it to typical curiosities. One of his books explores the:

“Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel”.

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Lastly, a must read, Stephen Hawking’s book “A Brief History of Time“. It was written for the lame and explains truly enchanting physics.

 

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For The Netflix Lovers

Cosmos – Narrated by Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Then everything else on Netflix with Space in it because the titles are endless and most are worth the hour or two they take.

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Good Luck and Hope for Clear Skies!

Hopefully these tips spur a few people to indulge and build on an interest that so many of us have!

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One response to “Space: Get More Involved

  1. Pingback: There’s Something About Albert Einstein | The Jones Report·

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