Astronomy Ed II

Do you want to be an Astronomer?  Have the knowledge of an Astronomer?  Know more?  Well as my previous post mentioned- you look for a world class institution that has a top notch astronomy program.  University of Arizona is just one of those premier institutions.  The University of Arizona is first in astronomy in a national ranking of 539 public and private universities for research expenditures and second in the physical sciences, according to data from the National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development Survey.  According to Tim Swindle, department head and director of the UA Department of Planetary Sciences/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, the UA has been ranked between No. 20 and 30 across R&D expenditures in all science areas for the last 10 years; has traded the top three places in the Physical Sciences category with Caltech and Johns Hopkins; and has been first in astronomy – represented at the UA by Lunar and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory – every year during that period.

How am I aware of the university?  I’m currently taking a FREE course on Udemy called “Astronomy- State of the Art” by Chris Impey, who happens to be a Deputy Head of Astronomy at University of Arizona.  Fantastic and inspiring course.  You can take this very same course at anytime- its an open course.

Today I contacted Mr. Impey and inquired about the opportunity to place University of Arizona material on the Internet like MIT did in an Open Course Ware format.  That way it would be accessible to all FREE!!  Doesn’t mean it will be easy to learn, but with dedication and drive you can do it.  I will keep you updated on the prospect.

Now from the Observational sense- there are two websites you need to look at:

  1.  Astronomical League – Fantastic website!  Has a lot of visual observation programs.  What are these?  Well at the top of the webpage there is a tab labeled Observe- click that and you will see a drop down for programs.  There are many, many programs.  Let’s select the Lunar program.  In there it tells you what you need to do to complete and get a certificate/pin for Lunar Observations.  Yup, as easy as that-  You learn the moon by looking at it!  That’s my (Lab) approach to the Astronomy training.  There are many other programs based on your personal interests.  I started with the Moon as it is big, easy to spot and will help me work my way to the harder things to look at.
  2. Astronomy Logs – This website seems to be the king of any kind of astronomy log you may need.  Free- print them out and sketch and note to your hearts content.  Now one thing I learned this weekend is that observation logs are not necessary, but highly encouraged.  Ready this article on Messier.  In there he kept very detailed observation logs that really helped later on.

When you write things down you tend to develop long term neural traces which help in developing long term memory.  Repetition of viewing, sketching really will help you start to really learn the sky/objects you view.

Well that’s all for now,





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