Astronomy

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Astronomy

            According to an analysis of data from Kepler, a planet hunting space telescope from NASA, planets the size of the earth may be widespread in the Milky Way. This is because their formation is not dependent on metal rich parent stars. They form on a broader range of environmental conditions as compared to gas giant planets based on evidence from a study of 152 stars hosting planets whose size is that of Neptune or smaller. Gas giants need metal rich parent stars, which is not the case in these smaller planets. These metal poor planets, made of just hydrogen and helium do not have life sustaining components. This is because their parent stars develop before the metal rich stars hence the elements forming our bodies and planets did not exist at the time of their formation as stated by Debra Fischer a YaleUniversity astronomer noted in a Nature paper (Klotz 2012).

The knowledge that formation of rocky planets is possible in metal poor environments more than in gas giants lowers the bar on the creation of a world that’s earth-like since the range of stars supporting planet formation widens. According to Lars Buchhave, a lead author with the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, terrestrial planets are capable of formation form from a wide range of mettalicites based on an analysis on the Kepler planets observed (Klotz 2012). These metallicites can be four times lower than that of the sun.

 

The projects aim was to understand the cycle of the moon and its phases in the completion of a cycle that normally lasts one month. The phases are because of its position to the suns path of illumination. I set up a tripod in a clear viewed area to avoid obstacles obstructing a clear view with enough shade to provide protection of the equipment from adverse weather conditions. In order for accurate completion of the project, I waited for the beginning of a cycle where there was a new moon and progressed on with my photographing and analysis of the phases until the completion of the cycle. I begun by setting a specific time of observation and this was the time that the moon rose. In my observation, I noted that the moon rose roughly 50 minutes later than the previous night. After two days, the moon was sparsely visible as a thin crescent low in the west.

Through this experiment, I was able to understand why during the crescent phase; a shadow of the moon is visible. This is because the suns illumination on the earth’s surface is high enough to reflect on the moons surface enabling it to be partly visible because of the earth’s reflecting on its surface and the brighter sun’s reflection on part of its surface. In about seven days after the observation of the new moon, the moon appeared as a semicircle due to the quarter of the moon reflecting the sunlight. I observed in this quarter that the moon was partly visible during the evening before the sunset and had set by midnight. In the middle of the month, the whole moon was visible as it was directly opposite the sun rising at the exact time the sun set. After this period it started getting smaller being a quarter moons in the last quarter of the month and diminishing to yet a crescent again marking the end of one cycle.

 

 

Work cited

Klotz, Irene. EARTH WORLDS COMMON, PRE-EARTH ETS POSSIBLE. Space News > Earth Worlds Common, Pre-Earth ETs Possible. Discovery News. Wed Jun 13, 2012. Web. Jun 14, 2012. “http://news.discovery.com/space/earth-worlds-are-easy-120613.html”

 

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