Up, Up and Away! Astronomy at Medomak
June 3, 2013
Summer camps have long been seen as an opportunity for children in urban areas to experience something entirely different; to learn a new set of skills, to live at a slower pace, and to gain a more complete appreciation of things not manmade. Stargazing, which is often not possible in cities because of light pollution, tends to be a favorite nighttime activity of campers. And, when it comes to visibility, being at Medomak usually means having the “best seat in the house.” If you have the chance to get out there and spend some time under the stars, consider a few of these mind-boggling facts.
- · Even at a prime location in ideal weather conditions, an observer from Earth can only see about 3,000 stars. That might seem like a lot, but it is only a tiny portion of the estimated 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone.
- · A small can full of the material that makes up a neutron star would have more mass than the entire Moon.
- · If you’re looking at something that is a few light years away, what you are actually seeing is the image of that thing as it was that many years ago. The Andromeda galaxy, for instance, appears to us as it looked 2.3 million years ago. In this way, stargazing is like looking back in time.
- · Shooting stars are not actually stars at all; they are relatively small particles of dust or other debris that burn up in our atmosphere, thus creating this phenomenon.
- · Roughly one thousand years ago, a supernova exploded and led to the creation of the Crab Nebula. The explosion was so intense, astronomers on Earth recorded that it could be seen even during the daytime.
- · Mount Everest might be the tallest mountain on Earth, but it’s not the tallest mountain in our solar system. At around 15 miles high, Olympus Mons on Mars is about 3 times the height of Everest!
These are only a few of the unbelievable astronomy facts out there. Try these sites for more!