Friday, April 6, 2018

6th April 2018, Orbital Mechanics.

Astronomy Club members having a lesson on orbital mechanics

Today's session started out with Orbital mechanics, which are the ballistics and celestial mechanics to problems or scenarios concerning rockets or other spacecraft. Throughout the lesson, I learned that orbits can never be circular due to miniscule forces which affect the object's flight trajectory. Orbits are also formed by a gravitationally curved path around a point in space, usually around large celestial bodies. There are also many types of orbits; Highly elliptical orbits, Geosynchronous orbits, low/high earth orbits and many more! I never knew this. I've always thought that orbits were simply round paths in which the planets in the solar system follow. At one point, I even though that it was a physical ring which went through the centre of our planets!(I was 4 years old at that time, I don't believe it any more of course) Astrodynamics aside, I am glad to say that I will now always have a piece of our astronomy club with me forever. The T-shirts we ordered have arrived! I can finally display my participation in SST's astronomy club at home! (and have an extra shirt to wear)

I hope that we'll be able to do something more engaging and fun for our next session next week and end our cca 'careers' with a memorable event! (At least until the post-exam overseas activities)

Friday, March 23, 2018

23 March 2018 - The end is close...

The second last session of Astronomy Club coming to a close.

As each minute passes, I am reminded once again that my time in the weekly Astronomy club meetings are running out. The opportunity to expand my knowledge of the cosmos and its counterparts is slowly diminishing, but that shouldn't stop my interest in this particular subject. From today onwards, I think I'll embark on new endeavours in to the cosmos soon.

Today for the meeting, we had the opportunity to learn about the more mathematical side of Astronomy - where all the calculations, theories and concepts belong to. What fascinated me the most was the usage of the term 'Astronomical unit' which depicts the distance between the Earth and The Sun as a measurement of distance (149597871km). It is simply mind blowing to observe the great and incomprehensible distances that exist in our universe, and in my opinion, further shows how tiny we really are in the universe, less than a mere singular Astronomical unit...

I close the session with a small sense of existential crisis. I hope we'll be able to do something more exciting next week!

Friday, February 23, 2018

23 Feb 2018 - Cosmology

Astronomy session discussion session coming to a close

Today is the 23 of February 2018, the day in which our wonderful juniors presented on possibly one of the saddest topics in our universe - its death. Through the presentation, we learned about the 3 plausible ways in which our universe may come to an end:

- The Big 'Rip'

-The Big 'Crunch'

-The Big 'Freeze'

At first thought, those 3 names sounded daunting, even considering that they were the names of how our very universe might die. The very thought of everything that ever existed - me, the writer of this blog post, you, the reader, all our loved ones and their worldly possessions, the very ground we currently stand on or even everything that you've seen from the moment you were born. All of it will 'die' someday. Cease to exist.

The 3 (current possible) ways in which our universe will 'die' are very distinct in the sense that they are not even of the same theory. For instance, The Big 'Rip' is a theory in which the pull of the Universe overwhelms the pull of Gravity itself, causing interstellar galaxies and structures to be completely torn apart, leaving only their measly atoms behind. This is in contrast to The Big 'Freeze', which is also known as heat death, which is the theory that the Universe will expand to such a great extent that it can no longer continue to do so - a maximum limit to its expansion, after which heat in the entire Universe will be evenly distributed. This leaves no room for any form of usable energy and thus the Universe will die of 'heat death'.

The Universe is truly a scary place to live in though it is the same place we would call home. Not to worry though, all of these theories are (again) only theorised to take effect trillions of years from now in a time period that may have already surpassed humankind and its existence. This only reinforces the fact that humans are only a mere speck of dust in our vast Universe in terms of duration of existence and physically.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday, 5 January 2018

Today marks the first Astronomy club session of 2018, the last year in which us Secondary 4 students will be able to participate in the club activities, at least until after O levels. Today, Mr Tan Hoe Teck shared with us some knowledge about how our club activities contribute to our LEAP 2.0 system points. He also shared with us the outlook for 2018 events.

Upon reflecting on this, I feel that my 3 years in Astronomy is quickly coming to an end, with the briefing of the NYAA point system by Mr Tan, I feel that the O levels are swiftly approaching and that I will miss all the times that I have participated with the club. The night stargazing sessions, bbq session (we had one in 2017) and the field trips to other schools to learn about our Universe.

The first Astronomy club session of 2018 coming to a close.

Cassini Essay Writing awards ceremony @ NUS School of computing

May 2017

The Cassini essay task was a very enriching experience as I was able to be exposed to real life astronomical events. In this case, it was to choose a suitable target for the Cassini satellite to discover and learn more about and relay the information back to us on Earth. I wrote an essay on why I believed that Titan should be the target and how it can help in humanitarian exploration of the universe.

Dr. Steven Platnick visiting SST