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Emily Woltkamp

PHYS 1040
Van Ausdal
July 23, 2014
Astronomy Con!rsation
Astronomy is t"! study o# $!l!stial o%&!$ts, spa$!, and t"! p"ysi$al uni!rs! as a '"ol!(
)indin* t"r!! p!opl! to dis$uss t"is su%&!$t 'as a !ry %i* a$$omplis"m!nt in t"! #a$t t"at
no%ody r!ally kno's anyt"in* a%out astronomy( +o on! !!r looks up at t"! stars and t"inks
a%out "o' t"!y $am! to %!, or $ar!s !nou*" to look up t"! in#ormation( W! t!nd to &ust look up
at t"! stars and admir! t"!ir %!auty, %ut '"at !,a$tly ar! stars- Anot"!r t"ou*"t . 'ant!d to
dis$uss in my *roup 'as t"! id!a t"at Pluto "ad %!!n d!mot!d to a d'ar# plan!t in 200/, n!arly
00 y!ars a#t!r its dis$o!ry( A lot o# p!opl! '!r! tau*"t in s$"ool t"at Pluto 'as part o# our solar
syst!m as a plan!t %ut lat!r on it 'as dis$o!r!d t"at Pluto 'as not a plan!t a#t!r all(
. %rou*"t to*!t"!r my mom, my %oy#ri!nd St!!n and our #ri!nd 1im to s!! "o' mu$"
t"!y kn!' a%out t"!s! topi$s( W"!n d!$idin* '"o . 'ant!d in my *roup, . 'ant!d to mak! sur!
t"at t"!r! 'as an !2ual amount o# 'oman and m!n in t"! *roup( . also 'ant!d p!opl! o# di##!r!nt
a*!s to *i! a di##!r!nt p!rsp!$ti!( St!!n is t'!nty3#i!, my mom is #orty si,, and 1im is #i#ty
.t took m! a'"il! to #i*ur! out '"at sort o# topi$ . 'as *oin* to $"oos! to dis$uss %ut
a#t!r sp!ndin* t"! ni*"t $ampin* and lookin* up at t"! stars, . %!*an to 'ond!r!d "o' mu$"
anyon! kn!' a%out t"!s! #ir!#li!s in t"! sky( 4!#or! . 'ant!d to !,plain anyt"in* to my p!!rs, .
ask!d t"!m to !,plain to m! '"at t"!y t"ou*"t a star 'as( St!!n %!*an to say t"at stars ar! %a%y
suns t"at ar! !ry #ar a'ay( 5y mom !,plain!d t"at s"! "ad no id!a '"at stars ar! or '"!r! t"!y
$am! #rom( W"!n tryin* to 2u!stion "!r mor! on t"! matt!r, s"! 'asn6t to #ound o# dis$ussin*
"!r i!'s( 7n t"! ot"!r "and 1im kn!' a lot mor! t"an !!ry%ody !ls!( H! %!*an to t!ll m! t"at
a star is a sp"!r! o# plasma and t"at t"! sun is in #a$t t"! $los!st star to t"! !art"(
8urin* t"is $on!rsation . noti$!d t"at as #ar as my mom and . '!nt, '! didn6t r!ally
kno' a lot a%out spa$! and "o' !!ryt"in* $am! to %!( 1"! t'o m!n on t"! ot"!r "and, kn!'
almost !,a$tly '"at a star 'as( .t mad! m! 'ond!r i# t"is tru! in ot"!r situations as '!ll(
A#t!r talkin* %ri!#ly a%out t"! stars, . 'ant!d to mo! on to a di##!r!nt topi$ and talk
a%out Pluto( W"!n my mom and 1im '!r! in s$"ool, t"!y '!r! tau*"t a%out "o' Pluto 'as a
plan!t and '"!n astronom!rs $am! out t"at it 'as no lon*!r on!, t"!y "ad a !ry di##i$ult tim!
$"an*in* t"at id!a( 1"!y still look at Pluto lik! a plan!t and !!ry tim! '! talk!d a%out t"!
plan!ts, t"!y al'ays nam!d it as on!( E!n . 'as tau*"t in El!m!ntary s$"ool t"at Pluto 'as a
plan!t %ut it "as %!!n a lot !asi!r #or m! to $"an*! t"at id!a in my mind(
A#t!r dis$ussin* t"is topi$, no on! $ould t!ll m! '"at a d'ar# plan!t !!n 'as or "!ard
a%out on!( A d'ar# plan!t is t"! sam! si9! as a plan!t %ut is n!it"!r a plan!t or a moon and is a
$!l!stial %ody in dir!$t or%it o# t"! sun( .t is massi! !nou*" to %! $ontroll!d %y *raity %ut "as
not y!t $l!ar!d its or%it( 1"!r! ar! only #i! d'ar# plan!ts t"at ar! r!$o*ni9!d and t"!y ar! C!r!s,
Pluto, Haum!a, 5ak!mak! and Eris( 7ut o# t"! #i! '! $ould only t"ink o# on!, Pluto( Alt"ou*"
Pluto 'as $"an*!d into a d'ar# plan!t no on! $ould truly #i*ur! out '"y it "ad %!!n $"an*!d in
t"! #irst pla$!( 7n$! it 'as $onsid!r!d a plan!t, all o# us #!lt t"at it s"ould "a! stay!d a plan!t(
7!rall . #!!l lik! t"! p!!rs in my *roup almost #!lt %or!d 'it" t"is dis$ussion( . %!li!!
t"at a lot o# t"! $on!rsation 'as %uilt on assumptions rat"!r t"an int!ll!$tual ans'!rs( A lot o#
t"is "as to do 'it" t"! #a$t t"at astronomy is not r!2uir!d in "i*" s$"ool and in $oll!*!, it is
o##!r!d as an option( W! may r!ad a%out Pluto or t"! stars in t"! n!'spap!r %ut usually you don6t
!!r "!ar a%out astronomy on t"! n!'s unl!ss its som!t"in* t"at is *oin* to mak! a "u*! !##!$t
on so$i!ty( W! kn!' t"at Pluto 'as $"an*!d to a d'ar# plan!t %ut '! didn6t kno' '"y or '"at a
d'ar# plan!t !!n 'as(
.# . '!r! to do t"is assi*nm!nt di##!r!ntly . 'ould $"oos! di##!r!nt topi$s t"at '!r! not so
'!ll kno' %y p!opl!( 1"in*s t"at '!r! important in astronomy and "ad a "u*! !##!$t on p!opl!(
1"in*s lik!, t"! #irst tim! '! st!pp!d on a moon or i# anyon! %!li!!d in :)7s( 1opi$s lik! t"!s!
'ould %rin* on a $on!rsation t"at 'ould last #or "ours( .t 'ould %! !ry int!r!stin* to "!ar t"!
di##!r!nt i!'s and %!li!#s o# ot"!rs(
Works Cit!d;
Pal!n, <ay, Smit", 4lum!nt"al( Understanding our Universe. +!' York, +(Y(( +orton and
Company( =2012>( Print(