Did you know that there are more planets than stars in our galaxy? While eight planets orbit our sun, NASA has confirmed that more than 5200 exoplanets exist beyond our solar system. Scientists, driven by a quest for knowledge, are still discovering a lot about the universe; they have only scratched the surface.
Motivated by curiosity, Astronomy Club members meet every Tuesday after school to discuss concepts and theories beyond those they learn in the classroom.
"[Astronomy] is an area of science that we don't have a lot of exposure to in school, and it's something that intrigues a lot of people," said Ingerlis A., one of the club's three leaders. "There's always this wonderment about what is space, what is in space, and how do we reach it. And I think that's where our passion stems from."
Astronomy Club meetings begin with the "Astro News," during which club leaders present the latest findings in the field of astronomy. Then, through engaging lectures and activities, leaders share information on astronomical topics, including quantum mechanics, Hawking radiation, and the possibility of harnessing energy from a black hole. Members dive into discussions throughout the meeting, sharing opinions and insights and posing questions to the group. At the end, they test their knowledge with a Kahoot game.
Seniors Ingerlis A., Sofia R., and Rafael D. have led the club since their sophomore year. Their goal is to create an environment in which members are encouraged to explore new aspects of astronomy and raise questions.
"I want to inspire people to be curious," said Sofia R. "I want people to understand that it's okay to ask questions because it can be really engaging and fulfilling.”
Deeper Learning Coordinator Keane Nacional, who serves as club advisor, said students can travel through time when studying astronomy.
"The knowledge of basic astronomical principles gives us a meaningful insight about how we are situated in the universe,” he asserted. "At first, it might feel paralyzing to see oneself as a ‘speck of dust,’ as Sagan says. Eventually, that knowledge becomes liberating because it can help us truly understand perspective-taking.”
The Astronomy Club welcomes all curious minds. In addition to their weekly meetings, club members are planning a visit to a local observatory.
"Our purpose is to teach other students about astronomy and to try to enlighten them about what's going on right above our heads," said Rafael D.