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Cosmology: The Wonders of the Universe and its Origins

Cosmology is a very unique topic in the field of STEM. When most people hear the word astronomy, they likely think about engineering, extremely complicated physics or large space missions. However, cosmology is different. It involves the study of stars and planets to gather information about our universe, and its applications are distinctly dissimilar to those used in conventional astronomy. Cosmologists typically work hard to analyze the properties of space bodies, create new theories about black holes and search for planets similar to Earth in the hopes of finding alien life.


Alien life is one of the most hotly debated topics around today (when you take out more emotionally charged political issues). We haven’t found concrete evidence of an established alien civilization, and we probably won’t anytime soon.


For context, the nearest star outside of our solar system, Alpha Centauri, is about four light years away. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, but we travel much slower due to our limitations in speed; it would take us about 10,000 years to reach the star using our current spacefaring technologies. Furthermore, light takes time to travel from an object to our eyes, so when something is 1,000 light years away, we are seeing it as it was 1,000 years ago. It is impossible to see these distant bodies as they are now; for all we know, they could be vastly different from how we see them today.


Black holes are another hot topic these days. Black holes are dead stars that have formed into an extremely dense point of matter that swallows everything in its orbit. According to our current knowledge, black holes can only pull matter into them; we don’t know what’s on the other side. They are formed when a massive star goes supernova and eventually collapses in on itself. They are incredibly dense, which causes the ridiculously high forces they exert to pull in everything - even light. Scientists haven't been able to fully study them, however, because you can’t see past their event horizon. The event horizon is a boundary that once crossed, cannot be returned from due to its incredibly high gravitational force.


Cosmology is vastly interesting. Here, I've barely skimmed the surface. In reality, scientists barely know anything about black holes, and they only got their first image of one three years ago. Also, they barely know anything about alien life, which could be the key to surviving and advancing as a civilization in years to come. 


Maybe we should give more priority to cosmological projects. More government funding? It's so hard to step outside ourselves, our 'now' and all its political turmoil, to take in the beauty and mystery of, well, everything. 


Is that something you value?


Sources


“If the Universe Formed from Nothing, Who Created the Nothing?” YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPEmBzlSU2I&t=2064s.  Accessed 24 Sept. 2022.

Shu, Frank H. “Cosmology | Definition & Facts.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 18 Jan. 2019, www.britannica.com/science/cosmology-astronomy

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