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    [–] What is currently being taught in schools that you believe is BS? Andromeda321 1 points ago in AskReddit

    Well educational research is a thing, so I feel fairly certain they wouldn’t have just thrown every student in America into learning this certain way if they hadn’t checked that out first!

    [–] Q&A thread- week of April 23 Andromeda321 1 points ago in Andromeda321

    Intro physics in undergrad does not necessarily assume much high school physics- I never did anything outside of kinematics in high school. That said, to be an astronomer you do need to know physics and calculus, so you would need to take those.

    If you want to just take an astronomy class, most departments do offer a non-calc based astronomy class you can take!

    [–] What are some great dystopian novels besides Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World, The Giver, and Fahrenheit 451? Andromeda321 1 points ago in AskReddit

    I’ve really enjoyed books recently by a writer named Ben Winters. In The Last Policeman, first of a trilogy, we discover a giant asteroid that will wipe out life on Earth and the book begins six months out from the impact. In Underground Airlines, he writes about an alternate universe in which the Civil War never happened and slavery still exists. A lot of the latter was downright disturbing and I think a lot about it still.

    [–] What is currently being taught in schools that you believe is BS? Andromeda321 3 points ago in AskReddit

    Astronomer here!

    I don’t get why people freak out about the common core way of teaching math. It’s basically what I and everyone else I know does to calculate with big sums, it’s just before it wasn’t explicitly taught.

    [–] Q&A thread- week of April 23 Andromeda321 2 points ago in Andromeda321

    Haha, beyond my mom you mean? :)

    Not to this level- I truly did just start this sub so I could put that "so you want to be an astronomer" post up there as people were asking me several times a week on how to be one. Then people started subscribing so I felt obliged to put some content here.

    The nice thing is you guys are a pretty chill fan club, so I don't need to worry if I'm busy at work and don't post for a week, nor do I worry about getting recognized on the street by weirdoes. So that's good!

    [–] TIL about the Oh-My-God Particle, a proton traveling at about 99.99999999999999999999951% the speed of light. It is the fastest moving object ever recorded and as it hit the atmosphere it carried the kinetic energy equivalent to a baseball traveling at 50MPH, all in one particle. Andromeda321 8 points ago in todayilearned

    Something like 99% of all cosmic rays are protons or other atomic nuclei, the remaining 1% are electrons IRC.

    The interesting thing is honestly we are still not sure what these ultra high energy cosmic rays are made of, and there is evidence that they are not in fact proton nuclei, but iron. This freaks people out a bit because explaining how you get an iron nucleus to these velocities is actually super difficult.

    [–] What are some places that are unconventional or non-mainstream that will become popularized in the near future? Andromeda321 2 points ago in travel

    Went to Namibia almost a decade ago, and it's certainly a wonderful country. Super safe, and pretty incredible bits of middle of nowhere, and Etosha is a wonderful spot for a safari.

    [–] Q&A thread- week of April 23 Andromeda321 2 points ago in Andromeda321

    Well Tesla is a terrible place to work, but there are more personal stories too. Stuff like how he fired an assistant of 12 years after she asked for a raise, and his relationships seem messed up.

    Full disclosure, that last link is written by his first wife after they divorced, and people who divorce are usually not being totally fair to the other person. But holy hell, I don't know about you but if my partner ever said even one or two of those things to me, I don't think we'd be in a relationship anymore.

    [–] TIL about the Oh-My-God Particle, a proton traveling at about 99.99999999999999999999951% the speed of light. It is the fastest moving object ever recorded and as it hit the atmosphere it carried the kinetic energy equivalent to a baseball traveling at 50MPH, all in one particle. Andromeda321 89 points ago in todayilearned

    Astronomer here! I actually worked on a cosmic ray observatory for my master's thesis, which is the sort of particle that detects these cosmic rays! Specifically, the one I worked on was the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. You don't detect the particle directly, but rather a cascade of particles it creates as it hits the upper atmosphere and interacts with particles on the way down. These are detectable via what's basically a giant water tank, and then based on the geometry of the particle shower and very precise timing you can work out the direction and energy of the particle (how you do that is more complex).

    The interesting thing is once you get to these ultra-high-energy cosmic rays like what was described in the article, you only see one of those per square kilometer every century. So in order to ever have a chance of getting enough of them to say something statistical about where they come from, the Pierre Auger Observatory built these giant water tanks spaced every kilometer... for the size of Rhode Island, or Luxembourg if you're European. With that, they see one UHECR every other month or so.

    Pretty cool experiment!

    [–] Q&A thread- week of April 23 Andromeda321 3 points ago in Andromeda321

    1) So hard to choose just one! But the first one that comes to my mind is that the stuff that makes us up and all the stars we see is just 10% of the total amount of matter in the universe (the rest being roughly 20% dark matter, and 70% dark energy). I think this one really amazes me because seriously now, the universe is so huge, and then we're going to say all the stuff we see is a tiny fraction?! Boggles the mind!

    2) I think Elon Musk has a pretty amazing PR department which is worth every penny he's paying them. This isn't to say I don't think SpaceX isn't doing cool stuff- on the contrary!- but rather that I find it a little disturbing just how much a huge fraction of the Internet hero worships him and how positively everything he says and thinks is covered. I've hung out long enough with very intelligent people to know that we are just people at the end of the day, and no one should be fawned over to that degree (besides which, sounds like he's a dick IRL, so it also makes no sense).

    3) Contact. :)

    4) JWST will be amazing, but damn, I wonder when it'll finally launch! And makes me nervous for how future projects will play out like WFIRST.

    [–] Milky Way over Deadvlei in Namibia Andromeda321 1 points ago in Astronomy

    Went to Swakopmund on my Namibia trip when we also went to Sossusvlei. Very cool but remote little town.

    I was there on what was the German heritage weekend or some such though, which involved all the Germans drinking on floats towed by pickup trucks pretending it was a "parade" through town. I also remember seeing some anti-Semetic t-shirts which really would have not been acceptable in modern-day Germany.

    [–] Milky Way over Deadvlei in Namibia Andromeda321 2 points ago in Astronomy

    Astronomer here! I've been there! :D During the day, it's more typically called Sossusvlei (the Afrikaans name for the area), had an amazing time touring the desert with a local guy who was the sort who was super enthusiastic and pointed out all these details you never would have noticed and things about how the bushmen used to live in the area. So, like me, if I was obsessed with the desert.

    Then we went to watch the sunset off the top of Dune 45, which was just wonderful. My recollection though is they close the park gates an hour after sunset/ open them an hour before, and you're not allowed to spend the night in there unless staying at the super expensive lodge inside the park gates. So I'm guessing that's what the photographer did.

    [–] OP plans party for her 10-year-old, gets 40 RSVPs but almost nobody shows up. Redditor asks her to get PO Box so s/he can send a card to the kid, and other Redditors from around the world promise to do the same. Andromeda321 6 points ago in bestof

    I would have been so mad if a kid did this to me. I had a brother and sister with birthdays the same week as me, so we were only ever allowed a tiny handful of friends at the inevitable joint birthday party else it would spiral out of control fast. Choosing one kid over another always sucked and I always invited another if one couldn’t make it.

    [–] What is a habbit you kept from growing up poor? Andromeda321 3 points ago in AskReddit

    Oh man, we had the Hungarian version of grah so much when I was a kid! We were never really poor when I was a kid, but it’s so delicious and really nothing better on a cold winter day if you find a really crusty bread.

    Granted, my parents grew up poor, so even though I’m not I recognize us doing several things in this thread growing up. My boyfriend is still amazed at how I can make dinner out of three ingredients or what have you.

    [–] Have you ever felt lost in your early 20s? How did you overcome it? Andromeda321 2 points ago in AskReddit

    For me, part of it was first realizing that everyone has that feeling. Just read this thread and see some proof of that! So ok, it’s part of the human condition- for me, that makes it easier because I’m not as hard on myself.

    Second, always have a goal- at least one short term (like, next few days- can be as simple as learning how to cook X and eating it), then at least one longer term (like, finish Y degree, save and plan a trip, whatever). The big issue with your 20s is realizing this is your life and it’s not like school where you always have the next grade level or something where things will be different. Things are only now different if you are going to make them that way.

    I hope some of this helps!

    [–] Population growth in this century will be dominated by Africa. Andromeda321 1 points ago in geography

    I also read once that if you ask women all around the world of all education levels/ societies, most only want 2-3 kids. Education also just gives women a say in their lives because they are not dependent on a guy (and then have access to birth control too).