Looking to the stars: Harrisites on astronomy

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One night, the moon shone a deep crimson, larger and brighter than usual. This natural phenomenon, known as the Supermoon, occurs when the moon reaches its full phase at its closest point to Earth, as it did this past October, stunning those observing it from Earth.

To a large portion of the student body, the Supermoon needs no explanation; many students enjoy and study the science of celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole.

Students are able to incorporate astronomy into their schedule through a variety of classes, such as the Advanced Topics in Science elective, the Astronomy elective at Queens College, or through Science Olympiad, an extracurricular activity.

Physics teacher Mr. Joshua Raghunath commented, “There are certain celebrity physicists that bring astronomy into the limelight, namely Neil deGrasse Tyson—and because of that, I think it generates a lot of interest in the students that come to the school. If we were to offer [an astronomy] class, I think many of them would want to take it.”

Senior Abdoulaye Diallo studied astronomy in both Science Olympiad and Advanced Topics in Science. He was satisfied with the depth of exploration in the class.

“The unit furthered my interest in astronomy by letting me examine certain aspects of it that I never really examined before. I knew that pulsars, in specific, existed but the unit let me [delve] further into the topic,” he reflected.

Junior Mitchell Mu agreed with the positive experience and shared, “I loved studying astronomy [in Advanced Topics in Science].

“It isn’t really ‘studying’ if you are getting to know more about something you love,” he added.

Senior Ariane Marchese, who plans to major in astronomy when she goes to college, stated, “Astronomy is generally a subject that will always have so many questions that need to be answered and secrets waiting to be found.”

Ariane is also enrolled in the Astronomy elective at Queens College. “I really like [the elective] since it’s straightforward and gives me basic astronomical knowledge,” she remarked.

In accordance with her passions, Ariane attended the NSF NASA Summer Internship at the Queensborough Community College over the summer, where she took an interest in solar activity.

Ariane concluded, “it’s fascinating to think of all the other things that lay in space.”