Essays on Current Events in Astronomy Coursework

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The paper “ Current Events in Astronomy” is a useful example of finance & accounting coursework. Goldman’ s article reports about the encounter of the Pluto-bound spacecraft New Horizons with the planet Jupiter and the serendipitous discoveries made during the event. The flyby occurred in February and the main goal was to get a speed boost to propel the NASA spacecraft into the outer solar system (Goldman, 2007). New Horizons utilized Jupiter’ s gravity to increase its speed by 4 kilometers per second or 51,000 miles per hour, a maneuver that shall hopefully enable the spacecraft to reach Pluto by the year 2015 (Goldman, 2007).

NASA scientists also took the opportunity to test the craft’ s instruments by using them to make observations about Jupiter and its satellites. NASA released several images taken during the flyby shortly after it occurred, and planetary scientists revealed further details about the event in a press conference wherein emphasis was put on the fortuitous findings made during the event. One of these “ lucky” occurrences was the eruption of the Tvashtar volcano on the moon Io. The volcano is located near Io’ s northern pole, which enabled the high plume of pyroclastic matter to be visible during the flyby.

New Horizons was also able to capture images of a number of erupting volcanoes as well as several hotspots. A region, in particular, was hailed as a “ mystery volcano” due to images showing incandescent lava, although there are no known volcanoes in the area. Also, another image showed “ gas in Io’ s atmosphere set aglow by interactions with Jupiter’ s magnetic field” (Goldman, 2007). The planetary scientists of NASA also thanked their lucky stars for the course taken by New Horizons which took it down Jupiter’ s magnetotail (i. e.

“ the wake of the planet’ s magnetosphere as it’ s pushed back by the solar wind” ), an area no spacecraft has ever explored (Goldman, 2007). Scientists expect New Horizons to continue collecting data from this region for the next three months. New Horizons also observed occurrences in Jupiter’ s atmosphere. The spacecraft turned its camera lenses to the Great Red Spot, as well as the newly-discovered Small Red Spot. Through infrared light, the spacecraft was able to observe ammonia emanating from the Great Red Spot.

According to scientists, New Horizons is the first spacecraft to examine an “ infant red storm system” (Goldman, 2007). According to the article, the Pluto-bound spacecraft has provided the astronomical world with at least 700 observations, far more than what scientists expected it to gather from Pluto and its three satellites. It will continue to transmit data, as only 70% of the information it has recorded has been sent back to Earth. Critical EvaluationAfter reading the article, I can say that the author did a good job of describing the scientific importance of the topic for a non-expert audience.

He was also able to make the topic seem exciting. The author made sure to emphasize the importance of the Jupiter flyby and the New Horizons mission, and did so in such a way as to arouse the interest of both expert and non-expert audiences. I was able to understand the article because the author made use of straightforward language and wrote in a clear and concise way. He provided only the necessary information and left out facts that may only baffle those who are not familiar with astronomical terms and concepts.

All astronomical jargon was explained. Astronomical terms such as magnetotail (i. e. “ the wake of the planet’ s magnetosphere as it’ s pushed back by solar wind” ) which might be unfamiliar to those with no background knowledge in astronomy were briefly but clearly defined (Goldman, 2007). The article in itself was brief but comprehensive. The crucial facts and figures were presented, and experts on the topic were consulted and quoted. I found the article interesting because it was written in such a way that incites the curiosity of the reader.

The author provided details (e. g. the speed of the spacecraft, the new discoveries made) that contributed to the interest factor of the topic, and he wrote the article in such a way that even those who are not in the field of astronomy or those not studying it will realize the importance of the topic and the benefits of the event described to the arena of astronomy. My work in Astro10 has helped me understand the article because it has provided me with a basic understanding of astronomy, thus allowing me to better understand the article and better realize the importance of the topic.

I think that the article would still be understandable to someone who has not taken Astro10 or a similar course because the article was well-written and caters to both expert and non-expert readers. The article inspired me to research this topic in other sources as well as keep my eye out for follow-up stories. However, I do not know if this is due to the author’ s competence in reporting the facts or because the topic is simply very interesting.

According to the article, scientists are still waiting for more data to be transmitted from New Horizons and I shall surely keep my eye out for further developments in the New Horizons mission, as well as any new discoveries it might make in its journey through outer space. SuggestionI found the article to be well-written and very interesting, but I do have one suggestion. The author should have included more details (i. e. facts and figures) regarding the topic. These would increase reader interest, as well as provide scholarly information for those studying the topic.



Goldman, S.J. 2007. New Horizons at Jupiter, Sky & Telescope Magazine, 3 May 2007. Retrieved on 8 May 2007 from

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