Western Slope Skies - Through Young Eyes
The future of astronomy research and indeed our own planet Earth is in the hands of our young, budding scientists.
Most amateur and professional astronomers share a similar story – having been hooked on astronomy at an early age by the sight of Saturn and its rings, or another celestial object through a telescope. And many of those young people have gone on to become today’s astrophysicists and space explorers.
Encouraging interest in astronomy fosters future scientists from the Western Slope.
So, what’s in the minds of our young Western Slope would-be astronomers?
Seven-and-a-half-year-old Dos Rios Elementary student Amy lives up to her surname – Wise. She has been interested in astronomy and other types of science since the age of five. Photos of space from the Hubble Space Telescope ignited her love of astronomy.
Amy has just become the youngest member of the Western Colorado Astronomy Club. She and her father attend meetings and in just one week she participated in not just one, but two programs on the lofty topic of gravitational waves!
“I learn about the universe by watching shows like Nova. Some of my favorite episodes have been about the structure of the Milky Way and about Sagittarius A*, our galaxy’s black hole. I also enjoy episodes about the planets.”
And how does listening to Western Slope Skies on the radio help you learn more about astronomy?
“I really like Western Slope Skies. I have listened to many episodes. They are really informative and cool. They are quite understandable for young people wanting to learn about astronomy.”
As for what Amy does relating to astronomy short term….
“My favorite astronomy experience is looking at night sky objects through telescopes. I have a reflector telescope and like to look at Venus and Saturn. My favorite object in the night sky is the Orion Nebula.
I visited Grand Mesa Observatory and want to visit the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City. I want to participate in stargazing events and get a chance to look at new things in the telescopes like galaxies. I draw pictures of the Milky Way and other space objects and someday I want to take photos of astronomical objects. And I am really excited about viewing Mars later this year”
And as for Amy’s longer-term plans….
“I would like to go into space and get to run a space station on the Moon. I maybe would like to be an astrophysicist and find out what dark matter and dark energy are. The universe is like the ocean – so little of it is explored. I want to help Earth have a good and safe future.”
Amy often tells friends and other young people about astronomy and would like to someday do a program about astronomy at school.
What advice does Amy have for other young people?
“Maybe when you grow up you can be an astrophysicist or another type of astronomer.”
Why does Amy love astronomy?
“I love astronomy because the universe is mysterious. But if we learn more about the universe, we can make a better future for Earth.”
When asked whether she would rather go to the Moon or Mars Amy ambitiously answered –
Western Slope Skies is produced by members of the Black Canyon Astronomical Society. This episode was written and recorded by Nancy McGuire and Amy Wise.