Math to the stars and beyond...
Hello, here I am broadcasting live from Minnesota State University, and sitting by my side is astronomer Dr. Steve Kipp.
<------ Dr. Kipp
Q. Many people think that astronomers study only planets using no math. Is that at all true?
A. No, we study mainly stars and use LOTS of math!
Q. Where do you primarily use math in your job?
A. We use it everywhere! We use it in physical laws.
Q. What are some of the main pieces of equipment you use?
A. Optical telescope, computer, and a calculator.
Q. Where do you do your work?
A. In my office and at the observatory.
Q. As an astronomer, what can you find out using math?
A. I can find the position of stars to determine how the position changes with time.
Q. People notice you have a column in the Mankato newspaper. What tools do you use to calculate the things you publish?
A. I use a computer (Mac) program called Voyager II to determine the positions of stars and planets. I also use another program to determine satellite's position.
Q. Is a lot of your job observing through telescopes like some think?
A. Less than half because you can use a computer.
Q. What do you like best about your job?
A. I love playing with numbers. It's a lot of fun!
<-- Us using Voyager II
OTHER NOTES ABOUT ASTRONOMERS:
Uses physical laws to determine movement of stars.
Uses trigonometry to determine latitude, longitude of stars using sines and cosines.
Click here to view the Astronomical Journal, written in 1978 by Dr. Kipp and colleagues.