My Experiences


– From June 24, 2012 to July 21, 2012, I attended the California Summer Camp for Mathematics and Science at UCI, learning about the details of astronomy and astrophysics.

  • Part 1
    • (July 23, 2012)
      • Me, a Member of Cluster 2: Astronomy and Astrophysics
      • My Project: “Determining Stars’ Properties Using Stellar Spectra”
  • Part 2
    • (July 24, 2012)
      • UCI Observatory: 24-inch and 8-inch telescope

How It All Began: “To Infinity and Beyond!”

From a General Astronomy course at Irvine Valley College, I learned interesting facts about stars’ composition, planets’ orbits, and astronomers’ discoveries. For instance, Venus and Uranus have retrograde orbits and the sun has a sunspot cycle in which every eleven years the sun has a maximum number of sunspots and solar flares. I observed the summer triangle, Saturn’s rings, the Big Dipper, and binary stars. To fulfill my curiosity, I discovered NOVA’s “The Fabric of the Cosmos”, read articles on NASA’s upcoming missions in the Astronomy magazine, and visited the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Furthermore, I enjoy viewing the night sky (usually the moon and Jupiter) from my own telescope and binoculars. Up close and personal, the planets and the moon look magnificent and daunting.

From an early age, my parents — my mom, a medicinal chemist and my dad, a civil engineer — exposed me to math and science. From museums to books, I know science and math are dynamic subjects that unite mankind. Science is applicable to everything in this universe — deep in the galaxies to the blazing sun. The theories and databases in science are never finite; scientists constantly add exciting information to books and scientific journals with new discoveries. Science is exciting because scientists never know what they are going to uncover next. It could be an ancient species of a plant or even a trapped mummy in an Egyptian pyramid. Nothing is like experiencing the world by participating in lab experiments, field work, and analyzing results with the never-ending cycle of hypotheses, data, and conclusions. Just one spark of imagination and curiosity is enough to plunge into the next scientific journey. Without science, the world would be chaotic and primeval.

During the day, I focus on Earth and the tangible, but at night, my mind travels where my body cannot, into uncharted territory. I remember witnessing a lunar eclipse in New York City, as the night swallowed the moon and as the moon reemerged surrounded by clouds. Amazed by the spectacle and by the turnout of spectators, I discovered the study of stars, planets, satellites, and the cosmos ― astronomy.

~ Tianjia Liu, 2012 ~


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