Journey of the Universe Journal #2

When I was younger, one of my favorite things to do was lay on my trampoline in the backyard and look at the stars. Even though I was not at all interested in science at this time, I always had a natural fascination for the stars. During my freshman year of high school, I took a space science class. I was anxious to learn about everything in the sky, but we ended up watching many boring and thoughtless movies instead. This class, specifically this book, has re-sparked the fascination for the stars in my life.

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently.” -Bill Watterson

Out of all the things in space, the birth and death of stars is the most interesting to me. It seems impossible that a cloud of hydrogen and helium has the capacity of becoming a magnificent glowing ball of light that we call stars.

During my time spent on these two chapters, I can almost see myself as a type of a star. When I arrived at college, my hydrogen and helium began to melt and fuse together and now I am approaching a time where I will shine brilliantly. The denatured atoms symbolize my life experiences which got all mixed up amidst the changes and challenges of beginning college, but everything will eventually find a way to sort itself out and I will be able to once again shine like a star.

The language that the authors use to describe the creation and destruction of stars in beautiful. Reading these two chapters had me pondering the activities of stars long after I put the book down, and again here in this journal.

The second chapter begins to explore the birth of solar systems, and their journey after birth. Although I really enjoyed learning about the stars, I was also extremely fascinated with the birth of the solar system. A question that continuously crosses my mind when thinking about the beginning of the universe is what triggered the initial expansion of the tiny ball of dense matter that was once the universe? How did all of the matter in our universe once fit into the size of a grain of sand? That seems like it would be impossible, and I am not so sure that I believe it myself.

Eventually, all of this matter released from the explosion clumped together into what we know today as planets. It is hard to comprehend that everything that we know today once started out in that little ball of energy. Today, Earth remains in a partially molten state, while the other inner planets have solidified. It makes me wonder if life would have risen out of any of the other planets had their properties been more similar to Earth, and how that would change things in the world today. Like I have said before, as I read this book is seems like it creates more questions than answers provided, but regardless I genuinely enjoy it.