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Astronomy in Daily Life

          Imagine a world where the world was never blessed with the knowledge of astronomy. How would that, in turn, affect how people go about their lives? Would the difference between these two worlds be completely black and white, or would nothing have changed at all? Would the stars and the planets be an anomaly to the human world? How important IS astronomy in our lives? Let’s find out.

Some of the Ways Astronomy Has Helped Us
  • WiFi was greatly improved by a scientist trying to improve radio-telescope images.

    • Through the understanding of radio interferometry in using multiple radio dishes spread out for a higher quality radio-telescopic image, this was applied to WiFi in which instead of a single radio wave of information, the information was instead spread across a radio band, allowing for quicker transmissions and more room for error.

  • Satellites are used to help farmers decide when to irrigate and harvest crops.

  • Satellites are used to help predict the weather.

  • Satellites are used for the GPS (Global Positioning System).

    • Satellites have a wide range of effects on life on Earth. Since satellites are placed at such a high altitude above space (~22,500 miles), it can use radiometers to scan the Earth and in turn create images. These images are then used to help predict the weather. 

    • Additionally, satellites are also an essential part of how a GPS works. Navigation satellites are constantly circling Earth and sending out signals which GPS receivers on your phone can listen to. Once the receiver uses the signals to calculate the distance from four or more GPS satellites, it can then deduce where you are.

  • Aperture Synthesis was an imaging technique that originated to help astronomers see more and is now also used for CT/CAT scans.˛

    • Using the same method of interferometry that Aperture synthesis uses, CT/CAT scans are able to use X-ray measurements from different angles to pinpoint areas of an object without the use of physically getting into them, potentially wasting resources. 

  • Observation of the sun helped us to create nuclear power.

    • By learning how the sun converts hydrogen into helium then converts its mass into energy, also known as nuclear fission, scientists used this knowledge to create their own nuclear energy by which atoms are split to form smaller atoms while releasing large amounts of energy.

  • Memory foam was invented by NASA for the Apollo Programs.

    • In the 1970s, NASA was contracted to improve the comfortability and safety of seatings for airline seating use, finding its way to more popular commercial applications in mattresses and pillows.

          The journey astronomers take to understanding our universe not only furthers our knowledge of this vast world but brings with its inventions and innovations which yield a plethora of applications outside of astronomy. For instance, in the pursuit of looking further into what our universe looked like, astronomers created aperture synthesis whose methods were applied in the medical field through the CT/CAT scan. Similarly, they have used satellites to view the world and help humans better understand what is to come. For example, one has the ability to understand and predict the earth’s changing weather. Each of these has some sort of vital concept or component that, in and of itself, has origins within astronomy. Without the help of astronomy, humans would find themselves swimming in a much larger sea of the uncharted.

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