Space sciences are one of the most fascinating among young science enthusiasts. Being top choices for sci-fi movies, they are prevalent among people. But the reality isn’t as fascinating as it seems. Space science is divided into various kinds, like astrophysics, astronomy, space weather, astrobiology, et cetera. These are further divided into other categories. Most students like space science just for the fantasy the movies create and the visuals offered by movies and YouTube videos. Space sciences involve profound and challenging studies, and a lot of patience and brilliance are expected from students. We have various blogs explaining what some of these fields are and what path to follow. But if you are in high school and aspire to become an astronomer, this blog is definitely for you.
In this blog, we will discuss:
- Things to do in school
- Exams to prepare for
Things to do in school
School is the best place to start your journey to the stars. Let’s tell you a story of a young boy, Aman. Aman, a student in 6th grade, hears ‘astronomy’ for the first time. He learns about Black Holes from his elder sister. His interest starts growing in space sciences, and he gets very inquisitive about space. Slowly, he starts watching sci-fi movies and documentaries and searching on the internet about space sciences. He loves watching spacecraft launches and dreams of being involved in such missions in future. This might be a fictional story but a relatable one for most of you. Many students are curious about astronomy and astrophysics. Astronomy and astrophysics are the most popular branches of the space sciences. But there are many other fields too. Most of those fields would be very unfamiliar to you.
Undoubtedly, the only way to do astronomy or prepare for a career in astronomy after 10th grade is to opt for the Science stream (Mathematics) and pursue your bachelor in science or engineering from a good institute. We have a detailed blog on what you can do if you are dedicated to becoming an astronomer after 12th grade. This blog will explain various things you can involve yourself in to learn astronomy or space sciences.
Every day, new concepts are added to astronomy. You must have a habit of updating yourself with recent developments. You are not expected to understand the physics behind them, but you must know the basic principles. You should have a firm grip on the concepts of Physics and Mathematics. You can read various books to develop your interest and learn about various topics in these fields. Some of them are “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil deGrace Tyson, “Cosmos” by Carl Segan, etc. You can’t expect to learn about astronomy in school, so believe in self-studying. Start by knowing the scale of measurements and getting an idea of how big the universe is and how small we are at that scale. Learn about astronomical events like eclipses, solar storms, supernovae, etc. Learn about the sun, solar system, Kuiper Belt, Centauri star system, Milky Way galaxy, Andromeda galaxy, and many similar things. Once you start studying these things, you will always remain updated.
You can try various Olympiads or international Mathematics, science, and Astronomy competitions. Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF) conducts various competitions in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics. International Young Physicist Tournament (IYPT) is another such organisation which is renowned for organising such competitions.These competitions are very competitive, and you will get a chance to test your knowledge and concepts. Along with physics and mathematics, computational knowledge is also essential. Nowadays, most of the work is done on computers and involves heavy software and programming languages. You can start by learning Python.
Try to look for stars, comets, planets, and other deep-sky objects at night using some software or applications. Stellarium and Sky Safari are the two most popular applications. Stargazing will make you more curious about space and drive your brain to gain more knowledge. You can also join a club in your locality or even start your own. Using telescopes, you can see different worlds that remain hidden due to the limitations of our eyes. Astrophotography is also an exciting field. Let us know in the comment section if you want to know more about it.
- SPACE EVENTS:
Many space agencies, like NASA, ISRO, or ESA, conduct various events for the general public to inform them of their upcoming projects and to make them interested in space sciences. Try participating in various open challenges organized by associated organizations and space agencies. This will improve your problem-solving skills. Some of their challenges directly relate to a specific problem in their upcoming projects. For example, a few years ago, NASA organised a Lunar Loo challenge in which participants had to send effective designs of toilets. Later, the winning entries were used in actual spacecraft toilets.
- ISRO OUTREACH EVENTS:
You can do a few volunteer work in their outreach/education programs. The outreach programs are usually a visit to an ISRO facility or a planetarium where the scientists and engineers explain various concepts and the projects they are currently working on. Some outreach exhibits multiple cutting-edge technologies, like aircraft engines, advanced space suits, or small-scale satellites. You need to watch their website to remain notified of the programs. ISRO also offers some open courses on remote sensing and other similar topics but they might be of a greater level than yours.
Exams to Prepare
At this level, you should only focus on learning and exploring various fields in the space sciences. Apart from the Olympiads, you cannot prepare for many examinations at this level. Remember that astronomy is about passion, not a government job. You should only focus on developing your skills. It’s also necessary to enhance your coding skills. Coding tutorials are free on YouTube, and you can learn a lot. Learning coding at a young age will prove advantageous at a later stage.
We already have a blog with all the detailed information related to astronomy. You can check it out here.
Astronomy is all about passion and enthusiasm. It requires a lot of effort, time, and dedication. You need to master many things before you can do research in astronomy. And to keep igniting the curiosity flame, you need to be involved in related events and study hard. So, it is better to only focus on the present and enjoy whatever you learn in your favourite field. Space scientists study the whole cosmos and understand how small we are. There is no place for ego in their minds. You should read literature about various scientists to get to understand them better. If you want to know how to get into NASA or ISRO after undergraduate, click here.
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