Eugen Krüger (1832-1876), Stag
These photos are shadowgraphs of a hydrogen flame exploding inside a balloon. The shadowgraph optical technique highlights density and temperature variations through their effect on a fluid’s refractive index. Here we see that the hydrogen flame has a strong cellular structure and is more turbulent than a methane flame. The cellular structure is a sign of an instability in the curved flame front. The instability and accompanying cellular appearance are a result of the complicated transport and reaction of fuel and oxidizer inside the flame. (Photo credits: P. Julien et al.)
Anonymous asked: So, is there ever a wrong time to drink tea?
strawberrydykeri asked: Hi Carrots. I have a question that need some guidance on. I've decided that culinary arts isn't my favorite thing, so I'm pursuing an education in astronomy. I was wondering if you could tell me anything I need to be aware of before I commit to an education like that? I adore everything about space, but I thought I would ask about your experiences before I make any concrete decisions. Thank you!
this is a pretty tough question (and a super long answer, i’m sorry)! i want to encourage you A LOT, because astronomy is fuckin awesome and you learn SO many cool things about the universe, and not enough people appreciate the scientific side of space. (also, if you’re a girl, you’d be helping to fill a huge gender gap in the community!)
but there are a few caveats. first, there is SO MUCH MATH. math that you like, APPLY to stuff! at the calculus level, math actually gets really interesting, but also tough, even if you like it! my partner had classes with several people who left the astronomy program after getting to the math requirements, because it “wasn’t what they expected.” i personally had to take several math classes more than once in order to pass them. (thankfully, i was at a community college at the time, where it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg to do so.) though my concentration is “astrophysics,” my bachelor’s degree, nominally, is in physics. so keep in mind: MATH.
the next thing is, the job market is not super good. there are options, even REALLY cool ones, but you have to be super motivated (i.e. have no life and kiss many butts) and also have at least a master’s degree, most times a full doctorate, to get them. most astronomers work and do research at universities, sometimes going from postdoc to postdoc position for like ten years before finding something stable with benefits. planetarium job listings are sometimes even just a formality, and they already know who they’re going to hire because so-and-so knew what’s-their-name. if you live in the US, there are lots of opportunities through govt organizations like NASA, though, if you’re interested in that! you can even get internships and stuff as an undergraduate, which is neat.
which brings me to the next thing: it’s MEGA IMPORTANT to do research as an undergraduate. people did not tell us this at our university. i knew about it when i transferred in, and started looking for a professor to work with almost immediately, but most of the other students said the first time they heard about how valuable research was, it was almost too late to start working with someone. it is so valuable, though! not only does it teach you real-world research skills, jargon, tools of the field, and how to write up your work, but if it leads to publication of any kind, that looks fantastic on graduate program applications. the world of academic scientific astronomy, as stupid as it is, revolves around publications. how many publications you’ve made and how many times they’ve been cited by others is like a dick measuring contest when you’re looking for a job, it’s so dumb.
but!! research is really interesting in and of itself, too! even just within the narrow field of astronomy, there are a lot of different types of work. you could be interested in cataloging types of stars, or figuring out what you can learn from galactic dust, or looking for black holes, or designing new infrared instruments, or operating telescopes, or running planetarium shows (some universities have planetariums where you can work as a student!), and each different thing has a bunch of jargon and programs and skills that are unique to that area. seriously man, people who work in stuff that is barely different from what i do use VASTLY different programs that i wouldn’t even be able to read, let alone use. getting a headstart on familiarizing yourself with that stuff is a really good idea. and it’s best to start early, during maybe your second year of undergraduate classes, so you can switch to another area if you find that you like what a different professor does better. also, if someone you REALLY want to work with tells you they don’t have room on their research team at the time, tell them that you’re really passionate about it, and ask them to contact you when their next undergraduate moves on (someone will graduate and leave, etc).
being passionate about it is definitely valuable. going for astronomy is a tough move (and probably pretty scary after everything i’ve said), but really loving it will carry you a long way! i’m sorry that i can’t say a lot more positive things about the general climate of the scientific community. but honestly, we do need more young people in it, to help make it less elitist and more accessible to both new students and the public. one of the most frustrating things for me has been to learn so much about how cool the universe is and then find out how little 98% of the world cares about it and how assiduously the academic 2% shroud it in unparsable linguistic bullshit. so maybe be prepared to confront that, haha.
i’m assuming you’re considering this because you already have a love for astronomy and know the things about it that are cool, and i honestly don’t mean for any of this to say “don’t do it,” but this is all stuff that we didn’t know going into it that i wish we had. if you have other questions, please feel free to ask. i hope this helps! c:
"One and only means more to us."
DirkKat for astraliminal’s birthday, because this is the part of the pairing that always hits me hardest when I think about it. I didn’t mean to go overkill but I started sketching and this happened. TuT Hope you like it, dear! Happy birthday!
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