Astronomy goes infinity and beyond

galaxy

Artwork courtesy of Eugine Chung / The Plaid Press

By Heavyn Hilton

Recently astronomy students in science teacher Mel Zernow’s class have been asked to expand their horizons to the extraterrestrial. Zernow has his students complete an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) project.

The UFO project requires students to film seven minute videos of a UFO interaction, whether that be just witnessing the fictional spacecraft in the sky or making physical contact with an alien.

Students remain free to choose the time, place, and form of their videos. The class has discussed a variety of topics in regards to the universe and how to incorporate those ideas into their videos.

With previous knowledge of how the universe came into existence, some students are looking at a more ancient alien spacecraft design.

“I’m really excited for this project because it concerns questioning and analyzing a topic that is still a mystery in America’s history,” senior Shelby Gil said.

Throughout America’s history, there have been thousands of reported UFO sightings, and no two stories have ever been alike.

With this information in mind, students have a huge variety of options to choose from  in regards to their UFO encounter.

Zernow has allowed the students to illustrate this encounter as long as it remains school appropriate.

For example, the UFO does not necessarily have to be in the sky, it can be coming from the ground, the trees, or the ocean.

The goal is for students to gain an understanding of the vast length of time the universe has been around with an understanding that there could have been life before Earth even came to existence, whether that be in another galaxy or on another planet.

Given that there is an unknown number of other galaxies, many far older than our own and some still forming, this UFO project playfully questions whether we really are the only ones out here.

It is now Zernow’s students’ turn to exemplify what they think other life forms may look like, where these life forms reside, and whether or not they have been here and have known of our species.

Astronomy is an academic elective that teaches students about astronomical theory, perspective, and facts.

The class offers numerous projects and field trips to give students knowledge of the stars and the universe.

“I love this class. I think that it’s very fun and interesting,” Gil said.

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