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Majarra - Exoplanets: The New Frontier - Ethnoastronomy: Stories of the Sky

educational resource
posted on 2022-12-29, 02:41 authored by Eva Bod, Jonathan KempJonathan Kemp

Exoplanets, or extrasolar planets, are  planets that orbit a star other than our sun. As of April 2020, there  were a total of 4,241 confirmed exoplanets. Some have extreme  environments, reaching wildly hot and frigid temperatures. Others are  neither comparatively hot nor cold, a niche environment called the  habitable zone, offering tantalizing clues to what life outside of Earth  could be like. Efforts to study exoplanets are numerous, and their  reasons abundant: not only could exoplanets offer insight into  Earth-like planets that may harbor water, but they may someday answer  questions about our existential loneliness. Scientifically and  artistically inspiring, the abundant number of exoplanets scattered all  around us are full of data. Extracting and understanding the information  they provide is simply a matter of time and technology, a new frontier  in astronomy that could tell us more about where we come from — and  where we are going.

Explore this frontier in Majarra — Arabic for galaxy — an exhibition on the 1st floor of McCardell Bicentennial Hall.

One of humanity’s greatest gifts is  storytelling. Stories shape history, develop culture, and inform our  children about the past in the hopes of making a better future. Long  before GPS and Google, a map in the sky was read by countless curious  people. From the dawn of time, we have looked up and drawn narratives  between the stars.

Astrology is an ancient form of celestial  study, dating back over 4,000 years. Astrology is a pseudoscience that  divines information of terrestrial phenomena based on celestial  movements. This practice is not to be confused with astronomy, the  branch of science that studies celestial objects, space, and the  physical universe.

Ethnoastronomy is the study of beliefs  and practices of cultures as they pertain to celestial bodies and  phenomena. This discipline documents the various stories that humans  have told of the night sky. In order to understand the significance of  groundbreaking discoveries made by scientists today, it is important to  appreciate the other forms of knowledge that people have presented. Take  a trip through time and space, looking at the sky through someone  else’s eyes.

Explore this frontier in Majarra — Arabic for galaxy — an exhibition on the 1st floor of McCardell Bicentennial Hall.

Funding

Mittelman Family Foundation

History

Institution

Middlebury College

Department or Program

Sciences Technical Support Services