Upper School Science Students Enjoy Insightful Presentation From a Solar Astronomer

Students in the Upper School’s astronomy classes welcomed a solar astronomer to class for a discussion about the advancements and challenges around the scientific study of the sun.

Dr. Gabriel Dima, a postdoctoral fellow at the The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., spoke via Zoom this week to two different astronomy classes, both taught by Upper School science teacher Dr. Stephanie Capen.

In a visual presentation that included a deeper look at recent imagery of the sun logged on Helioviewer.org, Dr. Dima explained his role in studying the sun, his experiences as an astronomer in Hawaii, and the challenges that solar astronomers face studying a celestial body that’s impossible to touch and difficult to safely observe. He also discussed the importance of studying solar activity to predict solar storms that may impact technology on Earth and pose risk for astronauts and satellites. 

Dr. Dima’s presentation was followed by a Q&A with engaged students, who asked questions ranging from the advancement of tools used to study the sun to the difference between theory-based study versus experiment-based study, to best advice he’s received from mentors over the years.

Astronomy is a yearlong science elective in the Upper School, where students engage with contemporary texts from a diverse range of scientists in the field to learn about current theories and research pertaining to some of science’s most pertinent questions about the universe.
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