#Before30BucketList: Learn Astronomy

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I was worried about this one. I didn’t even think twice about adding it to my list when I saw it recommended on another, but I had no idea how I was going to go about it. I can’t afford to take college classes right now, nor would any astronomy class count toward my degree in teaching high school English, and I absolutely didn’t have the time to randomly research stuff online — and even if I did, what stuff?

I tried finding free or cheap classes at my beloved libraries but was disappointed. Then, an awakening.

I don’t know if you have this where you’re from, or if you shop at ACME, but for a few months they were doing some Monopoly game in which you collected pieces earned from certain purchases and along with the pieces came either a coupon or a chance to win more stuff online. I hated it, because it took up a lot of freaking time setting it all up and figuring out which pieces I had or needed and which coupons I wanted and if I cared enough to try my luck online. But then I found one with a free online cooking course from Rouxbe (which I’m currently still taking, and since “Learn To Cook” is on my list, you’ll read about it soon enough).

Realizing that if they had online cooking courses, they probably had online anything courses, and if ACME Monopoly was giving them away for free I could probably find other deals. So I went to Groupon, and I was not let down.

I found an Introduction to Astronomy course from International Open Academy for $5. If you go to their webpage classes are around $100-$200. Do not do this. If you want to take any of their classes, check Groupon. I don’t know if you’ve heard of International Open Academy, but they act like they’re super accredited and your certificate of completion will be accepted by fucking NASA and the CIA, but odds are it won’t even be accepted by your community college or 5-employee company.

Nonetheless, I’m not doing this stuff to become a genius and land a 6-figure job. If I wanted to do that, I know I would have to spend more than $5. I’m doing this for myself and for simple I-like-to-learn-stuff purposes, so to me it was worth it.

There’s all sorts of funny-business that you should know if you do decide to take one of these classes. Read the fine print. You have a certain amount of time to redeem the groupon, then you have a certain amount of time to start the class once you enroll, then you have a certain amount of time to finish the class once you start. I think Astronomy was 45 days or something. I finished in about 4.

Given, I did spent all of my time at the computer taking notes and tests (yes, they have real graded tests but you can look at your notes — or google — so they’re not really that difficult). It wasn’t the most I’ve ever applied myself, but it also wasn’t the least. I did try to remember as much as I could and I wrote everything important down so I can always access it later if my memory fails me.

It was basic, elementary astronomy. I read a review where someone said you learn all this stuff in middle school. However, I’ve been out of grade school for 12 years and can’t even remember what I learned that last year, let alone way back to sciencey stuff I wasn’t interested in back then. So I did learn a lot.

For instance, you know how they got rid of our beloved Pluto? Well, it turns out they just downgraded him to a dwarf planet, of which we have several others in our solar system.

They’ve discovered other Earth-like planets in other solar systems. You can see certain planets with the naked eye, others with binoculars, and others with telescopes. Meteor showers often happen yearly.

Those are just the simple, easily-remembered things I learned. They went into further detail about the moon and stars and constellations, comets and meteors and meteorites and asteroids. There’s so much out there, and common folk like me look up and the sky and think we know nothing about the beyond, but really we know quite a bit. We just need to take the time to learn it.

So overall I was very pleased with my Intro to Astronomy Course. It may not be college-worthy and I definitely won’t be on my way to becoming an astronomer simply because I took it, but it opened my mind to more possibilities and happenings all around us. I look forward to using the binoculars my mom’s friend gave me to search the sky for things I’ve never thought about before. I’m excited to re-read my notes and put some of my new findings into action. Another list item is to watch a meteor shower, and now I have a much better understanding of what exactly they are and when/where to see them.

Also I have a fancy certificate, even though it doesn’t mean anything.

Certificate

Companions: My notebook & pen & computer & the sky & binoculars

Cost
Course: $5
Binoculars: Courtesy of Mom’s friend
(Also my husband complaining that I ignored him for this class.)

Goal Total: $5

8th Goal Accomplished
List Item #30: Learn Astronomy
On 4-20-2017

Bucket List Total: $158

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