How college students are studying the sun

FORT COLLINS -- The size of our Universe is so vast, scientists have no clue how large it truly is. But here on earth, we can tell you: The Metro Denver region ranks second when it comes to private-sector Aerospace jobs.

That alone is attracting a new generation of Aerospace and Astronomy enthusiasts - who are putting their eyes to the sky with hopes of finding answers to questions in our own galaxy.

Some of those students belong to Front Range Community College.

At the school’s Larimer County location in Fort Collins, students study the stars and planets in our galaxy from the campus’ Sunlight Peak Observatory.

One of their labs includes studying the Sun.

“We have a special hydrogen filter telescope that allows us to safely to do that [view the Sun],” said Michael Smith, the Astronomy Lead Instructor at FRCC’s Larimer Campus.

The specialized telescope allows students to see a variety of structures, sunspots and prominences.

“It is a fairly unique experience to be able to look directly at the sun magnified by a telescope,” said Smith. “It’s usually a very interesting thing to look at because there’s always something usually happening on the surface of the Sun”.

The Sun is roughly 93 million miles from Earth. Because of its distance, every time you glance at the Sun you're looking 8 minutes into the past. That’s how long it takes for the Sun’s light to reach our planet, Smith explained.

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