Suntzeff the Stargazer

In this addition of The Battalion, Reporter Barath Menon interviewed Texas A&M astronomy professor Nicholas Suntzeff about his stargazing career. For 20 years he lived in Chile and worked at an observatory. The rest of the story discusses how he pursued a career in astronomy and what future plans he is advising for the Texas A&M astronomy program. Since I am presently taking astronomy, I could relate to his article a little more than if I had read it last year. Suntzeef mentions that “in such a remote location (in Chile) you can look up to the sky and actually see the Milky Way galaxly.” Coincidently, in astronomy class today we saw a picture of the Milky Way galaxy taken in Australia.

We began a project about the moon in astronomy class; therefore, I have to observe the moon every day. However, measuring the moon is more difficult for me than it was for Suntzeff. Suntzeff agreed there is only one place to go to actually experience the night sky: a remote area. He could see “200 miles to the horizon…Very few people have actually experienced what the night sky is like. You can’t experience it in Texas, and almost any anywhere in the United States.” His descriptions of the settings in Child are remarkable and I wish we had the opportunity to witness similar surrounding (which would make our project much easier as well).

Moreover, Suntzeff’s story about how he actually became an astronomer resembles the “struggles” that most of my peers and I are experiencing right now. He thought he was interested in one thing, that did not work out, he tried another thing, and then ended up in a completely different career. His unsettled mind reassures that my undecided mind is normal and okay. He shows passion in his interview; furthermore, he makes the article enjoyable.


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