Sophia’s June 20th Blog

(Note from the blog TA: we’ve had a bit of a holdup the past few days as our participants have been very busy with their work. Here are a bunch of blogs!)

Much of our time at SSP is spent in the classroom improving our astrophysics abilities. However, some of the most valuable experiences of SSP occur outside of the lecture hall.

My favorite adventure so far was searching through the UNC telescope for my chosen asteroid. As the dome opened above me, it felt as if the whole sky was within reach. There were no distractions, just the telescope, my team, and the stars.

Having spent almost my entire life in bustling urban areas, a view of space as mesmerizing as the photos captured from the telescope always seemed far from my reach. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to spend hours with a telescope as well-resourced and carefully-maintained as the Morehead one before even entering college.

The Morehead Telescope

As for off-campus exploits, our group bowling trip uncovered a lot of hidden talen for the sport. Beyond celebrating our rising strike counts, our crew was able to connect in a much more casual setting and let our competitive sides out. In particular, the air hockey table and space invaders console became full-blown battlegrounds.

An intense air hockey battle with dinosaur erasers on the line
A slightly underhanded bowling strategy

As a part of the SSP early morning running crew, I enjoy exploring the hidden walkways and mini-forests of UNC during workouts. Racking in over 15 km of steps each day (the walking distance to the dining hall is a tad bit daunting), the adventurous types at SSP have spotted an incredible variety of wildlife and hidden shops. Throughout the intense astrophysics coursework, the ability to explore a new environment exploding with life and connect with friends on long walks grounds me.

Some animal friends <3

About me: I’m Sophia, a rising senior from Oklahoma. I’m passionate about vocal performance, long-distance running, and engineering competitions. I enjoy late-night reading sessions, walks with my three dogs, and conversations with strangers. My love for astrophysics stems from my curiosity about extraterrestrial systems infinitely more massive than myself. I am particularly fascinated by the intricacies of aerospace and astronautical technology.

Shoutout to the running crew! (I’m pictured center)