Astronomy Wonder Assignment

How does a black hole function, how are NASA and other organizations studying black holes, and can we trust that they know what they are doing?

how does a black hole form and how does it function?

Stellar black holes form when the middle of a very big star collapses in upon itself. This causes a supernova, or an exploding star, that explodes parts of the star all over space.

Scientists think supermassive black holes formed at the same time as the galaxy they are in. The size of the supermassive black hole is related to the size of the galaxy it is in.

The most common black holes are stellar black holes which are made from medium stars. The mass of a stellar black hole can be up to 20 times bigger than the sun.

A black hole cannot be seen because the black hole sucks up all the light so there is no light to see the black hole. But you can see the effects of the gravity on the stars and other stuff around it such as gas. If a star is orbiting a certain point in space, scientists can study the stars motion to see if they are around a black hole.

When a black hole and a star are orbiting close together, high-energy light is made, and scientists can see this with the technology they have.

how are NASA and other organizations studying black holes and can we trust that they know what they are doing?

A black hole’s gravity can sometimes be strong enough to pull off the outer gases of the star and grow a disk around itself called the accretion disk. As gas from the accretion disk spirals into the black hole, the gas heats to very high temperatures and lets out X-ray light in all directions. NASA telescopes measure the X-ray light. Astronomers use this information to learn more about black holes.

NASA is learning about black holes using spacecraft like the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Swift satellite and the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Fermi launched in 2008 and is observing gamma rays. The most energetic form of light in search of supermassive black holes. Spacecraft like these help scientists answer questions about the universe, how it started and how it evolved.

I think we can trust what they are doing because I don’t think they would post all this on their website if it was all false and I think that they would make sure that everything they are doing is 100%correct with no flaws before they let the world know about it. Also, NASA is the biggest space exploring company and they posted this on their website, so if they aren’t doing it right then no one is.



1.      What questions did you need to research in order to research your topic? 

I had to research how black holes function, and how NASA is studying black holes and               the technology they use.

2.      What new or familiar digital tools did you try to use as you worked through this project?

I used to google and my laptop.

3.      What was the process you used to investigate the topic? 

I really just researched my project and wrote down the best information I found in my own words.

4.      How did you verify and cite the information you found? 

I listed the sources under a citations category.

5.      How did the process of completing this challenge go? What could you have done better?

The process went very smoothly, I think I could have used my time a bit better than I did though.

Biotechnology and Genetics Blog Post

genetic engineering

what is genetic engineering

Genetic engineering, sometimes called genetic modification, is the process of altering the DNA in an organism’s genome. This may mean changing one base pair (A-T or C-G), deleting a whole region of DNA, or introducing an additional copy of a gene.It may also mean extracting DNA from another organism’s genome and combining it with the DNA of that individual. Genetic engineering is used by scientists to enhance or modify the characteristics of an individual organism. Genetic engineering can be applied to any organism, from a virus to a sheep. For example, genetic engineering can be used to produce plants that have a higher nutritional value or can tolerate exposure to herbicides.

What is needed for it to work?

genetic engineering to work it must have, DNA,which is cut with the help of restriction enzymes, genes that are transported in the region of plasmids and ligase enzymes. The genes of interest from an organism are cut using a restriction enzyme.

what is the process?

The genes that are cut are inserted into plasmids. Before insertion, the plasmids are cut using restriction enzyme. The foreign genes are inserted into the plasmids and sealed using the ligase enzyme. The new plasmid is transferred into an agrobacterium for culture. The agrobacterium is then transferred to the plant or animal cell. The genetic engineering process is a small piece of circular DNA called a plasmid is extracted from the bacteria or yeast cell. Then a small section is then cut out of the circular plasmid by restriction enzymes, ‘molecular scissors.  After that the gene for human insulin is inserted into the gap in the plasmid. This plasmid is now genetically modified.  Then the genetically modified plasmid is introduced into a new bacteria or yeast cell. This cell then divides rapidly and starts making insulin. To create large amounts of the cells, the genetically modified bacteria or yeast are grown in large fermentation vessels that contain all the nutrients they need. The more the cells divide, the more insulin is produced. When fermentation is complete, the mixture is filtered to release the insulin. The insulin is then purified and packaged into bottles and insulin pens for distribution to patients with diabetes.

how does genetic engineering work?

To help explain the process of genetic engineering we have taken the example of insulin, a protein that helps regulate the sugar levels in our blood. Normally insulin is produced in the pancreas, but in people with type 1 diabetes there is a problem with insulin production. People with diabetes therefore have to inject insulin to control their blood sugar levels. Genetic engineering has been used to produce a type of insulin, very similar to our own, from yeast and bacteria like E. coli.