Join our Science Questers as they find out about how light has different temperatures; Kai shows us how to make your own sunset.

Isa: Wouldn’t it be cool to study the skies and learn new things about our universe every day? Robert Cardinal gets to do that. He’s an astronomer who works for the Canadian space agency. This incredible indigenous scientist is from the Siksika nation in Alberta. Robert Cardinal grew up in Edmonton and Rocky Mountain House. He has a degree in physics from the University of British Columbia.

Robert Cardinal: (aboriginal language greeting)____ Hello my name is Star Chief. I am from the Blackfoot Siksika Nation. We’re at the (name of observatory) physical Observatory today. I’m an astronomer here at the University of Calgary, and I help to build telescopes, computers, and software to search for moving objects in space. In the distant past, uh our indigenous uh cosmology was centered around the sun in our Blackfoot culture.

Robert Cardinal: And it just so happens that the sun is at the center of our solar system. The sky that we see as the earth orbits the sun is a giant calendar. The ancient peoples knew this, and the ones that were most knowledgeable in society were able to, to mark the, the passing of the seasons by watching the sky.

Robert Cardinal: In my daily life, you know, I watch the sky and it changes each night so time is critically important. And the sky tells us the time. It’s like a giant clock, it’s a giant calendar. Cosmology tells us that we come from the sky and this is absolutely true. Scientifically we are made out of the ashes of stars. It’s actually harder to learn indigenous science that it is to learn modern science.

Robert Cardinal: You need to go and speak with your elders, you need to go and participate in ceremony, in culture, and language to actually get the real feeling for indigenous science. You know we think of the Sun as an object over there and the Earth over here, but really the Sun never ends. It’s got a heliosphere that extends, that we are actually inside the Sun and we are coming up with the mathematics of how that Sun was made, how our solar system formed, and we’re now trying to find out how life itself formed. We are not separate from the sky we are part of it we are literally inside the sun.

Isa: Robert Cardinal has discovered two comets in our solar system! They are both named after him. He also discovered a near Earth asteroid which he got to name Siksika after his Nation! Way to go Robert Cardinal!