Perseverance Is Essential

Sometimes you have to look long and hard to discover something new. You believe it’s there, but it takes perseverance to prove you’re right.

Dr. Kazimierz Kordylewski, 1964

A Polish astronomer named Kazimierz Kordylewski had such a belief about extra moons that he thought might be orbiting the Earth. He persisted in his search with amazing determination.

Astronomers have studied planets orbiting the Sun for centuries.  They used Newton’s law of gravity to predict that for each orbit, there are five locations where the gravity forces balance out. They’re called “Lagrange points” (named for the mathematician who figured this out).  At two Lagrange points of a planet’s orbit, when an object in space finds its way there, it stays there—it’s found a home in space.

Astronomers started looking at Lagrange points for planets orbiting in the Sun. In 1906, an asteroid was discovered at one of Jupiter’s Lagrange points.  Since then, thousands more have been found at the Lagrange points for Jupiter, and some for other planets as well.

Dr. Kordylewski wondered if the same thing could happen for the Moon’s orbit around the Earth. In 1951, he started observing Lagrange points of the Moon’s orbit, looking for small, undiscovered moons.  But he had no success. Then another scientist suggested that he look for things even smaller. If there were no mini-moons at the Moon’s Lagrange points, maybe he could find clouds of dust –like “dusty moons.”   

So Dr. Kordylewski started again. He made observations from Mount Lomnica and Mount Kasprowy in central Europe. He finally detected the dust clouds he was looking for in 1956. But the clouds were very faint. It wasn’t until five years later that he had the equipment and developed the techniques to get photos. Finally, in 1961—10 years after he started—he published his results.

Still, many other astronomers weren’t able to repeat his observations. The existence of these “Kordylewski clouds” was disputed for more than 60 years. At last, in 2018, the existence of the Kordylewski clouds was confirmed, as reported by the Royal Astronomical Society.

Look at the moon orbiting the Earth in the window below. If you click on the “Discover!” button, you’ll see where Dr. Kordylewski discovered a “moon” of dust.

 


Like Dr. Kordylewski, you may need to work for a long time to reach your goals. And like him, you may need to push back and be steadfast when others don’t agree with what you believe, do, or say. You may see something that others don’t see. Maybe it’s a good quality in someone that others have overlooked, and it makes you want to reach out and be friends with that person.  Maybe you dream of doing something that others think is impossible—whether it’s traveling to Mars or discovering a cure for cancer.

Two qualities that can help you are perseverance and steadfastness. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “Perseverance is an essential condition. In every project firmness and steadfastness will undoubtedly lead to good results; otherwise it will exist for some days, and then be discontinued.”


Here are some suggestions to help you persevere in your efforts:

  • Use your imagination to clearly picture what you are trying to achieve.
  • Prepare yourself by learning the necessary knowledge and skills. Take it one step at a time, and celebrate as you develop your abilities.
  • Learn from your setbacks – rather than being discouraged, stay positive and think about what you can do differently.
  • Be willing to turn to others for help. Your friends, parents, relatives, and teachers may have ideas, advice, or encouragement that can assist you.
  • Remember the examples of others who went through hardships before they succeeded. Every triumphant inventor, scientist, artist, or athlete learned through struggle.
  • Pray for assistance, and then act!

When things don’t go your way, remember Dr. Kordylewski and his long search for something no one else could find. And try, try again!

 

Dr. Steve Scotti is Brilliant Star’s STEM Education Advisor and a research engineer at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, U.S. He works to develop lighter, stronger materials and structures for aircraft and spacecraft. Watching the first astronaut launched into space inspired his interest in space exploration, and he enjoys sharing his enthusiasm about science and space with kids.

 

Illustration: NASA

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