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Astronomy 103 Chapter 1 notes

by: Rebecca Barnett

Astronomy 103 Chapter 1 notes 10022

Marketplace > Old Dominion University > PHYSICS (PHY) > 10022 > Astronomy 103 Chapter 1 notes
Rebecca Barnett
GPA 3.86

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About this Document

These notes cover all of chapter one. It talks about the planets, the universe, light years, and explains some of the math that will be used in this course.
Introductory Astronomy of the Solar System
Stephen Bueltmann
Class Notes
whystudyastronomy, scientificnotation
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Barnett on Wednesday January 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 10022 at Old Dominion University taught by Stephen Bueltmann in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Introductory Astronomy of the Solar System in PHYSICS (PHY) at Old Dominion University.


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Date Created: 01/13/16
Astronomy 103: Introductory Astronomy of the Solar System Notes Chapter 1: Why Study Astronomy?  Modern Astronomy o It is more than cataloging objects o How do stars (matter and energy) work? o What is the universe? o How do humans fit in?  Earth and the Universe o Earth is a small planet o Earth orbits a medium sized star in a galaxy of 100 billion stars which is just one of billions of galaxies in a universe that is 13.7 billion years’ old o The universe is vast o Billions of galaxies are separated by thousands of trillions of miles o Astronomers need to be able to talk about great distances  Astronomy on a scale of 1-10 billion o The sun is the size of a large grape fruit (14 cm in diameter) o The earth is the size of a ballpoint 15 meters away o It is just a few minutes’ walk from earth to Pluto o How far of a walk is it to reach Alpha Centauri?  The distance across the U.S. (2500 miles which would take 4.2 light years)  What we see now would be 4.2 years in the past for Alpha Centauri  Nothing travels faster than light  Cosmic Distances o Use the travel time of light to measure distances o We often use time to denote distances o For example, we may say a friend’s house is 2 hours away o Compare distances by the amount of time it takes to travel them o Light travels in 300,000 km every second o It’s the universes greatest speed o A light year is the distance light travels in one year o Light could travel around the earth in 1/7 seconds o Light takes:  ¼ of a second to arrive from the moon  8.3 minutes to arrive from the sun  5.5 hours to get to Pluto from the sun o Light takes 4.2 years to arrive from the nearest star o Light takes 100,000 years to cross the galaxy o Light takes 2.5 million years to get to the nearest big galaxy o Light takes10 billion years to come from distant galaxies  Modern Astronomy o Studying the universe can reveal many things o For example, except for hydrogen in water all the atoms in our body were made in stars o Stars generate energy by making heavier elements out of light ones. o Dying stars eject those elements into space in massive explanations o New stars and planets (and humans) form o We are stardust, made from the materials provided by earlier generation of stars o Test scientific ideas by observation o Space exploration has expanded our view of planets and the solar system o Telescopes, satellites, etc. extended it more  Cosmological Principle o Science involves the use of theories, hypotheses, and principles o A scientific hypothesis is an idea that leads to testable or falsifiable predictions o The cosmological principle is a very important underlying assumption  There is nothing special about our place in the universe o Cosmological principle on one level:  Our view from the earth is not special/unique  Distant objects should be like nearby ones which we can study in detail. o On another level:  Matter and energy obey the same physical laws everywhere  We can learn about distant objects by studying nearby ones  Scientific Methods o Science is a method for learning about nature o Scientific method works like this:  Idea > hypothesis > prediction > test o All scientific knowledge is provisional o Scientific theories must be able to be falsified and rejected o This is how science progresses  Science o Has many creative aspects o Insight, intuition, and creativity go into the work o Must be able to think of new ideas and new solutions to new and old problems o Sciences vulnerability is its greatest strength o Old ideas can be falsified and rejected o New ideas need to be supported by evidence o There can be major overhauls and revolutions  For example, more galaxies than just the milky way o Nature ultimately decides what ideas are good and bad o Science discovers patterns in nature o Math is the language of patterns o Most phenomena work regularly and predictably  Modern Astronomy o Astronomers must continually consider new data and revise old beliefs  For example, categorizing Pluto as a dwarf planet instead of a planet in 2006  Scientific method o It is a process o Begin with an idea, form a hypothesis, and test it o The test will support or invalidate the hypothesis  Language of science o Mathematics works when used to describe nature and its patterns o Basic tools:  Scientific notation: handling large or small numbers  Ratios: comparing  Geometry  Algebra: representation  Probability: understanding the relationships between quantities  Graphs are used to represent relationships between quantities  Can be linear/nonlinear  For linear, the slope is the change of the vertical axis divided by the change of the horizontal axis  Big and small numbers – the scientific notation o We need to get used to dealing with sometimes large and sometimes small numbers. The scientific method is perfect for this:  Big numbers: example, 150,000,000 km = 1.5 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 1.5 x 10^8 km  Small numbers: example, .000001m = 1/ (10 x10 x 10 x 10 x10 x10) = 10^6 km  Multiplication: example, 3 x 10^4 x 2 x 10^3 = (3 x 2) x 10^(4+3) = 6 x 10^7  Division: example, 3 x 10^4/2 x 10^3 = (3/2) x 10^(4-3) = 1.5 x 10 = 15  Addition and subtraction: easiest to make a common power of 10  Example: 2.04 x 10^4 + 1.5 x 10^3 = (2.04 x 10) x 10^3 + 1.5 x 10^3 =20.4 x 10^3 + 1.5 x 10^3 = (20.4 + 1.5) x 10^3 = 21.9 x 10^3 o Words for numbers = terrible o Conventional number representation = lots of zeros = terrible o Scientific notation = shorter and convenient  Proportionality o Traveling at 60 mph for 1 hour you will cover a distance of 60 miles o Traveling at 60 mph for two hours you will cover a distance of 120 miles  The distance you travel at fixed speed is directly proportional to the time  D x t o Covering 20 miles at 30 mph takes 40 min o Covering 20 miles at 60 mph takes 20 min  The time taken to cover a fixed distance is inversely proportional to your speed  T x 1/s o The amount of cheese on a pizza is proportional to the square of the diameter  C x d^2  2 times the diameter > 4 times the cheese


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