INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMY
INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMY AST 301
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This 1 page Class Notes was uploaded by Keegan Goyette on Sunday September 6, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to AST 301 at University of Texas at Austin taught by Harriet Dinerstein in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see /class/181756/ast-301-university-of-texas-at-austin in Astronomy at University of Texas at Austin.
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Date Created: 09/06/15
Main Points Sep 6 In astronomy we often use natural units such as solar mass or lightyears To understand something like astronomy we have to use units which make the great distances and sizes of celestrial objects understandable Astronomy is an observational as opposed to an experimental science Velocity has direction while speed does not Force energy and momentum are different quantities depending in various ways on velocity and acceleration Main Points Sep 6 The fundamental forces are gravity electromagnetic and the weak and strong nuclear forces We will hear more about the latter two forces later on Gravity acts on all matter while the electromagnetic force acts only on charged matter Gravity is actually a really weak force Who knew It has a big effect because it is cumulative all matter exerts gravitational force and because it extends to very large distances inverse square law Muddy Points Tidal Force Since gravitational force decreases with distance2 the Moon s pull on Earth is stronger on the side facing the Moon and weaker on the opposite side The Earth gets stretched along the EarthMoon line The oceans which are liquid are more easily stretched tidal bulge opposite Moon tidal bulge toward Moon Not to scale The real tidal buge raises the oceans y only about 2 me ers Muddy Points Sep 6 Forms of energy To be discussed more fully on Sep 8 Why would we study the momentum formula Conservation of angular momentum has profound effects in astronomy it makes collapsing or contracting objects rotate faster important for formation of planets in disks around stars the rapid spin of pulsars and many other phenomena What does all this have to do with astronomy Everything These are the principles which help us understand why stars behave in certain ways taking us beyond mere cataloging and memorization of planets and stars and o don 1 need to be a professional scientist for such understanding