Chapter 2 Book Notes

Chapter 2 Book Notes - Astronomy 180 Chapter 2: Gravitation...

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Astronomy 180 Chapter 2: Gravitation and the Waltz of the Planets (Pages 36-61) We moved from an Earth-centered view of the universe to a Sun-centered one and came to understand the physical principles by which basic motions of the universe operate The groundwork for modern science was set down by Greek mathematicians and philosophers beginning around 2500 yrs ago I. Science: Key to Comprehending the Cosmos Understanding how nature works enables us to manipulate the matter and energy that comprise our environment and thereby create new things to make our lives easer Physics – the science that investigates the nature of space, time, matter, and energy, and the relationships between them; basic principles that govern the behavior of physical reality II. Science: Key to Comprehending the Cosmos: Science is both a body of knowledge and a process of learning about nature Science is 2 things: a body of knowledge that we acquire and used to understand and manipulate our environment & a process for gaining more knowledge in a way that assures that the information can be accepted by everyone Scientific method – the method of doing science based on observation, experimentation, and the formulation of hypotheses (theories) that can be tested Scientific theory (hypothesis) - an idea about the natural world that is subject to verification and refinement; an idea or collection of ideas that proposes to explain the observed phenomenon Model – a hypothesis that has withstood observational or experimental tests Newton’s law ( theory ) of gravitation is written as an equation that predicts how bodies attract each other A scientific theory must be possible to be disproven If the predictions of a theory are inconsistent with observations, the theory is modified, applied only in limited circumstances, or discarded in favor of a more accurate explanation Einstein’s theory of general relativity accurately describes gravitational behavior in much wider conditions than Newton’s law but at the cost of more complex mathematics Science strives to explain as many things as possible in as few theories as possible Occam’s razor the principle of choosing the simplest scientific theory that correctly explains any phenomenon The scientific method can be summarized in six words: observe, theorize, predict, test, modify, economize III. Changing our Earth-Centered View of the Universe Geocentric view of the universe: the assumption that everything revolves around the Earth (believed for more than 2000 years) Cosmology the study of the formation, organization, and evolution of the universe IV. Changing our Earth-Centered View of the Universe: The belief in a Sun-centered cosmology came slowly Planet comes from the Greek term meaning “wanderer”; the Greeks had a difficult time proving that the 5 planets orbited around the Earth The planets don’t move at uniform rates around the Earth
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Chapter 2 Book Notes - Astronomy 180 Chapter 2: Gravitation...

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