Lecture 1 Quiz 1

Lecture 1 Quiz 1 - Astronomy 100 Dr Wilson Lecture 1 Why...

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Astronomy 100 - Dr. Wilson Lecture # 1 8/24/2010
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Why Astronomy?
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Early Astronomy Stone Age Cave paintings dating from ~ 10,000 B.C. show astronomical objects, such as the Sun and the Moon Knowledge of the seasons was needed to allow for the cultivation of crops from about 15,000 B. C. to about 10,000 B.C. Bronze Age Stonehenge, created 2500 B.C. to about 1700 B.C., likely to serve as an early calendar, tracking the dates of the solstices and equinoxes
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Babylonians Astronomers also served as their priests Created 1st star catalogues around 1600 B.C. and developed a lunar calendar, which contained only 354 days per year, around 1000 B.C. Egyptians Painted constellations on tomb walls Developed a sidereal (star-based) calendar using the annual rising of Sirius in August of each year in order to predict the annual flooding of the Nile river each summer. More Early Astronomy
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Chinese Knew the correct length of the year as 365.25 days in the 12th Century B.C. Recorded appearance of comets, meteors, and meteorites from about 700 B.C. as well as naked-eye sunspots Recorded the supernova explosion which created the Crab Nebula in 1054 A.D. Mayans Some of their temples were also used as observatories Mayan calendar ends on the date of the Winter Solstice in 2012, leading to predictions of the world’s demise More Early Astronomy
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Amerindian Some tribes created circular mounds in earth called Medicine Wheels, which may have been similar to Stonehenge in purpose Some used calendar sticks to mark time passage Some Southwestern tribes such as the Anasazi may have recorded the Crab Supernova outburst Polynesian Developed the skill of celestial navigation to sail over large expanses of the Pacific Ocean when they traveled from island to island and returned to their homes More Early Astronomy
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Conversion of Units meter (m) : measurement of distance nano : 10 -9 - nanometer = 10 -9 m micro : 10 -6 - micrometer (micron) = 10 -6 m milli: 10 -3 - millimeter = 10 -3 m = 0.001m 10 0 - meter = 1 m kilo: 10 3 - kilometer = 10 3 m = 1000m the same prefixes apply to mass [gram (g)] and time [seconds (s)]
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What is a Sun/Star? star – a celestial object that generates its own luminosity through thermonuclear reactions in its interior Our Sun is a star There are many types of stars, characterized by their mass and temperature Other than our Sun, the nearest star visible to the naked eye is Alpha Centauri A = 276,041 AU (astronomical units) 1 AU = the average distance from the Earth to the Sun = 92,955,807 miles 9.3 × 10 7 mi or 149,597,871 km 1.5 × 10 8 km
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What is a Planet? Originally defined as wandering stars Latest IAU definition: an object that orbits a star, is large enough to have settled into a round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit How many major planets do we have in our solar system 8
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Stars & Planets in the Night Sky Why do stars twinkle and planets do not?
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