Lecture 03 202 Spring 2011

Lecture 03 202 Spring 2011 - The Origins of Modern...

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The Origins of Modern Astronomy What is Science? “The aim of science is, on the one hand, a comprehension, as complete as possible, of the connection between the sense experiences in their totality, and, on the other hand, the accomplishment of this aim by the use of a minimum of primary concepts and relations.” “ No number of experiments can prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Albert Einstein Elements of Science o Observation, measurement. o Empirical law: patterns in the data. o Hypothesis: Rational justification of the law, explanation of phenomena. o Models, Prediction o Experimentation: Controlled observation. o Theory Scientific Models, Scientific Theories o Scientific Model: Conceptual representation containing the essential structure of some object or event in the real world. Its purpose is to explain and predict observed phenomena. o Scientific Theory: Well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses. Hallmarks of Science: o Scientific explanations are tentative.
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o Scientific explanations predict and are falsifiable. o Scientific explanations are based on observations and experiments and are reproducible. o A valid scientific hypothesis offers a well-defined natural cause or mechanism to explain a natural event. o Science progresses through the creation and testing of models of Nature that explain the observations as simply as possible. Planets Daily, all celestial objects seem to travel from East to West. Relative to the stars: o The Sun travels along the ecliptic in a year. o The Moon also follows a “circular” path every month. o The planets appear to move at their own pace, following their own paths in the celestial sphere, not too far from the ecliptic. Geocentric and Heliocentric models o Geocentric Models : Earth placed at the center of the Universe Fine for eclipses and calendars The Universe was a small place! o In a Heliocentric model the Earth orbits the Sun, placed at the center of the Celestial Sphere
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Heliocentric model predicts that relative positions of stars would change as our perspective changes (Stellar parallax) Parallax: The apparent displacement, or difference of position, of an object, as seen from two different stations, or points of view. Retrograde Motion
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Lecture 03 202 Spring 2011 - The Origins of Modern...

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