Friday, December 3, 2010

Drake Equation Activity

R = 20 billion
Fp = 75%
Ne = 2
Fl = 40%
Fi = 7%
Fc = 1%
L = .00001

N = 84 apprx

A. 84 civilizations
B. The value doubles, exactly.
C. Doing so reduces the total number by a third.
D. Wouldn't change THAT much.. maybe 1.5 times bigger?
E. Fp = 10%-80% | Ne = 1-8 | Fl =10%-60% | Fi = 1%-15% | Fc = 0.000001% - 3%
F. Min: 2 x 10 ^-6 | Max: 3,456 civilizations
G. The minimum is too small (you can't have a Fraction of a civilization), and the max seems reasonable, considering how many stars are in our galaxy.
H. It depends on what you define "intelligence" as.. if the species can reason, have emotion, and perhaps even have morals, there is really only one we know of.. humans. Yeah, some whale-like animals like dolphins and humbacks can communicate and empathize, but.. they're not considered as humans are? If you define intelligence by the amount of technology a species has, then humans win, with chimpanzees and otters coming in second (by using rocks and twigs to gather food). So, that number would be one, possibly 2 or 3, since we ARE one of those civilizations.

I. 400 was the answer... It's near the low middle of my high/estimated answers, making it also pretty reasonable.

The musings about extraterrestrial life are silly to me sometimes... if somebody honestly thinks we're alone in the universe, then it really is a waste of space. : D It's gigantic! There could be things we can't even dream of. Using the drake equation does give us some idea of how many other civilizations could be out there, though, which is nice. The math is simple, the estimates weren't that hard to make, and the end result was close to what scientists think of it as. : )

Monday, November 29, 2010

Art and Astronomy
This image is stunning... I have it as my desktop now. xD OH NO I might be an astronomy nerd soon! ;)

Moby's We Are All Made of Stars is a nice song. It's not incredible, but it is good enough to write a couple hundred words on. It starts by eluding to the population of the world... “growing in numbers, growing in speed, can't fight the future, can't fight what I see.” People come together and grow apart, but we as a people can't be stopped from reaching our goals. We're all made of the same materials, so why should we be treated differently? It's a song that speaks about the world in very broad strokes. The people in it, the people closest to us, and the people we don't even know, and the similarities we all have. We're similar not just in material, but in goal. When people look at the stars, they see the same thing as everyone else in that region. Nothing is different. They still stare in wonder and know that they aren't actually that insignificant. When I look at the stars, I don't think that I'm insignificant.. I am belittled only by myself, and I think I'm a extraordinary creature that was a miracle of time, space, materials, and the right temperature and pressure and all those other factors. LIFE is a chance, and to be living.. that makes a human more important than a star. Even if we're made of the same materials, as far as we know, stars don't comprehend things. We speak, think, grow, change.. all independently from the rest of the world (and worlds). Stars influence the arts in extreme ways. They inspire, they humble, and they give us as humans a chance to imagine what it would be like out there. I'll always be a daydreamer and hope that one day I'd be able to see the stars without an atmosphere blocking the way, but I doubt that is going to happen.


Class Reflection

Class Reflection

a) 8.5 out of 21? Ooooh my goodness! That's dreadful!I didn't know most the material... I can't access the questions, I guess I'll go back and look at it when it's up.

b) Most educational: Moon Phase lab, the APODS, the satellite lab (the questions on that were awesome!), the stellar evolution project was great, and the spectra labs were pretty good too. Even if they were challenging, they helped to cohere the ideas together.

Some of them, like the Cepheid yardstick one, were just sort of “plug and chug” things and didn't really help to solidify ideas, but did help in the math department. I would assume that the scientific methods lab would be really useful for beginning students, but it didn't help that much for me.

Math: The way it was presented was just fine. I think that there should be more samples of questions to follow though... some people learn best through example, so either going through them in class or making diagrams with explanations would be REALLY useful.

Lectures: Sometimes, there would be times when a presentation was being presented, then something would come up and it would be addressed as “something we'll cover later”, then it wouldn't get covered, or we wouldn't remember what it was tied to in the beginning. Explaining those sorts of things AS they come up would be nice, but maybe with some more elaboration later.

Powerpoints: VERY useful with diagrams! I never looked back on them for the test prep, but I'm sure they would be really useful too. Organized pretty well, but sometimes they would go by too quickly to take notes on (but that's just a personal problem. XD I like to fully organize my thoughts and stuff as I take notes).

Textbook: To tell the truth, I didn't read much of the textbook, but what I did read was pretty good. I wish the math had been presented more completely, but other than that, no complaints. The text is pretty easy to understand and follow.

Assessments: Would this be tests? Or the reflections? As far as tests go, there would be questions that would be really obscure and such, but those were always given as extra credit. XD I like the writing questions the best because multiple choice questions make me second-quess myself.

Sky Journal Reflection

Sky Journal Reflection

I don't recall any goals for myself, but I do remember wanting to see where constellations were in the sky. Although I have learned where several are, I haven't been able to pick them out in reality. I just know the general AREA. XD Like Cassiopeia, Andromeda, and Ursa Minor. I now know how to describe where things are, using both the celestial sphere (right ascension and declination) and the observer-based system with altitude and azimuth. : ) I do feel more knowledgeable when it comes to understanding science-fiction movies.. even if it's only a bit, it helps! I watch movies and read it a lot of science fiction. Too much, sometimes. I hope that humanity can get it together and not go to war and instead invest money in the space program. XD A nice reason for having peace, right?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 10 Sky Journal

So I went out to my driveway and turned off all the house lights and such, and I couldn't see that many stars. XD It was about 8:00 at night, and I could see the normal brighter ones, like the stars of Cassiopeia, but I couldn't find the moon. o.o At first I thought it was just too low on the horizon for me to see (my house has a lot of trees), but then I realized it could be a new moon so the light wasn't really strong enough for me to see it. So I checked google for the current moon phase, and sure enough, it was a new moon. Kinda fun cuz I thought I'd lost the moon. That wouldn't have been to fun.

On another note, I did remember something that I saw 2 summers ago... I stayed out until about 3:00 in the morning at one of my best friend's houses. He lives out in Lyman, so there was no light pollution at all... the sky looked completely filled with stars and I saw at least 12 meteors. It was really magical... until my mom called me and told me to get home. I think I'll always remember that, though.. it was one of those philosophical discussions mixed with awe and wonder at the universe.

Week 10 Reflection

Wow! I really can't believe this next week is basically the last week of school... the more I'm in school, the faster it goes.
Some of the material so far (like some of the math, as usual) has been a little ouchy in the brain department, but the rest is easy enough. I've been working on my study guide throughout the week for the final and the unit 4 test. I don't feel confident with the material yet, but I will soon enough- as usual, I need to just spend more time with it and make concept maps and such to link ideas together (the universe concept map helped a lot).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Week 9 Reflection

This chapter is going by pretty smoothly. Researching on my own is really useful, and I think that's why I've been consistently doing (pretty) well on the tests so far. The study guides + answering all the questions on the study guides + writing everything in my own words so I understand the concepts = good scores. But, that aside, I do need to study the days before the test too, not just the day before. I haven't been having much difficulty with any of the concepts so far.

Week 9 Sky Journal

The sunset was really warmly-colored today, and it was really really cold.. not sure if those two factors are related, but it was kind of interesting to me. I didn't notice the position of the sun in the sky, so I'll go back out there tonight and check out the moon. Just commenting on the color of the sun today. : ) It was REALLY REALLY yellow. And orangey. And bright.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dark Matter Possibilities

1. HOT DARK MATTER - Neutrinos (3 types- electron-, muon-, and tau-neutrinos).
2. Characteristics: 1) found everywhere 2) 100,000 times less mass than an electron- incredibly tiny. 3) They are just there... they exist with other ones, usually around places that would have hot dark matter, but are not bound to certain places. They are made through nuclear fusion and can be very common in supernovas and emission from stars. 4) They move too quickly to be pulled into an individual galaxy, but heavy neutrinos might be able to affect larger structures like galaxy superclusters. 5) They contribute to dark matter because they are incredibly difficult to detect, but we know that they are produced through nuclear fusion, which occurs in pretty much every star out there, which means there are literally millions and millions of neutrinos out there, explaining some of the mysterious mass we call dark matter. 6) Instruments with vacuums deep within the ground are built to detect the teeny-tiny particles, but even then, very few neutrinos are detected. An example of such an instrument: the DRIFT-I detector. They're virtually indetectable otherwise.

Neutrinos are classified as WILPs (weakly-interacting, light particles), and are a type of HOT dark matter. They travel at ultra-relativistic velocities, meaning they travel incredibly close to the speed of light. They have a mass of 100,000 times less than an electron, and they only interact with regular matter through the "weak nuclear force", a force that requires no contact and is incredibly weak, involving radioactivity and the emission of particles by neutrons/protons in an atomic nucleus.

REFLECTION: Wow! Just knowing how tiny these particles are can open up millions of possibilities. Space probably isn't as empty as we thought if there are particles THAT hard to detect... oh gosh, I wish I could live until I choose to die so I could see what people discover. Maybe I'd even get to go to space. Or to another planet. Or even another galaxy (I wish).

Research Article on WIMPS and other Dark Matter

Research Article

1) It is set up as any other scientific experiment data would be: an abstract, an introduction, then the method, then the data/results, then any conclusions that were drawn.
2) The abstract is sort of a preview of what the experiment covers, providing background information of the subject and a very general overview.
3) Data collected included amounts of WIMPS detected in the underground contraption that detects them, the DRIFT-I detector. The DRIFT-I is a vacuum that is specifically designed to detect neutrinos and other WIMPS, with customized settings for different particles, even detecting the direction from which the neutrinos are coming using electron avalanches to amplify the movement of them.
4) These amounts of "events" (times neutrinos were detected) averaged out to a very scattered "less than one event per kg of target" per day. The conclusion? The DRIFT-I detector was a success at directional sensitivity, their original goal.
5) At first, the scientists thought that it would be possible to construct such a machine to detect even the direction of a neutrino, so they calculated various factors such as the earth/sun rotation and their relation to neutrino motion, and then discovered a method to amplify that movement. This led to a hypothesis- then the implementation of the ideas into the machine. Tests were made, data was collected, and the experiment was proven a success.

REFLECTION: This pertains to the class because it's talking about dark matter and the sensitivity of some devices meant to detect what is thought to be dark matter, like neutrinos. The article was kind of hard to understand because of all the lingo, but looking some stuff up and trying to extrapolate helped a little. XD

Galaxy Sort/Weighing a Galaxy


By Appearance:
Group 1: Leo 1, Large Megellanic Cloud
Group 2: M51, NGC 6946, M101
Group 3: Arp 252, NGC 1365
Group 4: M65, M81, M109
Group 5: NGC 4650a, NGC 253, M104, NGC 4565
Group 6: M32, M87, M59
Group 7: NGC 1073, M82, NGC 2146

By Actual Category:
Elliptical Galaxies: M59, M32, M87,
Starburst Galaxies: M82, NGC 253
Dwarf Galaxy: Leo 1
Spiral Galaxies: M51, NGC 6946, M101, M65, M81, M104, NGC 4565
Barred Spiral Galaxies: M109, NGC 1365, NGC 1073, NGC 2146
Irregular Galaxy: LMC (Large Megellanic Cloud)
Interacting Galaxy Pair: Arp 252
Ring Galaxy: NGC4650a

Reflection: Sorting galaxies can be tough... if you go by color, size, shape, makeup, other characteristics.. it just depends on what you arbitrarily choose. We went through them and divided them based on appearance, then later went back and actually looked up what each of the galaxy types were, coming up with the second list. Classification is a good tool in science, and this is no different. Knowing what a type of galaxy is can give us clues as to how it's going to react/chance/evolve (etc).


1. Apply this equation to three of the planets in our solar system, given in the table below.
Mass of Earth: 200kg
Mass of Jupiter: 200kg
Mass of Neptune: 196 kg

The masses are all relatively the same.
The mass of the sun would be about 200kg too?

2. DISTANCE: 5.0 - 1.55 x 10^17 km VELOCITY: 95.0 km/s MASS: 2,097,263,869 kg mass.
DISTANCE: 10.0 - 3.1 x 10^17 km VELOCITY: 110.0 km/s MASS: 5,623,688,156 kg mass.
DISTANCE: 15.0 - 4.65 x 10^17 km VELOCITY: 110.0 km/s MASS: 8,435,531,134 kg mass.

What do you notice about the values of the mass as the distance increases?
They get considerably larger.

Can you explain this?
Distance is directly related to mass.

What would you conclude the mass of the galaxy to be?
More than 1,000 solar units.

How much more massive is this galaxy than our sun?
A lot more - not even comparable. See above answer.

Reflection: I wouldn't call this one of the most useful labs, but it does help in clarifying how scientists go about their estimates of distance/mass/etc. I'd say math is neccessary for the survival of science. xD I appreciate math. A lot more.

M100 - Messier Object Research

M100 is a spiral galaxy about 60,000 klys away from earth, located at 12 hours and +15 degrees in the celestial sphere, right in the Virgo cluster. It is in the southern part of Coma Berenices and is most visible in May, around 9pm. This galaxy, also referred to as NCG 4321 (but does not have a common name), is a galaxy that faces us head-on, showing a spiral of bluish arms, indicating that the galaxy is pretty young. The shape of the galaxy is slightly unbalanced, indicating that there could be interactions with nearby galaxies. The galaxy is about 160,000 light years across and was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1781. It has one satellite galaxy, NGC 4323, within it. The apparent magnitude of M100 is 9.3. The Hubble Space Telescope has imaged this galaxy a lot, which led to the discovery of cepheids about 56 million light years away, which helped to determine how far away M100 is. A standard telescope or some good astronomic binoculars are required to see it. It has five discovered supernovas, one discovered as early as 1901, and the most recent in 2006.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Week 8 Reflection

Whoo! A test already... I'm not too solid on the math, but I will do my best to suffer through it. The rest of it, though, isn't too bad... mostly just vocabulary and linking ideas together. Three more weeks of school then finals...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homework Ch 10-13

1. 76.92 parsecs

3. a) 3.35 x 10^28

4. Star A: 4 x 10^12, Star B: 3.8 x 10^13

8. 316 parsecs

10. The greater the mass, the greater the lifespan.. brighter the star, the shorter it will be.

1. How many times brighter is: a 5th magnitude than a 10th magnitude: 100 times.
2. 7th than 17th: 10,000 (10... so 100 x 100)
3. 3rd than 5th: 2.5 x 2.5 = 6.25 times
4. 3rd than 6.5th: 19.5 apprx
5. 12th than 22.5: 125 times
6. What is the magnitude of the star if it is 100 times dimmer than a 12th? 22nd magnitude star
7. 10,000 times brighter than 12th mag: -8 magnitude (-20)

Week 8 Sky Journal

Wednesday night I drove to my sisters at about 7:30. The moon was pretty high already, about 35 or 40 degrees altitude and 200 degrees azimuth. It was about an 1/8 of the way full, a lovely little crescent. I could see some stars too, but since I was driving I couldn't really check them out that well. I think I'll do this entry in two parts and come back tonight and add some stars I've seen, if the night sky is clear enough. : )

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cepheid Yardstick Lab

1. Click on the image to make it larger. : )

2. The higher the apparent the magnitude, the shorter the period.
3. Between 15.70 and 15.9
4. -3.11| (5-5log(265) = -7.11, +4 = -3.11) = absolute magnitude of delta-Cephei
5. 60,534 parsecs. (15.8 - (-3.11) + 5 ) / 5 = 4.782, 10^4.782 = 60,534
6. It's only off by 500 parsecs.. haha. : D I'm sure I estimated poorly on the magnitude, and the other data could have variances, but it came close enough.


This applies to the current chapters because of the distance calculations, magnitude problems, and all that other good stuff. The "standard candle" thing is also an important concept to grasp, considering that they help determine the hardest to determine part of a star: the distance it is away from us. The math in the lab was mostly done for us, which was nice, but it did take me a few tries to sort out WHICH numbers to plug in. I wish the stars had more distinct names or something. I should have given them nicknames so I wouldn't get messed up.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekly Reflection 7

This chapter isn't going too horribly, thank goodness. I don't have much to say regarding what I'm having difficulty in... the HR diagram and all that is a still a little fuzzy, but I'll be fine come test time. Only 3 or 4 more weeks left, right? : ) Not too bad.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sky Journal Week 7

It's actually clear out tonight! I'm wearing my incredibly warm and soft new blanket to sit outside in my driveway and look at the stars. All the lights are off, and it's just me and them.
I'm still bad at picking out constellations without my droid, but I could see Cassiopeia, the north star, and one of the dippers.

The moon was pretty much a new moon... tiny sliver.

Stellar Evolution APOD

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

This is an image of presumed black hole taken with x-rays. It's incredibly bright and is found in constellation of the Swan Cygnus. The bright blue to the left is a star, with an estimated 30 times the mass of our sun. Apparently, this candidate for a black hole was formed without a supernova, so astronomers aren't sure if it actually IS a black hole. The picture above is an artist's interpretation of the system, but it based off of the viewable processes occuring in the system. It is viewable with a regular telescope, but not with this detail.

Black holes have incredibly strong gravitational pulls and are only viewable from the movement of celestial things around it. They don't reflect any light so they appear to be solid and black, even though they are made, essentially, of nothingness. They also radiate, and the temperature goes down as the mass of the black hole goes up, so it's nearly impossible to detect radiation from black holes born of stellar mass. Astronomers spectate that at the center of the Milky Way galaxy a supermassive black hole is pulling everything to itself. Since black holes have no viewable surface, the point where any event on the other side is not viewable to the observer is called the "event horizon". No light or matter emitted beyond the horizon is viewable past the event horizon.

We've been studying the evolution of stars, and this APOD is very much in that line of study. I'd say it's a prime example of the fact that astronomers really aren't sure about a lot of stuff, but in the long run it doesn't matter (but it is interesting and neccessary for feeding curious minds), because we probably aren't going to get sucked into the candidate any time soon.

Sagittarius Constellation Research

Sagittarius is a constellation of the zodiac, one of the 13 constellations that are blocked out by the sun at a certain time of the year, namely summer. The sun covers it during later November through December, and is visible at our latitude during the month of August, around 9pm. It is at 19 hours ascension and -25 degrees declination. Sagittarius is one of the gateways into the center of the galaxy- the milky way is the densest as it is seen through the constellation. It also has 3 nebulae- the Omega (Swan or Horseshoe nebula) nebula, the Trifid Nebula, and the Lagoon Nebula. There is also a possible black hole somewhere around there as well.

Sagittarius comes from the Greek mythology of an centaur archer- the name is “archer” in Latin: the Babylonians though Sagittarius to be the god Pabilsag, an archer, shaped like a centaur-like creature. In many images of this beast, it has 2 heads, wings, one human head and one panther head, a horse tail, AND a scorpion tail. The Babylonian name comes from “Pabil” and “Sag”, names that elude to “chief ancestor” in meaning. In greek mythology, it is just a centaur- a half-man, half-horse beast. It is said that Sagittarius used to be a centaur at some point but then changed himself into a horse in order to escape a jealous wife. The “arrow” of the constellation points toward the heart of the scorption, or the star “Antares”.

It has 9 bright stars, but only 6 will be discussed. Delta Sagittari, which is 306 light years from earth and has an apparent magnitude of +2.72, has a spectral type of K3. Zeta Sagittari has a spectral class of A2 and an apparent magnitude of +3.26 and is about 90 light years from Earth. Phi Sagittari is a spectral type B8 star with an apparent magnitude of +3.17 and is about 231 light years away from Earth. Lambda Sagittari (also called Kaus Borealis) has a spectral class of K, is 77 light years away from Earth, and has an apparent magnitude of +2.82. Gamma Sagittari has a spectral type of K and is about 95 light years from earth, with an apparent magnitude of +2.98. Epsilon is a binary star that has an apparent magnitude of 1.79, and it resides 145 light years away with a spectral type of B9.5. Epsilon also has a smaller neighbor star called Epsilon Sagittarii B, with a very feint magnitude.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sky Journal Week 6

I'm in bed as I type this. i just used google sky again, and noticed that at the zenith from where i am that Andromeda is right up there above my head. Kinda cool, seeing what I could be seeing if it were a clear night and I could get rid of the roof of my house.

Weekly Reflection 6

I can't believe it's already week 7! Amazing. xD

I'm still struggling with the HR diagram, but I think I'm just going to sit down and write down the concepts like "redder = hotter", etc, that sort of thing. Last week was pretty good- the test went well, and I feel comfortable with last chapter's material, mostly. : )

Cluster Color/Magnitude and Age of Stars Lab

I THINK you can click on the image to make it larger, but here it is... in Excel. : D Good idea. (I added the pinkness to make it pretty.)

1. Done. :D
2. Clusters are sometimes in the same plane, or the same distance away, so its easier to group them by their APPARENT brightness to compare them.

I THINK. XD I really don't know.. I tried to apply stuff, but I could be wrong. Brighter, yes, but have more red/less heat?

4. M45, right? : ) They're overall more bright.
5. M45 is brighter, and therefore younger. It's between a couple thousand years and a couple million years old (the color thing is at the bottom of this chart...) The higher the color index, the less bright the star is. 47 Tuc is about a million or a couple hundred million years old.

6. Because the clusters aren't in the right place?

REFLECTION: Some of the theoretical and "logic-based" questions are still challenging, like number 6.. I pretty much just guessed and have no idea. I could come up with other guesses, but I don't know if they'd be any better.

APPLICATION: We're learning all about classifying stars- this is just another exercise in solidifying some of the types of stars there are. Although its similar to the HR diagram, the arrangement and the criteria used to categorize the stars are different.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spectral Classification of Stars Lab

1. Briefly describe the spectra.
PANEL 1: Mostly short wavelengths- a very hot star, with the peak of the curve around the violet-blue area. There are absorption lines to the longer wavelengths side.
PANEL 2: Max temperature at the far end of the spectrum on the short side, with many absorption lines to the right, near the longer wavelengths again. This looks like its a very very hot star as well. The curve is not really a bell-shaped one because it just stars at the highest point and goes down.
PANEL 3: A LOT of absorption lines at the longer-wavelength side, lots of dips, peaks around 4000, so it's pretty hot again... and will glow blue. XD
PANEL 4: Steep slope peaking at 4000, will glow blueish, some absorption lines at the longer wavelength side.
PANEL 5: Somewhat of a peak around 6000, some absorption lines in the longer wavelength side, lots of irregularity in the curve.. hard to tell exactly where the peak is at.
PANEL 6: Very high temperatures for the top star, peak around 4500, absorption lines to the right near the longer wavelength side.

OVERALL: the lines vary in depth and proximity, but all of the graphs have absorption gaps/lines to the longer-wavelength side of the spectrum. They usually peak before 6000, and some start lower and go higher, or start from higher and just go down in a curve.

2. A: 4 B: 3 F: 1 K: 6 M: 2 O: 5

3. PANEL 1: 4200 apprx | PANEL 2: 3600 apprx | PANEL 3: 4100 apprx | PANEL 4: 3950 apprx | PANEL 5: 5950 apprx | PANEL 6: 4500 apprx.

4. Hottest: Panel 2 | Coolest: Panel 5 (or 1.)

Panel 2, panel 3, panel 6, panel 4, panel 1, panel 5.

5. Nope, they are not the same. M, B, K, A, F, O. (Not sure if I understand what they're asking here.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sky Journal Week 5

I didn't get a chance to record anything. : ( Maybe I'll do two entries this week to make up for the lack of brain stimulation.

Apollo 13 EC Notes

This is my makeshift Cornell notes.

1. Why was this Jim Lovell's last mission?
2. What went wrong BEFORE the launch?
3. What went wrong at the beginning the flight to the moon?
4. What happened because of that?
5. Did anything bad happen to the crew members physically?
6. What type of filter breaks?
7. Because of the lack of energy able to be used, what did the crew have to do to get back to earth?
8. What did the left-behind crew member do to help them get back to earth?
9. Did they get back safely? Describe.
10. What was the media attention to all of this?
11. How did Lovell's family react?

1. He wanted his last mission to be where he could stand on the moon.
2. A lab report came back reporting that the main pilot had measles and was unfit to go into space because the worst and feverish part of it would come in transit to the moon and could possibly inhibit brain functioning, impairing the mission. Some other foreshadowing with practicing simulations with the substitute member occur as well.
3. When a routine checkup was performed, a coil blew and caused an entire tank of oxygen to combust - this limited the air supply even further.
4. The energy supply and oxygen supply are depleted so greatly that the crew has to switch to the machine intended for the descent to moon.
5. No physical injuries are obtained, but one crew member is nearly frozen because they have to conserve enough energy to get back to Earth.
6. A carbon filter breaks and causes the levels to rise a lot. Since there is no replacement filter, the people back at Houston have to come up with a makeshift filter for them out of only stuff found on the ship. They succeed, and the crew on the Odyssey makes it in time.
7. The crew has to use the moon's gravity to swing them back into the direction of earth. Houston also has to develop a sequence to start the ship meant to land on the moon (which only had enough energy and oxygen for 2 people and a simple trip from the moon back to the main ship) back up that uses as little of energy as possible and leaves enough left for the crew to steer the ship in the right direction in order to enter the atmosphere again and to deploy the parachutes.
8. He helps develop the sequence with which to turn the ship back on with the least amount of energy used, and probably boosts a little morale.
9. Yes, they returned safely. They landed pretty much in target and made it through the atmosphere, deployed the parachutes, and didn't obtain any more physical damage beyond scratches and bruises from the impact. They landed in a body of water and were rescued immediately with a helicopter.
10. At the beginning, there wasn't that much media attention- just the routine stuff, like "They're going into space again, to the moon..", and the guys in the spaceship at the beginning send a "broadcast" describing what its like in space that doesn't actually get aired. Later, the media jumps all over it and tries to keep up with all of the technical difficulties and the statistics of what has failed and the probability of them getting back, etc.
11. There was plenty of nail biting and worriedness, especially when they were due to get through the atmosphere. There was a supposed "3 minute" time limit, and Apollo 13 went over by a minute or two, which caused a LOT of panic and pain for the family. But when they came through and were visible, it was like a huge sigh of relief.

A routine mission with the unlucky name of "Apollo 13" begins to go awry 3 months before departure with several kinks and foreshadowing in the film. The launch goes fine, until about a day in- things start going wrong right and left, with tanks exploding, energy leaking, and all sorts of things. The crew ends up getting back safely, but only barely. The movie is based off the book by one of the surviving astronauts, Jim Lovell.

Weekly Reflection 5

I don't think I ready for the next test quite yet. I know how to use the equations and such, but I have difficulty actually finding what needs to go into the equation. I think I finally figured out how to use the appendices in the back to find the surface gravity and such, but other than that... ack.

Problem areas:
1) The homework. The logic behind the homework. Where the heck do some of the numbers come from? What data from the appendices are you supposed to use?
2) The tides are still a little shifty - I have the basic concepts, but not stuff with the CALCULATING the tide/weight/etc problems.

Homework Ch 4, 5, and 9

Chapter 4:
p. 130: #3, 8, and 9

3) 3 kg on Ceres.
8)128 planetesimals. (127.56 to be more exact), probably more in order to get the correct density... not sure about this one.
9) 2,500 comets per year over 500 million years.

Chapter 5:
p. 158m: #2,4

2) 1/5 of the weight. (30kg on moon vs. 150kg on earth).

Solar Spectra Lab Reflection

I didn't have much difficulty with this - in the beginning, just knowing what to do initially was a little confusing, but once I got going it was rather simple. The questions weren't particularly taxing, either, except for number 3. I can think of a more complex step to insure that the lines A and B are caused by the earth's atmosphere, but a simple one didn't come to mind, so I don't now if I got that one right or not. XD

It applies to the current unit because of chapter 9, which is all about the sun. It mentions the elements in the sun, and this lab has many similarities to that. It also gives an idea of what elements block what wavelengths, etc.

Solar Spectra Lab

PART A and B
< --------

1) The image isn't set up to do that- there are margins on the image that should be taken into account.
2) It looks like most of the light came from hydrogen, but a lot of it came from heavier elements like iron and sodium. So, no, not really dependent on this composition, unless there are some mistakes.
3) Well, a not-so-simple step could be to check what the spectra sensors say in space, outside of the atmosphere, about the solar spectra and compare it to the spectra sensor on earth.
4) The thicker lines means that there is more of that gas blocking the light, so in a sense, it is "stronger" because it's absorbing more.
5) Of course! The discrepancy ranged from 5-30 or so nanometers away.
6) I'm sure that each element has a range of wavelengths it emits, since we don't have 500 or more elements to each have its own specific wavelength. The wavelength measurements were hard to get because the image was small enough that one could not be very specific in the clicking to find the coordinates. One must consider whether to click on the edge of the line or the middle of the line, and that sort of thing. The scale factor was determined to be very close to 0.30, so there wasn't a huge percent error in that calculation. These factors didn't have a very large affect on the calculated results- the calculated results were off because each element has a wavelength set of light that it could emit.

Reflection for Properties of the Sun Lab

It was quite interesting seeing how the calculations could be made. Although we were just using pixels and such and don't REALLY know the true width of the sun using the lab (aka we didn't do fancy angle measurements and stuff), it was still rather fun to see what we could figure out about the rotation of the sun and the height of those gigantic prominences. It was especially interesting to see how FAST stuff around the sun moves! It makes it look like it's moving slowly, but since it's so huge, it's actually incredibly fast (just like the earth- its moving hundreds of miles per day, yet it seems like we're stationary). Anyway, I came to the conclusion that the sun is gigantic and very hot, and has lots of interesting things on its surface that move in a very quick manner.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Properties of the Sun Lab

1. They move to the east, indicating that the sun rotates counter clockwise.

They both rotate counterclockwise. The earth rotates counterclockwise in a counterclockwise orbit around the sun, which also rotates counterclockwise.
A possible reason could be that the sun and earth came from the same original source, but developed differently.

3. Image scale: 1.4mil/424px, or 3301.89 km/pixel.
4. It moved 49 pixels.
5. 162,321 km. (plug and chug, huhuhuhu.)
6. P (days)/1 day = 2pi7mil/162,321 = 27 P (days).
7. 49 pixels within about 4 pixels... 4/49 = 8% error.
8. 27 days, +/- 2 days. (0.08 x 27 = 2.16)


1. Done.
2. Image scale: 14,737 km per px. (1.4 mil/95px)
3. 16 pixels, or 235,792 km
4. 18.7 pixels, or 275,582 km
5. 275,582 - 235,792 = 39,790 km change in height.
6. 14 hours and 53 minutes. : )
7. 1672 mph. (39,790km/893 mins ====> 44.56km/1 min ====> 2673.6 km/1 hour.
2673.6 km = 1671 mi, so 1672 mph.) It's really fast.. at least 4 times greater than a commercial jet, and at least 2 times the speed of sound.


Solar Research (Question #2)

Solar win, earth’s magnetosphere, and electron transitions work together to create something that many people only see in pictures: an aurora. Earth can usually see two auroras, positioned at the north and south poles, called “aurora borealis” and “aurora australis” respectively. Auroras are caused by the fluctuation and motion of the sun’s solar wind, a constant stream of particle extending from the sun’s magnetic field, and the earth’s magnetosphere, the protective shield produced from the magnetic pulls of the earth and centered around the north and south poles. The solar wind moves at a rate of 250 miles per second away from the sun, fast enough to break free of the magnetic field and continue towards earth. As shown in the picture below, the shape of the magnetic field from earth would be less squashed on the side closest to the sun if it weren’t for the solar wind. When the earth’s magnetic field and the sun’s solar wind interact, an aurora can be seen only at the north and south poles, where the magnetic pull of the magnetosphere are most apparent and originate.

When this interaction occurs, electrons and protons from the atmospheric gases smash together, and a display of lights occurs in patterns in the sky between 60-155 miles above the earth. When an atom becomes excited and begins to promote and demote electrons, a light is emitted at various frequencies according to the element. For example, oxygen gives of a greenish yellow light, nitrogen gives off violet-blue light, and at lower altitudes the two gases together give off a bright red. When the three are combined, they create the colors we see in auroras most commonly.

Aurora and meteor

APOD Photo #2

August 13, 2009

This is a picture taken from the probe on Mars' surface. The rock in the center was oddly out of place in the vast landscape of flatness, and upon further analyzation of chemical/density/all that, it was identified as a fallen meteorite. It was called "Block Island" and was made of mostly iron and nickel. You could say it fits into the nebular theory, seeing as the foreign materials from the meteorite could have been a fragment from the nebula. Seeing as it was a meteorite, it fits in with the meteorite lab (as one can observe, there isn't much of an impact area around the meteorite, suggesting that the surface of mars is incredibly solid, or the object didn't have much velocity).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekly Reflection 4

Sorry it's a bit late... I've been so busy lately. XD All of my courses have a lot of homework all of a sudden.

Anyway, I've learned QUITE a bit from the lecture today, so I am much more confident in satellite motion. I still haven't done the meteorite lab.. still no time. I'm probably going to do it tomorrow, but if I don't find time even then, I'll just send an e-mail and ask if I can do it sometime when I have access to all the materials and before the next test.

The labs have been only slightly useful in demonstrating the concepts behind satellite motion. The real stuff that helped me understand were the lab QUESTIONS. Having to reason through them and figure out how the laws pertain to motion in the universe is really interesting and gratifying when I finally understand how everything meshes together. I learn best through memorization of concepts, not memorization of phrases and such. I think that I still have brain overload because this is my first time through anything related to physics, but I'm slowly getting it. : )

Sky Journal Week 4

Not a lot has changed other than the phase of the moon (it's a waxing gibbus right now) I saw a man-made satellite and am proud to know that I know how that little thing is staying in orbit. : )

Looking at Google Sky, I can see that Polaris has changed slightly from last week, too... we're getting closer and closer to winter. From where I'm sitting, it's up at about 80 degrees to the left of me.

Not sure what else to say this week.. the skies are getting cloudy again. Google Sky is my hero once again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Satellite Motion Lab POST LAB Questions

1. An object becomes a satellite when it orbits an object with a larger mass/gravitational pull.

2. The earth is curved, and an object has to be moving at a very fast rate in order to drop that distance and not actually fall into the planet - they say that the measurement for the curve of earth is that for every 8000km, the horizon drops about 5 meters, so the object is actually orbiting the earth instead of "dropping".

3. Inside the atmosphere, an object would have to maintain constant motion itself (like using energy like a jet engine or something similar) than just using gravity and the curve of earth to stay in orbit. The orbital path would eventually "decay" because the ratio of dropping to speed would change in short periods of time, and would slow down enough not to maintain the orbit. (Newton's 1st law - the object would have stayed in motion unless earth's gravity hadn't have interefered too much to inhibit the orbit.) The slowing is caused by the friction of the atmosphere.

4. Gravity is constant, and there is no friction in outer space. The gravity continuously pulls the satellite to the center of mass, but inertia keeps it moving around. This is only true in circular orbits. In elliptical orbits, the speed of the satellite changes depending on the speed initially and its relative position to the center of mass.

5. Kepler: Using Kepler's second law of planetary motion, the area covered by the arc of motion and the lines connecting the two bodies are equal to all other areas covered in the same amount of time. Using this, one must determine that the speed of the orbit changes in order to maintain the same amount of area covered in the same amount of time. Since this applies to ellipses, the satellite isn't the same distance away from the center of mass the entire orbit, like in a circle, so the speed HAS to change in order to keep Kepler's second law.

Newton: Using the law of inertia, one can explain why the speed of an elliptical orbit changes. Since the center of mass and the satellite are not the same distance from each other throughout the orbit, the centrifugal/centripetal forces will react with each other in a different way. The farther away the satellite is from the center of the centripetal force, the less that force affects the satellite's orbit. The close the satellite is, the greater the effect of the force, and the greater the speed of the satellite is. When the satellite is closest to the center of mass, it moves the fastest.

These are true in all elliptical cases... however, the speed of a circular orbit never changes.

Using the equation, one can see that the greater the distance between the center of mass and the satellite, the less the velocity (or speed). Therefore, the smaller the distance, the greater the velocity.

Some really helpful sites that may be useful for other students as well:

6. When the satellite slows, it is merely using less energy to move than if it were closer to the center of mass. When it is closer, the satellite gains energy from moving (kinetic), then turns into potential energy as it slows down. The potential is then used to get back closer to the center of mass. The total amount of energy, whether it is kinetic or potential, never changes though.

7. The "escape speed" is the amount of velocity required to free an object from the surface gravity of the launching site. In earth's case, 11km/sec is required to get away from earth and not get pulled back because of gravity. The distance, the mass of both bodies, and the amount of friction in the atmosphere all affect the success.

8. The escape velocity for earth is 11km/sec at LEAST. It is not the same for all planets because they all have different amounts of gravity. The moon requires a lesser amount of speed to defy its gravity than the earth.

Escape velocity of the moon: 2.4 km/sec
Escape velocity of Jupiter: 59 km/sec
(both calculated on paper)

9. The surface gravity for all planets are different. Their masses are all different, so the gravity is different. It is calculated using the gravity constant x the mass of the object all divided by the radius of the object squared.

10. Moon: 1.627m/s^2, yes, I calculated 1.63m/s^2.
Jupiter: 24.79m/s^2, calculated 24.8m/s^2.

I used the masses/radii/gravity constant found on Google.

11. For a satellite's orbit to decay, there must be friction occurring that slows the satellite down enough to the point where it cannot orbit anymore and instead falls into the gravitational pull of the center of mass.

Satellite Motion Lab


1. Gravity keeps the satellite from leaving orbit.
2. If an object goes into orbit around something larger or something that has a larger gravitational force (usually something larger/with more mass)
3. A circular satellite orbits in a circle, while an elliptical satellite goes in a more oblong motion.
4. Centripetal force is the force that causes the satellite to move towards the center, while centrifugal force is basically inertia.
5. Centrifugal force keeps the object wanting to go in a straight line, but the centripetal force causes it to orbit. They work together to obtain a consistent orbit using inward and outward/straight motion playing against each other.


Change of radius: 62.6 cm - 1.66 rotations per second | 76.2 cm - 1.58 rotations per second | 84.6 cm - 1.46 rotations per second. MASS: 200g for all radii.

Change of mass: 150 g - 2.17 rotations per second | 200 g - 1.88 rotations per second | 250 g - 1.79 rotations per second RADIUS: 51 cm for all masses.

CONCLUSION: Based on the graphs, one can conclude that as the radius goes up, the rotations per second goes down - as well as the amount traveled in one second (aka, the larger the radius, the faster the object moves). As the mass goes up, the satellite slows in its rotation.

Measured mass of stopper: 28.9 g
Calculated AVERAGE mass of stopper: 26.4 g

An example of the procedure.
v = d/t ||| (2π x 0.51m) / .578 (average number of rotations per second) = 5.54 m/sec
a = v^2/r ||| 5.54^2 / 0.51m = 60.18
f = m x a ||| mass (unknown) = 1.96 /60.18 = .033, or 33 grams
.2kg (mass of 200g) into newtons = 1.96 newtons.

1. Mass 1: 33 g (200g, 51cm)
2. Mass 2: 37 g (250g, 51cm)
3. Mass 3: 16 g (150g, 51cm)
4. Mass 4: 21.5 g (200g, 76cm)
5. Mass 5: 27 g (200g, 63cm)
6. Mass 6: 24 g (200g, 85cm)

Average mass: 26.4 g

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekly Reflection 3

Test week went pretty well. I'm not sure if I really understood some of the concepts going into it, but I definitely got better at determining certain things after going over the test today. I hope to be able to understand the material well enough to have a good base for chapters to come.

Concepts I'm still partially struggling with:
the spectra stuff (I know the basics)
some of the mathematics (like the gravity things - what measurement can we use for the distance between mars/sun, earth/sun, etc?)
other logic-based things like the position of stars at certain times of day/year

I think that by the end of the quarter I will be able to understand these things better just by spending more time with them. : )

Spectra Lab Reflection

This lab really helped to solidify the concepts.. seeing the difference between emission and continuous spectra and being able to see first hand actual emission lines was really interesting. I hope I understood the material well enough to answer the lab correctly... I had to look up many of the answers on the internet, but oh well. That's what the internet is for half of the time anyway. I still don't understand some things, but I think I will be able to get it better when I spend more time with the material.

Spectra Lab

HELIUM | emission | one of each color except cyan/green
HYDROGEN | emission | one of red, cyan, indigo, violet.
INCANDESCENT | continuous | all visible
FLUORESCENT | continuous | all visible
MYSTERY LAMP | emission | one of red, cyan, indigo, violet
SOLAR | continuous | all visible

1. The mystery gas was hydrogen.
2. Mercury vapor.
3. Red filter: We saw all the colors still, but you're only supposed to see red (it blocks out all other colors except red) | Blue filter: Same. We saw all, only supposed to be blue. | Green: We couldn't find a green filter, but one would assume the results would be similar.
4. Neon lights of different colors do not contain neon: true neon glows red, but often neon lights are made with other gases that either glow different colors or tint the glass a different color with a white glowing gas.
5. Every wavelength has some absorption lines, but they're small pieces- one must consider that the light is travelling through millions of miles as well as the atmosphere.

Absorption lines are the tiny lines that are missing when a continuous light source is shone through the cold gas. Emission lines are the lines corresponding to the missing places that are shown when the gas itself is heated and emits light.


Emission is when the electrons fall to a lower energy level- they emit photons, causing the glowing-ness we see.

Absorption is when the electrons are promoted to a higher energy level, usually caused by an outside source of energy, like heat.

8. Emission lines are discreet and specific wavelengths of light are emitted- in continuum radiation, the light source emits light at all wavelengths.

Helium - only certain wavelengths show up.
Sunlight (many, many gases, etc) - all wavelengths show up.

I made all of these little examples myself in Sai, a painting program I use. : ) I didn't just find them on the internet.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Telescope Research

The Hubble Telescope was named after Edwin Hubble, an astronomer in the 1920's who discovered many important foundations for astronomers today. The telescope, which weighs 25,000 pounds, has been in orbit around Earth for over 20 years and has had several missions to repair it. It is one of the only in-space telescopes and can take clear pictures billions of light years away - a near unfathomable distance. The telescope was sent up in 1990 and since then has sent numerous images that have been claimed as astronomic classics - pictures easily recognizable in any science textbook. Its purpose was to see what was beyond on our galaxy, and it accomplished that and beyond- we now know how many billions and trillions of galaxies are out there.

It's 7 feet 10 inches in diameter and has 48 square feet of collecting area. The focal length is 189 feet. It has an infrared camera/spectrometer, a nearly failed optical survey camera, and several other types of spectrometers and cameras.
It functions with a mirror, classifying it as a "reflector" telescope (optical).

To see an interactive (ish) diagram of how Hubble works, click here.
The telescope itself:

Some stunning images taken by Hubble:

This Hubble photo is of a small portion of one of the largest-seen star-birth regions in the galaxy, the Carina Nebula. Towers of cool hydrogen laced with dust rise from the wall of the nebula.
The Carina nebula, a birthplace of galaxies, sometimes referred to as a "nursery".

Hubble Maps Dark Matter in Galaxy Cluster
An gigantic cluster of galaxies located over 2 billion light years away.

Colliding Galaxies

Neat Video to Watch:

All information was found on the official NASA Hubble site. (Wikipedia was used for the dimensions, which I assume were found on the official site as well).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sky Journal Week 3

My mom came in from the hot tub a few minutes ago and asked if I had any assignments that required me to view the night sky. I told her about the sky journal and she showed me what she thought was Venus.. good guess, but upon using GoogleSky, I found that it was Jupiter! At about 150 azimuth and 30 altitude, it was extremely bright and more "round" than the stars. Apparently Uranus is almost directly in line with Jupiter as well, but obviously not viewable by the naked eye.

I also saw many constellations- my mother pointed out Cassiopeia and I also saw the little dipper and some other stuff. Most likely, if it weren't for that handy dandy app on the droid, I wouldn't have been able to actually identify most of what I saw.. eventually, as I continue to observe the sky, I will be able to navigate around it successfully without the aide of an electronic device.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekly Reflection 2

I haven't learned a ton of new material this week regarding math, because I've already done it in recent quarters. I still need to review the chapters again before the next test, but other than that, I'm not having any troubles. I downloaded GoogleSky for my droid this week, too, which is like having a planetarium in your pocket at all times. I can actually "look through" the earth at the stars that the souther hemisphere can see! If you ever get a droid, I reccomend it. I think you might be able to access it online as well.

I also really like the sky journals because it makes me actually look at the sky at night, and that can be really mind-blowing at times. The sky is so crazy and infinite and I'm really excited to learn more about the stars, nebulae, galaxies, and black holes.

Scientific Methods Lab

PART 1: Scientific Notation

A. 9.3 x 10^12
B. 7.7792 x 10^11
C. 6.1134 x 10^23

PART 2: Measurement Errors and Uncertainties

A. ----------
1) Blue: 420 nm, Yellow: 580 nm, Red: 650 nm
2) 0-20 nm off... not very accurate at all. All estimates with just eyeballing and no actual measuring.
3) By measuring the specific distances and how they relate to the 100nm markers.
4) Yellow/Blue: 2.5 cm +/- .05 cm | Yellow/Red: 1.8 cm, +/- 0.05 cm | Blue/Red: 5.3 cm, +/- 0.05 cm
5) Average: 0.426 scale factor (nm/mm)
6) Yes- they estimated their distances differently and used (possibly) different units, giving results that are mostly different.
C. ----------
Accurate: Like getting a bull's-eye. Right on target measurements, etc.. like a result being close or right on to the "pre-measured" and official result.
Precise: Getting the same sort of answer every time, but not neccessarily right on the official result. Consistent.

Galaxy Measurements, etc.
1. I used the thinnest part of the galaxy as the criteria for determining the diameter.
2. ------
a) Yes- if one measures the width one then the height for another galaxy, the sizes won't be similar and the supposed distance won't be able to be calculated.
b) No- as long as they were consistent and that eventual results were similar, it shouldn't matter, unless the galaxies aren't similar in shape.
3. I used a piece of paper and made marks on it then compared those measured marks to the other marks and determined the relative sizes/distances of the galaxies.
4. ------
a) Nearest: First one, Farthest: second one
b) About 6 times as far (using the criteria in the beginning)
c) One would have to assume that the original astronomer's postulate was true, and the photographs were taken from the same place/time on earth with the same amount of zoom on the telescope, etc.

Graphing Star Magnitude
1. I used my calculator to do this (I just took precalc so I know how to do it. : D)
2. y = -2.63x+5.6 (best fit line on calculator.. didn't hand calculate it)
3. -----
a) -2.63 = m
b) Yes. I use it a lot.
c) Yes, that makes sense.

PART 3: Significant Digits

A. ----
1) 2 sig figs
2) 5 sig figs
3) 1 sig fig
4) 3 sig figs

B. 78,801,312... 1 sig fig (from 4,000)... 8x10^4 or 80,000.

Homework Ch E and Ch 1

PART ONE Dimensional Analysis

1. 0.9375 mi (sig figs: 0.94 miles)
2. 245.12 km/h (s.f.: 245.1 km/h)
3. 9.89 ft/second
4. 1,008 minutes
5. 5,628 km/min (s.f.: 5,630 km/min)
6. 55.08 km/h (s.f.: 55.1 km/h)
7. 54.72 km (s.f.: 54.7 km)
8. 2.72 x 10^-5
9. 49.68 km/h (s.f.: 49.7 km/h)
10. 2.51 x 10^4
11. 5.76 km/h

Astronomy Problems using Dimensional Analysis

1. 4,444 m/s, 16,000 k/h
2. a) 4.134 x 10^13 km b) 1.34 parsecs c) 163,748.19 years at 8km/sec, or 1.6 x 10^5 years.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reflection for Celestial Sphere lab

I'd say I knew a lot of the basics of why we have seasons and equinoxes before this lab, but being able to see them illustrated was very useful for solidifying ideas. I'm still having issues with positioning sunrise and sunset, so I'm sure there are a few mistakes in that area, but other than that, I think I've learned what I was meant to learn. : )

Celestial Sphere Lab

Star Motion from Different Points of View

1. March 20ish
2. September 20ish
3. 20-25% in June
3. They move to the left, same stars, mostly, rotating the field of vision.
4. Moving to the left, but the sky shifts a lot more, different stars. During the year, one would expect to be able to see all of the stars (viewable from the Earth) at some point from the equator, or at least close to that amount.
5. Sept 25th ish
6. December 20th ish
7. 67 degrees
8. They move to the left, in an arc, more than the north pole but less than the equator (smaller arc of movement).
9. The closer you get to a pole, the less field of vision you have- at the equator, you see more stars in a smoother, broader motion.

Reflection: I drew a sphere on my paper to help myself visualize it- when a ball rotates, the center of rotation is narrowed at the north and south "poles" of the sphere, where the middle is a much broader kind of rotation, even though the entire sphere is "rotating" at the same speed. So, as a result, the north and south poles get a smaller field of vision compared to the middle of the sphere.

Stars and Constellations

10. RA: 18.5 hours, Dec: 40 degrees
11. Betelgeuse
12. Orion
13. Castor
14. Antares
15. RA: 12 hrs, Dec: -3 degrees
16. Canis Major- 6.8 hours, -18 degrees
17. 17.7 hrs, -30 degrees
18. the outer edge (as opposed to the middle of the galaxy)
19. Crab Nebula
20. a) Indus b) Aquarius c) Andromeda d) Piscis Austrinus e) Grus
21. Saggitarius
22. Virgo
23. Cancer
24. The sun is blocking out the astrological constellation in that specific time frame.
25. The numerical value increases.
26. Polaris
27. 1.6-2.5 magnitude
28. Apprx. 7 stars
29. Dubhe
30. Alpha
31. Merak
32. Variable star
33. it is a cluster of stars (listed as "Multiple Stars" in the key)
34. 55 degrees
35. Ursa Major
36. The two brightest - Merak and Dubhe. It's not on the ecliptic.
37. 28 degrees
38. It looks like the letter "C".
39. Zero hours, maybe 5 minutes or so.

Observer Based Coordinate System

40. Done
41. Alt: 45, Azi: 75
42. Alt: 30, Azi: 43
43. Alt: 55, Azi: 85
44. Sept 30
45. August 25
46. June 5
47. Jan 10
48. May 20
49. April 5
50. 5 degrees
51. October 17
52. 7 degrees
53. September 22 - lowest, March 21 - highest - The autumnal and vernal equinoxes, respectively.

WINTER SOLSTICE: Dec. 21 | 18hrs, -25 degrees | 8:30 am, 135 degrees SUNRISE | 5:30 pm, 240 degrees SUNSET | 45 degrees at noon | 9 hours out of 24 (9/24)

SUMMER SOLSTICE: June 21 | 6 hrs, 25 degrees | 5am, 100 degrees SUNRISE | 10pm, 260 degrees SUNSET | 85 degrees at noon | 17 hours out of 24 (17/24)

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX: Sept 21 | 12 hrs, 0 degrees | 6am, 90 degrees SUNRISE | 6pm, 270 degrees SUNSET | 12 hours out of 24 (1/2)

Predictions: March 21, 0 hours, 0 degrees, rises at 6am, sets at 6pm, same as Autumnal equinox, just on the other side of the sphere.

We have seasons because of the amount of light per day vs. the tilt of the earth and what angle the rays hit the earth at- although parts of Alaska might get 16 hours of sunlight, the temperatures are still very low compared to a place on the equator with 16 hours of sunlight.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sky Journal Week 2

I just finished playing Dungeons and Dragons with my sister and her husband and a few other odd people (her housemates and 2 other friends), and was driving home on Highway 20 going East between Anacortes and Burlington, in my dad's SUV because I was too lazy to fill my own car up with gas. As I was driving home, I noticed this huge yellow half circle hanging the sky. Yeah, the moon. Huge, and yellow, and half circular, being the moon. It was about 15 degrees altitude and almost 90 degrees azimuth.

I also saw the big dipper directly to the left, also looking very large, and almost directly north. It was an almost magical moment, having the big dipper to the left and a big yellow moon in front, and a lovely veil of mist covering everything making it very hard to see in some places. The sky, however was clear.

Time: 10:30pm or so.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Edwin Hubble

Edwin Hubble lived from November 20, 1889 to September 28, 1953, a time where astronomy and such was just getting popular and space exploration was just beginning. He is credited with many discoveries, such as the idea that the universe extends beyond the Milky Way, probably his most impacting discovery. In addition to seeing that the universe was vastly larger than previously noted, Edwin Hubble also discovered that other galaxies and celestial bodies were constantly moving at rates calculable with what is now called “Hubble’s Law”. His discoveries also led to the eventual (possible) calculation of the Big Bang Theory, which was calculable by finding the source/center of all the moving galaxies and their various rates in relation to each other.

He also discovered an asteroid, named “asteroid 1373 Cincinnati”, in August of 1935 in addition to writing a book on observational astronomy (mostly naked eye and some telescopic) and a book about nebulae. He spent a lot of his later years pushing for astronomy to be considered in the physics sector of the Nobel Prize, and shortly after his death, the Nobel Prize committee decided that work in the astronomical field could be considered for the physics prize. The current telescope, from which so many fascinating and mind-blowing pictures come from, The Hubble Space Telescope, was named after Edwin and his passion for astronomy.

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