Science 8 Week 17 Review: Astronomy Week 5

This week in astronomy I first learned about the differences between asterisms and constellations. The former is simply an arbitrary group of stars, while the latter means “a group of stars.” “Con” means together, and “stellar” means “of or pertaining to stars,” combined to make constellation, a group of stars. I learned that a constellation is technically a region of the sky, and that the sky is divided into 88 of these regions. I also learned about the diurnal motion of the earth’s axis, causing the asterisms to rise in the east and to set in the west. In addition, because the earth orbits around the sun on a yearly basis, different asterisms are visible at different times on the earth. For example, such asterisms as Leo, Virgo, and Cancer are some of the most prominent of the springtime.

I also learned of some well-known constellations, including Ursa Major, or The Great Bear. This constellation contains the Big Dipper, a famous asterism with a long handle that makes it look like a “dipper” for water. This asterism is important because it allows you to be able to find the Polaris star, or the North Star, by following the line made by the ladle of the Big Dipper. This can help you figure out where north is.

A galaxy, I learned, is a massive group of stars, planets, dark matter, and all of the empty space among them, all bound together by the galactic center of the galaxy. Each galaxy contains billions or even trillions of stars. The earth is in the Milky Way galaxy, so named because of the milky color caused by the stars. Of the some 500,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe, many billions of them are not observable without special equipment.

A final topic of note which I shall mention from this week’s astronomy lessons was the subject of black holes. A black hole is a “region of spacetime exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole.” Basically, a black hole can swallow everything around it, including light. These extremely powerful objects often form when a star runs out of fuel, causing the stars, which are commonly much larger than the earth, to condense to very great extremes, causing the force which becomes a black hole.

Thank you for reading!

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Science 8 Week 16 Review: Astronomy Week 4

This week in astronomy I learned about asteroids, meteors, comets, Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), and “blue stragglers.” I read about an asteroid that is merely 535 meters long, which is incredibly small for a space object. This makes it very difficult to find on a telescope. I also learned about the various names for a meteor, which are dependent upon the location of the object. A meteoroid is a small piece that falls off of an asteroid, or a space rock of less than 50 meters in diameter. If the meteoroid is in the earth’s atmosphere, it is now a meteor. If and when the meteor strikes the earth, it is then a meteorite.

I also learned that meteors, which are referred to commonly as “shooting stars” because of their appearance from earth, are not the same as comets. Comets are officially defined as, “a celestial object consisting of a nucleus of ice and dust and, when near the sun, a ‘tail’ of gas and dust particles pointing away from the sun.” They are rather nothing like their meteorite counterpart, which have a tendency to burn up in the earth’s atmosphere.

Another topic that I learned about in astronomy this week of note is the subject of Pluto. From the time of its discovery in 1930, Pluto was long believed to be a regular planet. In 2006, however, its status was changed to a dwarf planet. Later, it was changed to a Trans-Neptunian Object, or a TNO, along with Eris, another space object similar to Pluto. Pluto was originally discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 after a mysterious unknown planet in the solar system’s gravity was interfering with the orbits of Neptune and Uranus.

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Science 8 Week 15 Review: Astronomy Week 3

This week in science I learned about the miraculous uniformity and perfection of our universe, proving the existence of an all-knowing God. I learned about how the temperature and location of the earth in the universe, if mere miles or degrees off from its average, would likely cease all life on earth, in time. It is impossible to think that all of this could be created by an accidental explosion of sorts, or by whatever theory those who deny God’s existence may come up with.

In addition to the above, the articles I was assigned to read this week discussed such topics as the uniqueness of our solar system, the uniqueness of Earth, and the miraculous location of the sun. I also read an article that discussed astronomical distance measurements. An AU is an astronomical unit, which is the distance from Earth to the sun. Neptune, I learned, is about 30 AUs, or 2,790,000,000 miles, from the sun. Regarding the location of the sun, it is, as I have said, at a point where if it were just a bit closer to the earth, the planet would burn up quickly, and, if just a bit further from the earth, the latter would most certainly freeze to temperatures of 400 degrees below zero.

The last topic of note in the articles I read from and other sites was the topic of the origins of objects in the universe. I read the following on why “friction” could not have formed the universe.

Could random “friction” have resulted in the precise alignment of our planets? If so, why hasn’t this occurred anywhere else in the known universe?

Such theories on how the precise alignment of the planets was the result of so-called “friction” are not possible because it is simply impossible to believe that something so perfect and miraculous as our universe could come out of nothing. More proof that God really is the all-knowing Creator.

The Sun: What Makes it Special?

Colton Beckwith, Science 8 Lesson 67

What makes the sun so special? The sun is the most important object in the universe, and we often take it for granted. The sun’s diameter is roughly 100 times that of the earth, and its surface temperature (not even its internal temperature) is over 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Without the sun, the earth and everything on it would soon freeze to temperatures of around 400 degrees below zero. All would be pitch black. The sun provides life-sustaining heat and light for the earth. We would simply die if we did not have it.

Despite its being 93,000,000 miles away from the earth, the sun is actually the closest star to earth by an extreme distance, the closest other than the sun, Proxima Centauri, being over 2,000,000,000,000 miles away.

The sun is unique in many ways. One, the sun, being a star, is unique because over two-thirds of the stars in the universe are a part of a star system that has two or more stars; the sun is by itself. Another unique feature of the sun is its extreme temperature and brightness, compared to the vast majority of other stars in the universe are much dimmer and cooler than the sun.

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The Technology of the Hubble Space Telescope

Science 8 Lesson 66 Astronomy Assignment

From the NASA Hubble Space Telescope Technology Section (Optics)

“Hubble’s optical telescope assembly consists of two mirrors, support trusses, and the focal plane structure. This system is a Ritchey-Chretien design in which two aspheric mirrors serve to form focused images over the largest possible field of view. Light enters Hubble’s aperture and travels down the main baffle. A baffle is a surface which eliminates stray light. Light is reflected by the primary mirror which measures about 8 feet (2.4 meters) in diameter. Because of the concave shape, the primary mirror converges the light to the secondary mirror through a secondary baffle. The secondary mirror, measuring about 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter receives the light. It in turn reflects the still-converging light back toward the primary mirror through a central baffle. The light travels through a hole in the primary mirror, to reach the focal plane, where the science instruments examine the light.”


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Science 8 Week 13 (Astronomy Week 1) Review

This week in astronomy, I learned about what astronomy and cosmology are, astronomy tools, astrophotography, and astronomical history. In the first lesson of the week, the introduction to the astronomy section of the course, I learned that astronomy is the study of planets, the solar system, stars, and galaxies. Cosmology is the study of the universe overall, and how it began. I learned of some online astronomy tools, including Google earth and Google sky, as well as an astronomy software program for looking at outer space realistically called Stellarium. In the second lesson we discussed tools, including telescopes, different types of telescopes, some history of telescopes, and other tools used for astronomy. I learned that Galileo Galilei invented the first telescope in the early 15th century. I also learned how telescopes work, and what they do. In the third lesson I learned about astrophotography, and the various functions on cameras that can help you get good photographs of outer space, including adjusting the shutter speed and ISO. In the fourth lesson on this week I learned more history of astronomy and telescopes, including the various theories regarding where the earth is located in the universe, and whether it’s stationary or rotating. I learned about the Geocentric model, the model which was the idea that the earth was in the center of the universe and that everything else, including the sun, rotated around it. This was later proved wrong, and the Heliocentric model became the favored one. Galileo soon found evidence to prove the latter model when he discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter through his telescope.

Thank you for reading! (Way more than 150 words, I know.) Let me know if you spot any typographical errors or factual mistakes. Thanks!

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