The Sombrero Galaxy

Unit 1: Astronomy

    Things for Unit 1 you should UNDERSTAND, KNOW, and be able to DO...
    • As our technology has progressed, so has our understanding of celestial objects and events.
    • The Earth and Universe is in a constant state of change.
    • How can we understand things at great distances we can’t see or touch?
    • What is the scale of the universe?
    • What is the Earth and Sun’s position in the universe?
    • Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion.
      • These motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, seasons, phases of the moon, eclipses, and tides.
      • Gravity influences the motions of celestial objects. The force of gravity between two objects in the universe depends on their masses and the distance between them.
    • Eight planets move around the Sun in nearly circular orbits.
      • The orbit of each planet is an ellipse with the Sun located at one of the foci.
    • Earth is orbited by one moon and many artificial satellites.
    • Earth rotates on an imaginary axis at a rate of 15 degrees per hour. To people on Earth, this turning of the planet makes it seem as though the Sun, the moon, and the stars are moving around Earth once a day. Rotation provides a basis for our system of local time; meridians of longitude are the basis for time zones.
    • The Foucault pendulum and the Coriolis Effect provide evidence of Earth’s rotation.
    • Seasonal changes in the apparent positions of constellations provide evidence of Earth’s revolution.
    • Approximately 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered by a relatively thin layer of water, which responds to the gravitational attraction of the moon and the Sun with a daily cycle of high and low tides.
    • Describe current theories about the origin of the universe and solar system.
    • The universe is vast and estimated to be over ten billion years old. The current theory is that the universe was created from an explosion called the Big Bang. Evidence for this theory includes:
      • cosmic background radiation
      • a red-shift (the Doppler effect) in the light from very distant galaxies.
    • Stars form when gravity causes clouds of molecules to contract until nuclear fusion of light elements into heavier ones occurs. Fusion releases great amounts of energy over millions of years.
      • The stars differ from each other in size, temperature, and age.
      • Our Sun is a medium-sized star within a spiral galaxy of stars known as the Milky Way. Our galaxy contains billions of stars, and the universe contains billions of such galaxies.
    • Our solar system formed about five billion years ago from a giant cloud of gas and debris. Gravity caused Earth and the other planets to become layered according to density differences in their materials.
      • The characteristics of the planets of the solar system are affected by each planet’s location in relationship to the Sun.
      • The terrestrial planets are small, rocky, and dense. The Jovian planets are large, gaseous, and of low density.
    • Asteroids, comets, and meteors are components of our solar system.
      • Impact events have been correlated with mass extinction and global climatic change.
      • Impact craters can be identified in Earth’s crust.
    • Earth's coordinate system of latitude and longitude, with the equator and prime meridian as reference lines, is based upon Earth’s rotation and our observation of the Sun and stars.
    •  The altitude of Polaris depends on the latitude of the observer
    • Earth rotates at 15 degrees per hour. Meridians of longitude are the basis for time zones. 
    Vocab Terms: Background Radiation, Big Bang theory, blue shift, celestial object, Doppler effect, electromagnetic spectrum (radiation), galaxies, light year, luminosity, magnitude, main sequence star, radiation, red shift, star life cycle, stellar life cycle, telescope, gravity, asteroid, constellation, Coriolis Effect, Rotation, Revolution, eccentricity, ellipse, Foucault Pendulum, Focus Point (orbit), geocentric, heliocentric, solar and lunar eclipses, meteor, moon, phases of the moon,  planet, pointer stars,  sun, sun spot, tide, tilt, waxing, waning, crescent, gibbous, new moon, full moon, Jovian and Terrestrial Planets, latitude, longitude, Polaris, time zone
    Extended Vocabulary: The Big Crunch, black hole, dark energy, dark matter, comet, circumpolar stars, satellite, neap and spring tide, parallax, retrograde motion, Drake Equation, Parallel Universe, Supernova, Folded Space, Binary Star System, Dwarf Planet, Oort Cloud, Kuiper Belt, Asteroid, Aphelion, Perihelion, Apogee, Perigee
    • Identify the phases of the moon
    • Calculate eccentricity
    • Classify stars based upon luminosity and temperature
    • Classify planets
    • Determine the latitude and longitude of a given point to the nearest degree
    • Calculate local time based on longitude
    • Determine latitude by use of the star Polaris
    • Determine the angle from horizon to Polaris using an astrolabe and relates this to latitude

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