Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA
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Wordle.net tag cloud for confusing topics covered in Midterm 2, generated by responses from Astronomy 210 students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA (http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/2082541/Untitled).
Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.
List at least three words describing confusing subjects covered on this midterm. (Graded for completion.)
[Responses have been edited to consolidate related common subjects.]
Sections 30674, 30676
size, luminosity, Stefan-Boltzmannlaw
microwaves, darkmatter, bigbang
redshifts, blueshifts, Dopplereffect, universeexpansion
redshifts, dust, debris, spiralarms
laws, theories, asteroids
Deneb, Polaris, Wienslaw
supernovae, starclusters, pulsars
diskpopulation, MilkyWay, granddesign, parallax
MilkyWay, mass, whitedwarfs, Olbersquestion
hydrogen, fusion, helium
starlifetimes, galaxies, stars
MilkyWay, redshifts, blueshifts
absorptionspectra, emissionspectra, darkmatter
mass, redshifts, universeexpansion
abstract, different, strange
globularcluster, densitywave, hydrostaticequilibrium
apparentmagnitude, MilkyWay, Hubbleslaw
finitespeedoflight, bigbang, redshifts
radioactiveblanket, lithium, neutronstars
Dopplereffect, reflectionnebulae, distances
starlifetimes, galaxies, stars
absorptionspectra, emissionspectra, darkmatter, antimatter, finiteuniverse, wtf
starbirth, stars, starages
gas, light, stars
puzzling, hardtograsp, difficult
supernovae, Keplerslaws, stars
novae, typeIasupernovae, typeIIsupernovae
laws, parallax, molecules
structure, starformation, universeexpansion
planetformation, galaxies, universeexpansion
galaxies, stars, planets
redshifts, startimeline, nucleosynthesis
gaps, theories, laws
theories, spectra, reionization
cosmicmicrowavebackground, beginning, protostars
laws, nebulas, telescopes
bigbang, galaxies, Dopplereffect
Dopplereffect, chromosphere, inonization
Dopplereffect, electrons, planetarynebulae
MilkyWay, luminosity, Dopplereffect
Dopplereffect, planetformation, starages, galaxies
Dopplereffect, lookbacktime, redshifts
perplexed, flummoxed, disconcerted
starclusters, electrons, luminosity
blackholes, neutronstars, typeIIsupernovae
Dopplereffect, Wienslaw, starlifetimes
galaxies, MilkyWay, galaxyformation
darkmatter, antimatter, cosmicmicrowavebackground
blackholes, bigbang, Pluto
mindboggling, puzzling, frustrating
everything, inclassactivities, reading
Describe your most confusing subject, and briefly explain why this subject confused you. (Graded for completion.)
The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"lunar and solar eclise dont know what kind of eclipse it is showing""the most confusing subject for me is deciding whether or not a star pattern can exist."
"redshifts the doppler effect and size and luminosity"
"i thought one confusing topic was how they can tell how far away other galaxies really are from earth."
"universal expansion. I just don't get it. the universe is expanding, but where is the center and does the center even exist?"
"ANYTHING ABOUT THE GALAXY BLOWS MY MIND. I think its because its too huge."
"last question on midterm.."
"i reallly cant remember what was on this midterm!"
"wien and stefan-boltzmann laws, just didn't go over them enough."
"Math, because all the formulas are really hard to remember"
"I didn't understand the black hole concepts. i just didn't study enough."
"The big bang makes sense in theory, but it's a difficult concept to comprehend how everything can come from nothing"
"The disk population is still a little confusing to me because I missed the lecture."
"Everything after the first midterm. I felt the information was covered way to quick and I wasn't able to grasp it"
"the concepts aren't confusing, but some of the inferences drawn are."
"Stuff that dealt with chemicals was confusing to me."
"The stuff about the universe forming."
"The most confusing subject for me is determining the ages of star clusters and the death of stars. The age of star clusters is confusing because when looking at a plot of star clusters I tend to get the older stars and the younger stars mixed up. Its also kind of confusing to look at a star cluster graph and to see the plotted star clusters and decipher if they are moving toward or away from the main sequence line. The death of stars can be confusing especially discussing the process of a massive star becoming a black hole."
"when hydrogen and helium fused confused me because i couldn't figure out what the book was talking about."
"it was all equally confusing some parts clicked better than others"
"math because I'm not to good with numbers"
"The absorption and emission spectrum's still really confuse me. First of all, distinguishing which is which, and second, exactly what they mean. I know the definition but I'm having trouble understanding it."
"the idea of an expanding universe is confusing to me because it is ahrd to beleive the universe is still expanding and that there are no edges"
"id have to see the mid term"
"The radial arms in the universe."
"I had a hard time understanding the H-R Diagram at first. There are just so many concepts on the diagram that you need to know and understand. Once I got them though it made sense. It was just a little bit hard for me to grasp at first."
"I was confused most by the Hubble theory because I missed the class where you explained it."
"the finite speed of light, it doesnt make sense"
"I think I missed a class when I was sick and didn't get all the notes, but it would be the radio active blanket or something..."
"doppler shifts, i didn't like the wording, i assumed it meant why the universe is expanding?"
"it was all equally confusing some parts clicked better than others"
"I'm still having trouble understanding the spectrum, mainly absorption and emission, and don't even get me started on anti-matter! I mean seriously! dark matter wasn't enough! haha"
"its all kind of confusing just some stuff more then other stuff."
"Necleosynthesis: the example of the a croded area and a dense; arm universe"
"graphs multiple choice and short answer"
"on how stars become black holes"
"The most confusing part was all the specifics of the big bang and just how anyone is supposed to know them."
"the truth is i have had confusion on most parts of astronomy"
"different types of novas- which is which"
"Still just a little shaky on the differences between the three. The firecracker demonstration helped a little...I know one has a more slow burn vs. explosive burn, but I still get which is which confused."
"The order of a stars life and star clusters"
"The structure and formation of stars confused me the most because there's so much chemistry involved dealing with nuclear fusion and bonding that it was hard to keep it all straight in my head. Chemistry was never a strong subject for me, and I struggled through anything dealing with metals, bonds, or the different types of fusions occuring in stars of different masses."
"i thought the convectio and overall atomic changes within the life of a star was hard to keep up with"
"planet formation and planet death involving helium and hydrogen ratios and interactions. I just couldn't get a good grasp on it."
"galaxies, the way they work"
"english just hard for me to write essays"
"how galaxies are formed. i feel like i missed the qestions about the stars on the spiral arms on the midterm"
"Categorization of suns with letters and numbers, i just didn't get it."
"just remembering terms"
"No Subjects were too confusing"
"Maybe I missed the class or something but the redshifts didnt make sense to me."
"how to tell which planets where the farthest and closet to the earth"
"Star recreation, just had a hard time grasping it al"
"emission spectrum. the definitions of different spectra were confusing as radiation and emission properities seem closely related as heat by-products."
"Some of the theories,i was absent for some"
"the reionizing and background microwave was hard for me to remember"
"I'm not sure of the CMB and what its cause is"
"The milkyway, it was a little confusing to know the spiral arms and how they get created.
the big bang theory, even though it was really interesting, there was so many parts to it that i found it overwhelming
doppler affect, i didnt get it at all."
"In planetary nebulas, it's difficult to keep massive, main-sequence and low-mass stars straight."
"i couldnt remember all of the names for the theories"
"The light specrums, because it's hard to remember what spectrum belongs to what light source."
"the house party because you never really tell us when to go over."
"I think the milky way question was the most confusing because I can never remember what the theory was that the milky way became thinner and flatter..."
"star age in galaxies, just never solidified in my mind."
"I understand most of the stuff we go over but, i don't think i have an open enough mind to accept a lot of the theories."
"During every example there where things I understood and didn't. Too many to list."
"Dobbler and Hubble because I get them mixed up."
"Cosmic microwave background because I don't even remember learning about it."
"supernovas and type 2 supernovas. i can never remember which is which"
"The table depicting the luminosity, size, and temperature (Stefan-Boltzmann Law). It took more time for me to wrap my brain around."
"Supernova Explosion, I just never quite understood how they formed or how they came about"
"Black holes, because they're still very hard to understand."
"the doppler effect.. i didnt study for this i guess!"
"Mostly everything. I always feel like i know these things and feel as if i did really good on a test, but the results are really bad. so idk if i grasp the concept of things just for a moment and then forget or something."
"describing weather two planets were simlar in size, luminosity, etc."
"One of the essay questions confused me, the one about vera and polaris and if it was possible if they were the same size. I was stuck on it for so long!"
"I just got confused on the 1st short answer question because i went over the in class activity but i didn't see that the tem/lum were higher on the same star in order for them to be equal. Oops ="
"the star clusters and how you determine whether they are younger and older"
"galaxies because i missed that week"
"darkmatter. I still don't understand how all the stars in the galaxy move at the same speed. I thought they moved at different speeds which showed us an idea of the size of our milky way galaxy"
"big bang i do not believe in these things"
"The most confusing subject for me was figuring out star distances. It was confusing to me because I actually needed to see the problem on paper and not just figure it out in my head. After I was shown a way to do this on paper, I understood and grasped the concept."
"ALL OF THIS UNIT!"