Online reading assignment question: confusing Midterm 2 astronomy topics

Astronomy 210 Online reading assignment 13, spring semester 2012
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 (www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/5298653/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 in class (up through this midterm). (Graded for completion.)

[Responses have been edited to consolidate related common subjects.]

Student responses
Sections 30674, 30676
darkmatter, spacetime, bigbang
darkmatter, starages, nebulae
confusing, difficult, frustrating
apparentmagnitude, absolutemagnitude, parsecs
bigbang quiz MilkyWay
luminosity, fusion, distances
HRDiagram, spectra, apparentmagnitude, absolutemagnitude
blackholes, Olbersparadox, Earth
spectra, supernovae, absolutemagnitude
parallax, planetarymotion, Keplerslaws
stars StefanBoltzmannlaw galaxies magnification
bigbang, explosion, expansion
complicated, aggravating, frustrating.
everything everything everything
absolutemagnitude apparentmagnitude
bigbang planets orbits
lightyears, blackholes, parallax
apparentmagnitude, absolutemagnitude metallicity galaxies
darkmatter, expansion, reionization
MilkyWay, spiralarms, galaxies
apparentmagnitude, absolutemagnitude, stardeath
starclusters, magnitudes, parsecs.
globularclusters, darkmatter, CMB
darkmatter, globularclusters, darkmatter halo
bigbang, spiralarms, blank
MilkyWay, bigbang, Hubbleslaw
blackholes, fusion, starclusters ages
expansion galaxies.
stars, sun, heat
nebulae, absorptionlines, sun.
starformation mass supernovae
Wienslaws StefanBoltzmannlaw
bigbang, MilkyWay, darkmatter
galaxies, nucleosynthesis, starformation
bigbang , redshift , blueshift
backwards. twisted. intense
starclusters ages
supernovae neutronstars bigbang
supernovae, fusion, nucleosynthesis, bigbang.
fusion, StefanBoltzmannlaw, blackholes
nucleosynthesis, fusion
starformation, bigbang, darkmatter
elements gases, stellarevolution, Wienslaw
supernovae, galaxies, negativespace
supernovae starclusters blackholes
Venus, greenhouse, light
starclassification, galaxies, universe
sun sizes spiralarms wizardstaff
bigbang, platetectonics, Mercury, rupes
luminosity, parallax, bigbang
craters, lava, maria
CMB, wizardstaff, timetravel
MilkyWay blackholes, supernovae
everything, evolution timeline, blackholes
darkmatter, spectra, Dopplereffect
darkmatter, lookbacktime, blackholes

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.
"Big bang because it's something that ended up starting from nothing."

"Dark matter, because I think it's just a hard subject to comprehend."

"m & M confuse me."

"Figuring out what star is the further from Earth by looking at its apparent and absolute magnitude."

"Time look back is confusing because I don't understand how by studying the cycles of stars and their galaxies we are able to determine how many years ago Earth came into existence and what elements were present before life began"

"light years, how we know how far away things are."

"How far away a star is. The apparent and absolute stuff."

"Apparent/absolute magnitudes. The positive and negatives is what confused me as well as the parsecs."

"seeing the beyond the milky way because its impossible seeing more stars."

"The whole absolute magnitude thing is kina hard to get in my head, idk why it's just hard to understand."

"memorizing the laws and who delegated them. I didn't take the time to memorize any of them."

"Galaxies. The way they move, how to tell how old they are. Everything?"

"universe falling/ expanding just don't exactly grasp the creating of it and if it is still growing or simply all falling and dying away from us"

"Supernovae, because trying to tell the difference between a type 1a and type II is difficult for me"

"knowing the steps of the planets. i never understood the steps."

"Absolute and apparent magnitude. The math is difficult"

"Metal stars"

"Halo and disk stars, Keep getting them confused"

"telescope stuff yikes, i just use them to roast ants"

"dark matter, how can something be matter and everywhere but we cant see it"

"flash card questions !!"

"Understanding the milky way has been confusing because i feel like there is so much going on its hard to keep it all straight"

"the shape of the milky way"

"I continuously get absolute magnitude and apparent magnitude mixed up."

"Parsecs confuse me because I don't know how to calculate how many parsecs a star is away and what not."

"The idea of observable universe me because it was difficult to imagine such a limitation on such a huge scale."

"dark matter is definitely the most confusing mostly because it is hard to wrap your brain around the idea of gravity being evenly distributed in all areas."

"big bang, where did it start or begin"

"pretty much the last three quizes we took because they were hard to understand"

"milky way... too much info to remember."

"The most confusing subject for me is black holes. I still can't wrap my mind around them and the whole space-time continuum thing."

"My notes are confusing me, this is weird!!!"


"Star formations and deaths because each star is different."

"i think one of a really confusing subject is a supernovae. how all that energy is held inside an object and how big the explosion is when it happen."

"the two laws. i have to review them."

"milkyway is just confusing in itself"

"creation of new stars are because its confusing how they work"

"Big bang"

"probably crater stuff"

"i missed that class"

"The different supernova i get mixed up."

"It will probably be answering or explaining supernovae types and processes. It seems confusing because there are many things happening in these processes."

"The concept of black holes is confusing because it's a theory we can't really test by touching..."

"memorizing the laws because I get them confused"

"Big Bang, wtf?"

"i still dont really get or know how to read that one model or chart you put on all the quizzes, Wiens Law"


"The black space, and how it has a so much gravity"

"probably star ages and distances, i just dont get it"

"II am very confused by Fusion."

"I think remembering all there is about the luminosity and star classification things will be the most difficult"

"wizard staffs, do they lose power when they break?"

"The Big Bang. It was confusing mostly because it required you to disengage yourself from any sense or idea of a 'beginning.' That, and we've grown up under the illusion from a misnomer, that it was a massive explosion, rather than an all-inclusive, ever-pervasive coalescence of extremely hot, agitated hydrogen atoms. The Big Bang wasn't here or there, it was everywhere. And that's some heavy shi-"

"luminosity and size, it is a tad complicated to get your head around"

"The way stars begin and the chemical changes they go through"

"if wizard staffs brea.. do they loose there spell casting powers?"

"all the black hole, wrinkle in time stuff"

"All of the above...and below"

"The spectras just because I have not fully paid attention to them."

"Dark matter and how it holds the galaxy together."

1 comment:

Patrick M. Len said...

Astronomy 210 Reading assignment 13, spring semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Student responses (raw, unedited, unconsolidated)
Sections 30674, 30676

Milky way, spiral arms, galaxies
How the milky way collects everything
Apparent Magnitude, Absolute Magnitude, Star Death.
Star clusters, magnitudes, Parsecs.
globular clusters, dark matter,edge of the universe
dark matter, globular clusters, dark matter halo
big bang, spiral arms, blank
what the heck?
milkyway, bigbang, hubblelaw
black holes, fusion, star cluster ages
Expansion of galaxies.
Stars, sun, heat
Nebula, absorption lines, sun.
star formation mass supernovae
the two laws.
Big Bang theory, Milkyway, darkmatter
galaxies, nucleosynthesis, creation of new stars
Big bang , red shift , blue shift
backwards. twisted. intense
star cluster ages
Supernova NeutronStar BigBang
supernovae type 1a and II, elements within stars or fusion processes, big bang.
Fusing, Stefan-Boltzmann law, black hole
the creation of elements and how they compose planets
Birth of Stars, Big Bang, Dark Matter
elements/gases, remembering all the stages, Wiens Law
i o u
Super Novas, formation of galaxies, negative space
supernovae starclusters blackhole
venus, greenhouse, visible rays
star classifications, galaxies, universe
sun sizes spirals wizard staffs
luminosity, parallax, big bang evidence
crater, lava, flat plains
cosmic radiation, wizard staffs, time travel
milky way. black holes, differences in novas
everything, evolution timeline, black holes
darkmatter, spectra, doplar effect
Dark matter, look back time, black holes