Online reading assignment: eclipses, history of astronomy

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

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.

The following questions were asked on reading textbook chapters and previewing presentations on eclipses, and an preliminary overview of the history of astronomy.

Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe something you found interesting from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally interesting for you.
"Although I have witnessed a solar eclipse a few times I do not believe a have ever seen a total eclipse where it actually gets dark outside for a few minutes! That is so cool to me!"

"I recalled our most current [partial/annular solar] eclipse we experienced, and I thought to myself, 'Wait--it wasn't dark when we had our eclipse," but than continued reading and realized there are different types of eclipses."

"Not every full moon is a lunar eclipse, and not every new moon is a solar eclipse. I have always wondered what has to happen before a lunar or solar eclipse will occur."

"If the moon was in not inclined, we would have solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse every month."

"How you can tell wether or not there will be an eclipse soon depending on the shadow on the bottom or top of the moon."

"It took people forever to believe that the sun was in the center and not Earth. I felt this way because it is just common sense now to know that the sun is at the center."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"I still don't see how we can tell a lunar eclipse from a new or full moon."

"Exactly where the viewer has to be standing to see different sorts of eclipses confuses me."

"The umbra and penumbra, and how they affect what you see during a eclipse."

"I am still having trouble understanding the concept of retrograde motion. I just don't get how a planet, such as Mars appears to stop, move westward, and then continue along its orbit."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Do you believe astrology is reliable?"

"I still love this class! :)"

"Is there a chance astronomers' beliefs about how the universe works will change again?"

No comments: