Online reading assignment: spectra, Doppler shift, apparent/absolute magnitude, parallax (SLO campus)

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 different types of spectra, the Doppler shift, and determining absolute magnitude of stars, given apparent magnitude and distance (from parallax).

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.
"A star is hot and dense from the inside but cool and diffuse on the outside."

"That for neon lights the red-orange color is only from the neon gas in it, was crazy. I thought it was from colored glass."

"The Doppler effect, because I always knew that sound was different going towards or away from you, and now I know why."

"Analyzing the sun's chemical composition by identifying specific spectral lines. I always wondered how astronomers could figure this out, because you can only get so close before you sizzle."

"It was interesting that corona was the name of the outermost layer of the sun's atmosphere and wondered if that was what the beer was named after. I looked it up in Spanish because the beer is from Mexico, in Spanish it means 'crown' which I think probably means yes, because the corona of the sun kind of looks like a crown."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The differences between the continuous, emission, and the absorption spectra still confuses me. This is confusing because emission sounds like it should be the one that gives off a lot of the spectra, but its the one that only gives off certain sections of it. While the absorption spectra gives off a lot of the spectra while it sounds like it should only give off certain sections of it."

"How to decipher which spectrum is which. I always thought there was only one spectrum of light possible."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment.  Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I have not yet purchased a textbook. I plan to go to the library before class tomorrow and open a book. I have never been good at school." (No comment.)

"I'm not understanding the cross-out and answer method on quizzes." (For partial-credit for multiple-choice grading, circle one response you think is the correct answer. Optionally, cross out one response you think is not the correct answer. If you did circle the correct answer, you get full credit (regardless of if/whether you crossed-out an incorrect response). If you did not circle the correct answer, you can get partial credit if you had successfully crossed-out one incorrect response.)

"Will the class material get easier, or do you have any study suggestions besides the archived quizzes from last semester?" (Download and go through the flashcard question packet as you read the textbook, especially the questions that were not asked in class. Answers to flashcard questions are not published nor released, but I would be more than willing to discuss your responses during posted office hours or an arranged appointment, just before/after lecture, or via e-mail.)

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