Online reading assignment: fusion, nebulae, star cluster ages (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 fusion, nebulae, and star cluster ages.

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.
"Clouds of hydrogen gas can eventually form new stars and the dust around these stars can form into potential planets."

"The more massive the stars are more luminous they are because the must make more energy to support their weight, keeping them balanced. I didn't realize weight had to do anything with luminosity."

"Using cheerleaders to explain hydrogen fusion, because I am a cheerleader so it made me really excited!"

"All the stars in a star cluster are born at the same time. I always thought that stars formed more independently."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"It is all very confusing. I never really understand the material until we go over it in the following lecture, where the in-class activities help my grasp on each topic."

"Evolution rates of stars, but I think its because I have not had time to review the material comprehensively, but by class night I should have a better grasp of it."

"Nebulae because there are so many different types."
Briefly explain why "cold fusion" (producing energy from hydrogen fusion at room temperature) would be implausible.
"For hydrogen fusion to occur the gas particles have to be moving very rapidly, otherwise they will not collide with each other violently enough to fuse. Rapidly moving particles means high temperatures...very high temperatures! So this cannot happen at room temperature."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"The first midterm was not as bad as I thought it would be, I'm glad we had practice tests and question/chapter breakdowns to help study!" (Awesome.)

"Will there be more extra credit assignments?" (Yes, both online, and during review sessions.)

"P-dog is the illest chillest most real astronomy teacher in all of the lands."

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