Online reading assignment: confusing Midterm 1 astronomy topics

Astronomy 210 Reading Assignment 7 fall semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Originally uploaded by Waifer X

Wordle.net tag cloud for confusing topics covered in Midterm 1, generated by responses from Astronomy 210 students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA (www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/5860316/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.)

[These raw responses were subsequently edited to consolidate related common subjects.]

Student responses
Sections 70158, 70160
"eclipses retrograde morning/evening stars"

"S-B Law, Wien's Laws, HR Diagram"

"interferometer, epicycles, Jupiter"

"Honestly unsure until I've taken the test"

"It's all not very confusing to me."

"Star wheels - I have no idea which way is up.."

"planet finding is frustrating"

"parralax angles kepplers law black body"

"Telescopes, Planets, direction."


"telescopes, photons, morning and evening stars"

"The astronomers, sun position with the time, telescopes."

"Star location moon phases(I understand a lot better now) Different types of telescopes and how one is better than the other"

"tilt, astronomers, star wheel"

"moon stages, who did what in history, retrograde"

"Frustrating, challenging, and mind blown."

"Telescopes, planets, E/M Radiation spectrum!"

"lunar cycle, time, position"

"Retrograde, visible planets, horizon"

"the different laws, the months of where the sun and moon set on different horizons, and I am a little confused on how to decribe the horizon thing."

"retrograde, moon phases, star locating"

"Telescopes, all the different laws, Spectrums"

"Confusing subjects included astronomers and their contributions to astronomy."

"money, aerospace engineer, retrograde motion"

"still reading , so far so good."

"waxing/waning, lunar rise/setting times, astronomers"

"Sun, and determining which planet is where on the cisual chart thing."

"Im still having some trouble with the sun."

"The different movements (revolution, rotation, precession, tilt), the ways to tell the resolution and magnification of telescopes, and the different sun paths and why they occur."

"Kepler's laws, adaptive optics, solar eclipses."

"Telescopes, I am have a hard time with telescopes."

"star wheels and finding sunset and sunrise 7 Astronomers and the laws memorizing moon phases"

"Eclipse shadows, telescope, absolute magnitude"

"Telescopes, moon-phase, umbra"

"moon phases, star movement, retrograde"

"terminator, opacity, magnitude"

"moon phases locating stars newtons law"

"Luminosity, Telescopes, Interferometer"

"the astronomers are hard to keep track of"

"telescope powers rotation of the stars rising/setting of moon and stars"

"planetary motion moon phases math"
Describe your most confusing subject, and briefly explain why this subject interested you. (Graded for completion.)

The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"Eclipses, i think i still have difficulty undestanding exactly how they accure and understanding the differences of them."

"It just took me a little longer than usual to grasp the concepts of the different laws we studied, i.e., S-B and Wien's."

"The astronomers are confusing just because theres so many contributers to the basic understasndings we have today."

"same as before, i think that i have studied pretty thoroughly so I cant be sure what will be confusing until i take the test."

"star wheels!! i just can't get the hang of using them. I somehow always get it wrong."

"Planet finding. For some reason it just isnt clicking with me. This will be perhaps the most difficult thing i encounter."

"black body radiation because there was alot of different types i mix them up"

"I found the different types of electromagnetic radiation somewhat confusing. How to ascertain which ones travel fastest or slowest. Or which ones have the highest or lowest photon energy."

"My most confusing subject covered in the midterm is planet finding. I just have a hard time with the location of the planets and horizons."

"Planet positions in the morning and evening sky along the horizon."

"Probable the rotation of the constalations with respect to the Sun and Earth."

"Location of stars in the sky, the model sometimes confuses me."

"Probably some of the star wheel questions. Not sure why I struggled with it, but I definitely needed to practice that the most."

"remembering when the moon is visible in different stages at different times"

"The most confusing subject covered in this midterm is remember the difference between, resolving power, resolution, and magnifying power because each piece has a different effect on the telescope, but remembering which does what can be hard."

"Keeping all the telescope powers straight and how to find them is difficult because they're pretty similar."

"Determining general time with a picture of the moon, waxing/waning I get confused still."

"Where the sun is at in summer and winter. Trying to figure out when the sun is in the south or north depending on the season is confusing."

"I'm having a hard time tring to decribe how you can or can not see the little dipper in either the northern or southern hemishphere."

"Figuring out if you can see a certain planet at such and such spot in the horizon, and understanding why. I just didn't get it, but I'm understanding it better now."

"The different types of telescopes confused me because I missed that day in class and couldn't personally teach myself the information"

"The confusing subject, that this midterm covers, are the various astronomers and their contributions to astronomy."

"Understanding the sky and the moon seems very different from understanding specific concepts with specific names. I took astronomy because I thought it would be interesting, but in reality I still find school to be very far from education hence my state of confusion..."


"Figuring out whether or not the moon is waxing or waning is really difficult for me to figure out because i always get the two mixed up because the pictures are not in order and i cant tell them all apart."

"Determining how long the days are and during what months it is. It is hard for me because the chart is hard for me to understand."

"The sun seems like it has a lot going on just on the inside and on the surface. Its hard to keep the labels and names right."

"The most difficult for me is visualizing where the planets, moon, and sun will be (in relation to earth) at specific times. I have difficulty putting together how each will move in comparison to the others."

"Kepler's laws confuse me because they all seem similar; it's hard for me to differentiate between them."

"I am just not proficient yet with telescope nomenclature and I am hoping to have a firm grasp on it by the time of the mid-term."

"memorizing the 7 astronomers and what each one did or contributed, i get them mixed up alot! moon phases, hard to remember sometimes."

"The most confusing thing on this midterm is the shadows of the eclipses because I have a hard time visualizing them"

"The telescopes really frustrate me. mainly their parts and what they determine as far as the telescopes effects."

"the horizon line on earth from your perspective. i get very confused on the phases and the locations"

"I am confused so much with apparent visual magnitude because my brain just doesn't want it to make sense."

"eclipses were kind of confusing because there were many terms for differerent kinds of eclipses."

"I dont understand how two or mortelescopes can be connected and have the resolving power of a telescope as large as the maximum separation between the individual telescopes. This does not make sense to me."

"Its just really hard to remember all of the astronomers and what they did."

"the rotation of the stars because it all depends on where you are and some other confusing stuff"

"lunar phases, because the most difficult one has been erased from memory for self-esteem purposes"

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