Online reading assignment: quantum leaps, sun's outer layers (SLO campus)

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2014
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 quantum leaps, and the sun's outer layers.

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.
"I thought learning about what makes neon signs the color that they are was interesting. I didn't know it was caused by torturing different kinds of gas I thought it was just from different colored filters on light bulbs or something."

"It's pretty interesting that the dark sunspots are the cooler reasons and that the example of a dimmed light bulb was a really good example to get the concept."

"It was interesting to learn about all the stuff that goes on at the surface of the sun, since it looks just like a big yellow blob I always just assumed it was a uniform color throughout (how naïve of me). All of the different things that happen on the sun are really interesting to me because I've never really been interested in science, but applying it to real life objects and phenomena makes it more worthwhile, meaningful and easier to learn."

"Something that I found interesting from the presentation is that when hydrogen electrons drop down to to inner orbits, they give off protons that correspond to colors such as violet, blue, and red but then what we see is lavender. This is personally interesting to me because I have no knowledge whatsoever on what makes us see the colors that we see!"

"I thought the bit about how ancient Egyptians thought that the sun looked like wings and cobras was pretty interesting because I can see why they would think that, and it's interesting to see what cultures thought of an compared modern-day scientific facts to."

"I did not know that sunspots were cooler parts of the sun. I found this fact to be interesting because I had originally thought that these spots must be hotter than the areas around them."

"I thought it was interesting how the sunspots form in pairs because they are magnetic, I thought that because I never have thought of the sun as being magnetic."

"I thought it was helpful that you associated convection currents with miso soup because that actually made me understand it better."

"I thought it was interesting to learn about photons, just because I've never heard of them before."

"I enjoyed the brief overview of chemistry. I haven't been in a chemistry class in years but it was always a subject I enjoyed and found interesting."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"I find the fact that inner orbit is lower in energy whereas the outer orbit is higher in energy quite confusing. I think its gonna take some time to get used to."

"I have never been a fan of chemistry and find it very confusing, so the prospect if learning even basic chemistry again worries me."

"I found it confusing to understand sunspots, I don't really get how they come about in that they are caused by strong magnetic fields. I guess I just don't understand the magnetic field of the sun and how it affects it."

"Honestly, I am not a science brain. All this stuff confuses me. Some of it is easier to make sense of than the rest! Permitted orbits, quantum mechanics, the Doppler effect, etc. These are among the concepts that confused me the most. In science I can usually grasp physical composition (what is it), but I typically have a hard time when it comes to the processes...why it is the way it is and what does it do gets me. This stuff stretches me every time."

"I found that the convection currents in the sun confusing because when I think of convection currents I think of liquids, not gas."

An electron in an atom must emit a photon when it jumps from a __________ energy orbital to a __________ energy orbital.
lower; higher.  ******* [7]
higher; lower.  *********************************** [35]
(Both of the above choices.)  [0]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

An electron in an atom must absorb a photon when it jumps from a __________ energy orbital to a __________ energy orbital.
lower; higher.  ********************************** [34]
higher; lower.  ******* [7]
(Both of the above choices.)  * [1]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

The exterior of the sun, from inner to outermost layers, are the:
(Only correct responses shown.)
inner: photosphere [88%]
middle: chromosphere [76%]
outer: corona [76%]

State your preference regarding miso soup.
Strongly dislike.  * [1]
Dislike.  ** [2]
Neutral.  ****** [6]
Like  ******* [7]
Strongly like.  ******************** [20]
(I don't know what miso soup is.)  ****** [6]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"What part of this class do you consider to be the most difficult, and does your teaching reflect that topic? Is more time spent there, and are you more understandable about a certain topic if a student has trouble understanding?" (I would have to say either the big bang (how we know the evidence of how things first started out), or stellar nucleosynthesis (how things were built up to get to the way they are today). These are profound (and difficult) topics that we will be working up to, and will be devoting a lot of instructional time on them over the next several weeks.)

"I'm weirdly obsessed with miso soup. Even though I know its just bean paste, tofu, sometimes seaweed or green onion, and water I just can't get enough."

"We got astronomy-inspired tattoos this weekend of the sun and moon so that should definitely count as some extra-credit right? That's dedication." (Pics or it didn't happen.)

Do really have a bengal cat?" (As far as I can tell, Pocahontas (and her litter mates from the North County Humane Society in Atascadero) were all marbled bengals.)

"Ninjas or pirates?" (Yeah, you so had to go there.)

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