Online reading assignment: atmosphere problems, Earth, the moon, Mercury (NC campus)

Astronomy 210, fall 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 problems caused by the atmosphere for telescope observing, Earth, and the impacted worlds: the moon, and Mercury.

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 did not know that most of our carbon dioxide came from volcanoes, so I thought that was pretty interesting."

"I didn't know that the ocean absorbed most of the carbon dioxide."

"Both interesting and confusing is that the moon was speculated to be formed originally from a fragment of a planet that collided with the Earth."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The amount of elements and processes that created Earth were somewhat unorganized in this textbook and without prior knowledge I would have been overwhelmed and confused."

"I wasn't confused."

"How to figure out the oldest and youngest features of Mercury or the moon, because you have to take into consideration a lot factors that could have caused each feature and what would happen as a result of this event or what would follow."

"That the moon was created by a fragment of a planet. How is that even possible that a fragment could form into a sphere?"

Stars to appear to "twinkle" in the night sky because of:
"Stars look like they are twinkling because we are viewing them through the turbulence of the atmosphere."

"The air of our atmosphere is turbulent. There is constant disturbance in the traveling light due to that, especially if the light has to travel through a lot of the atmosphere, as it does if the stars are only a few degrees from the horizon."

A large modern optical telescope in outer space would have images with better __________ than a comparable ground-based telescope.
brightness. *** [3]
resolution. ****** [6]
magnification. ** [2]
(None of the above choices.) * [1]
(Two of the above choices.) ****** [6]
(All of the above choices.) ******* [7]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ** [2]

Identify how carbon dioxide enters and how it is taken out of Earth's atmosphere. (Only correct responses shown.)
Enters atmosphere from: volcanoes [67%]
Taken out of atmosphere by: oceans [59%]

Identify the oldest (longest ago) to the youngest (most recent) features on the moon. (Only correct responses shown.)
Craters partially filled in with flat lava plains: oldest (formed longest ago) [48%]
Flat lava plains: middle [44%]
Craters on top of flat lava plains: youngest (formed most recently) [67%]

Identify the oldest (longest ago) to the youngest (most recent) features on Mercury. (Only correct responses shown.)
Large crater basins: oldest (formed longest ago) [59%]
Lava-filled lowlands: middle [41%]
Long curving ridges: youngest (formed most recently) [56%]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"We're getting a new space telescope in 2018? Dude, yes I am so pumped for better pictures of the universe. Current images of nebulae and galaxies are rad as all get out, but will this telescope be better. Very cool."

"What is your favorite pastime? How did you meet Mrs. P-dog?" (Swing dancing, especially when I get to DJ at the Madonna Inn on Monday nights. Which is how I first met Mrs. P-dog.)

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