Online reading assignment: eclipses, history of astronomy (SLO campus)

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2015
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 eclipses, and an preliminary overview of the history of astronomy.

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 found the information on the solar eclipses to be extremely interesting. I realized I have never seen one, and now will make a point to!"

"I never knew the difference between the lunar and solar eclipse. Now I am aware of the differences."

"I like how in a lunar eclipse the moon looks red because of how the textbook said it has light 'consisting of all Earth's simultaneous sunsets and sunrises.' I just thought that was pretty awesome!"

"I found interesting how each astronomy philosopher built on the previous one's ideas."

"I found the reason we do not have eclipse every full or new moon interesting. When you asked why the first time, I thought, that's a good question because I have never questioned before why they happen. And the history lesson was cool. All the names were familiar, but now I put some history to them."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"I am a little confused on which phase the moon has to be for each type of eclipse and why."

"The idea of retrograde motion, or the tendency for some planets to shift their apparent track upon the skyline from an eastward progression to westward--though when they gave the analogy of the runner's passing each other on the track I began to understand the difference between Earth's apparent perspective, and that of the actual motion of the solar system."

"As much as I found eclipses interesting, I also found them confusing. I would like to learn more on how to differentiate between lunar and solar with the partial or total or annular eclipses."

"I do not understand any part of the lunar eclipses--I need you to go over in class more about them and what phase the moon needs to be for each type of eclipse."

"How to tell when an eclipse will be solar or lunar, as well as total, partial, or annular. I get the concepts, but the pictures were challenging to decode."

A friend of yours has a birthday on March 30. According to your starwheel, the sun would have been located in front of which zodiac sign on that date? (Ignore daylight saving time.)
Aries.  ****** [6]
Taurus.  * [1]
Gemini.  [0]
Cancer.  * [1]
Leo.  [0]
Virgo.  **** [4]
Libra.  [0]
Scorpio.  [0]
Sagittarius.  [0]
Capricorn.  [0]
Aquarius.  [0]
Pisces.  ********************************** [34]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

Match the phase of the moon during these eclipse types. (Only correct responses shown.)
Total solar eclipse: new moon [63%]
Partial solar eclipse: new moon [61%]
Annular solar eclipse: new moon [50%]
Total lunar eclipse: full moon [96%]
Partial lunar eclipse: full moon [80%]

Place these astronomers in chronological order of their historical contribution to astronomy. (Only correct responses shown.)
Aristotle [87%]
Ptolemy [83%]
Copernicus [85%]
Tycho [83%]
Kepler [67%]
Galileo [65%]
Newton [87%]

Match these terms with their descriptions. (Only correct responses shown.)
Ideas accepted as truth without further examination: first principles [80%]
Predictions that could be tested by observations: hypotheses [91%]
Universal statements of cause and effect: rational laws [82%]
Describe phenomena without explaining why it occurs: empirical laws [74%]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I really enjoyed class this week and how you reviewed everything very well and thoroughly and that we also did a practice quiz for next weeks quiz. I feel very prepared and I really did learn something which is great!" (Wow. But that wasn't me being awesome last week, that was you--that was all you.)

"How long do you believe the reading should take? Is it crucial to make our own notes along with it, or just know that material to be ready for the class?" (At the very least, if you come to class with at least a passing knowledge of the terminology used, and with specific questions on what you don't know, then you're prepared enough for class. And hopefully make sure that you get what you need figured out before you leave class.)

"Do you have the answers to the flashcard questions available? I printed them out and tried working through as many as I could but found it un-motivating not to be able to check my work." (No, answers are not posted anywhere, but you can e-mail me your answers to the flashcard questions, and I'll "grade" them for you, and mark which are correct/incorrect.)

"Is there anyway to make up the first online reading assignment?" (There will be extra assignments at the end of the semester, for those of you who missed a few assignments earlier.)

"Astrology is interesting so far!" (#smh)

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