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

Astronomy 210, fall 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.
"An impending lunar eclipse could be detected simply by the sharpness of the edges on a full moon."

"That there is only a small area where a solar eclipse is total."

"How the different models of the universe reflected and made an impact on society during its time."

"That anyone who challenged Aristotle was not taken seriously and that his opinions were accepted for almost 2000 years. Its crazy that any other theories were delayed for that long just because of the first principles."

"Why the moon has a reddish-yellow hue to it. Reading about lunar eclipses helped me understand why this coloration happens."

"I like your approach to the study of astronomers: was he a mover or disprover? This is interesting to me because I tend to simply overlook biographies in history or science books. Having something to look for and think about makes it interesting and easier to read."

"I didn't know that the eclipses were so predictable. I'll definitely have to watch one now."

"I found the point you made about the shadows very interesting and how you can tell if a group picture is real or not, or if everyone was there at the same time or not, based on how the shadows are positioned on people's faces. That is such a little detail I wouldn't even think of!"

"I was so grateful to see the animated simulation of the moon in orbit around Earth on a tilted orbit. For the longest time I had wondered why there was not an eclipse once a month. I have high hopes for this class."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"How to distinguish between the different types of eclipses."

"Ptolemy's model was rather confusing to me, maybe I just wasn't getting it but having read it a few times I'm not sure I fully understand."

"The apparent retrograde motion of the planets."

"Different astronomers in history were difficult for me because it's hard to remember who exactly did what and when."

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.  *** [3]
Taurus.  [0]
Gemini.  [0]
Cancer.  [0]
Leo.  [0]
Virgo.  [0]
Libra.  * [1]
Scorpio.  [0]
Sagittarius.  [0]
Capricorn.  [0]
Aquarius.  **** [4]
Pisces.  ************************** [31]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [2]

Match the phase of the moon during these eclipse types. (Only correct responses shown.)
Total solar eclipse: new moon [76%]
Partial solar eclipse: new moon [56%]
Annular solar eclipse: new moon [68%]
Total lunar eclipse: full moon [88%]
Partial lunar eclipse: full moon [61%]

Place these astronomers in chronological order of their historical contribution to astronomy. (Only correct responses shown.)
Aristotle [88%]
Ptolemy [83%]
Copernicus [87%]
Tycho [68%]
Kepler [61%]
Galileo [49%]
Newton [90%]

Match these terms with their descriptions. (Only correct responses shown.)
Ideas accepted as truth without further examination: first principles [83%]
Predictions that could be tested by observations: hypotheses [87%]
Universal statements of cause and effect: rational laws [78%]
Describe phenomena without explaining why it occurs: empirical laws [68%]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"So far this class has been really interesting, and the flipped class teaching has helped me better understand the material."

"You have asked us about our thoughts on astrology. What do you think? Do you believe astrology makes accurate predictions of your future? Why or why not?" (Let me consult the Magic 8-Ball®.)

"How long will it take to get our quizzes back? Will you post all our scores online?" (They'll get back to you the following week; and scores will be posted online.)

"Is there any way to know if we have completed a survey before class has started? I sometimes lose track of the assignments I have completed." (You can e-mail me if you aren't sure.)

"I hope to discuss this information more in class. I learn better discussing and doing hand on activities rather than reading."

"Do you side with the Empire or with the Rebellion?" (Neither. I'm with the Enlightened. Are you Resistance?)

"Do you like to go on adventures?" (Yes, hopefully this weekend Mrs. P-dog and I will be doing more adventures like this.)

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