Online reading assignment: the Milky Way (NC campus)

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2016
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 the Milky Way's shape, size and composition and spiral arm structure and formation.

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.
"That the halo of a galaxy is made up of mostly made old stars."

"Dark matter."

"I never knew where the spiral arms came from in the Milky Way. That's cool."

"The size of the Milky Way, I had no idea it was that big."

"Finding out what 'shape' the Milky Way is."

"MACHOs and WIMPs--something I can easily remember and very creative, P-dog! :)"

"That the Milky Way's arms are consisted of massive stars. Also, how these stars are constantly being born and dying, which in the end makes it appear as if it has arms."

"I am pretty inept when it comes to chemistry and science in general, but I am pretty interested in how massive stars can fuse to iron and explode."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"How luminosity is related to the pulsation period, which could be used to measure the distance of globular clusters."

"Dark matter."

"I could use more clarification on why we see the Milky Way the way we see it."

"Far-IR/ Radio wave maps."

"Spiral arm formation theories and trying to identify the maps and how they work."

"Density waves."

"How white dwarfs aren't really stars but compact objects."

In your experience, how much of the "Milky Way" (the band of faint stars across the celestial sphere) have you been able to see in the night sky?
As much as can be seen with the naked eye.  *** [3]
Not very much.  ** [2]
Barely seen it.  ** [2]
(Never been able to see it.)  ***** [5]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

Using the most powerful light-gathering optical telescopes in the darkest skies, __________ of the stars in our entire galaxy can be observed from Earth.
1%.  * [1]
5%.  ** [2]
10%.  **** [4]
50%.  [0]
100%.  * [1]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  **** [4]

If you did not have access to a mirror while camping, what could you do to find out whether or not you're having a bad hair day?
"It's camping. Just put a hat on or something."

"Ask a friendly wild forest animal."

"If I'm camping, it's a given I'm definitely having a bad hair day. Ha. ; )"

"Use my phone camera, or ask whoever I was camping with, or look for a body of water that I could see my reflection in. Of course, all I would really need to do is go to my car and look in either the rear view or side mirrors."

"I would look at my shadow. My hair is always bad though, so I guess it doesn't make a difference."

"Feel hair for knots, frizz, or the feeling of greasy hair.

Look at PimpStar Rims (*.html) for cars, or MonkeyLectric Rims (*.html) for bikes. Briefly explain how they work.
"PimpStar Rims can display images as they spin via wifi, can have all with the same image or different images. MonkeyLectric Rims seems to be rims that come with a display already chossen that works as you cycle."

"The rims have lights on them that flash in certain patterns to form words of images while the wheel is spinning."

"Like the stars in the galaxy die out and others form in a consistent pattern, so do the lights of the wheels turn on and off in a pattern, forming an image."

"Our eyes get adjusted to the speed of how they are moving to the point where it doesn't see it spinning anymore."

"Blinking lights."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Your bike is awesome."

"I don't really enjoy real camping. However if were glamping I'm all there." (When Mrs. P-dog and I go camping, we are all about glamping with mirrors.)

"Apparently on April 20th there will be a 'green moon,' where the moon will appear green for 90 minutes every 420 years due to the alignment of several planets. Is this true? This is posted on Facebook, so it has to be true--Facebook is just about as credible as Wikipedia. (I trust that you now know enough astronomy to figure this out on your own.)

No comments: