20160830

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

Astronomy 210, fall 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 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'm getting more and more interested in the stars and planets as we go. And learning about how people learned about the universe is fascinating. It's neat to see how and why they came up with theories. People are cool. Usually."

"This textbook is not like any other textbook I have used. It is very visual and descriptive about the universe and really grabs my attention."

"I found the portion regarding the different astronomers to be the most interesting; I took some time to research each of the different astronomers and read about their differentiating contributions to astronomy."

"It's due to the tilt of the moon that makes it impossible for there to be a lunar/solar eclipse every full/new moon. Generally don't pay much attention to eclipses but to know that they are affected by the tilt of a moon is something interesting to know since I would have never knew."

"How a lunar eclipse is when the moon passes through Earth's shadows. I had it confused with the solar eclipse."

"I found the progress made over millenia from different people fascinating. Even though they came from different time periods/cultures/backgrounds they all contributed a piece of their understanding, their lives really, and changed science. Then the next generation of scientists took up the torch and put their spin on it before handing it to future generations yet again."

"That everyone took Aristotle's word for Earth being the center of the universe. I understand that there wasn't many ways to gather evidence back then, but there had to be other people with other assumptions about the known universe at the time."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The umbras and penumbras were a bit confusing to me."

"I was unable to find in the textbook where it states what phase the moon must be in for different types of eclipses."

"The solar and lunar eclipses, specifically distinguishing between partial, annular, and total solar eclipses."

"The portion of the presentation that discusses the right/wrong orbits/phases for eclipses to happen. Not completely lost, but definitely could use some clarification."

"I couldn't find a difference between a full moon that is about to undergo a lunar eclipse and the one that isn't."

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.  **** [4]
Taurus.  [1]
Gemini.  [0]
Cancer.  [0]
Leo.  * [1]
Virgo.  * [1]
Libra.  [0]
Scorpio.  [0]
Sagittarius.  [0]
Capricorn.  [0]
Aquarius.  * [1]
Pisces.  ******************* [19]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  ** [2]

Match the phase of the moon during these eclipse types. (Only correct responses shown.)
Total solar eclipse: new moon [59%]
Partial solar eclipse: new moon [48%]
Annular solar eclipse: new moon [34%]
Total lunar eclipse: full moon [76%]
Partial lunar eclipse: full moon [38%]

Place these astronomers in chronological order of their historical contribution to astronomy. (Only correct responses shown.)
Aristotle [90%]
Ptolemy [83%]
Copernicus [83%]
Tycho [72%]
Kepler [55%]
Galileo [52%]
Newton [79%]

Match these terms with their descriptions. (Only correct responses shown.)
Ideas accepted as truth without further examination: first principles [79%]
Predictions that could be tested by observations: hypotheses [86%]
Universal statements of cause and effect: rational laws [62%]
Describe phenomena without explaining why it occurs: empirical laws [69%]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Lost in this eclipse realm."

"Please explain moon phases during an eclipse."

"So far really enjoying the class."

"Is there a way to memorize the astronomers in order as well as what they contributed?"

"I'm still a bit lost when it comes to your website and determining due dates and navigating your page."

"Why do we have to study ancient astronomy if their ideas were wrong?" (The history of how their ideas became more and more correct is the history of how "doing science" developed, as astronomy really was the first science.)

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