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

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2018
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.
"The umbra and prenumbra shadows to be interesting because, I have never knew what they were called and how they exactly worked."

"The different types of eclipses, I was unaware that there was such thing as an annular eclipse where the where the moon is too small to cover the sun."

"I never thought about or knew the difference between lunar and solar eclipses. I don't believe it ever crossed my mind that they were caused by two totally different reasons."

"Eclipses have always fascinated me. My dad used to wake me up no matter what time it was to go outside and watch a lunar eclipse. I also got to witness the solar eclipse recently."

"The phase and orbit (line of nodes) conditions for eclipses. I took astronomy in high school but I don't think they ever went through this or ever heard of it."

"How Copernicus revolutionized astronomy with the heliocentric model, which at the time was a counter to the current belief that Earth was the center of motion in the solar system."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The right and wrong conditions of phases and orbits for eclipses to happen."

"Moon phases with lunar and solar eclipses. I understand that for solar eclipses a new moon has to occur, and for lunar eclipses a full moon must occur, but for annular and partial solar eclipses I'm not too sure."

"How to match the phases of the moon with eclipses. It was confusing because I did not understand how the phases of the moon correlates with an eclipse."

"I didn't find anything confusing. I actually really liked and understood this week's textbook assignment and online presentations."

"Keeping up with each astronomer and what each one has done."

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.  [0]
Gemini.  [0]
Cancer.  [0]
Leo.  [0]
Virgo.  [0]
Libra.  [0]
Scorpio.  [0]
Sagittarius.  [0]
Capricorn.  * [1]
Aquarius.  * [1]
Pisces.  ****** [6]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  ** [2]

I believe astrology is able to make accurate predictions about my future. (This is a follow-up question.)
Strongly disagree.  [0]
Disagree.  *** [3]
Neutral.  ********** [10]
Agree.  * [1]
Strongly agree.  [0]

Briefly discuss what you know now (that you didn't know before) that may (or may not have) affected your earlier opinion regarding your belief/disbelief in astrology. (This is a follow-up question.)
"How to read the stars on a starwheel and the phases of the moon."

"As a follow up from before I still have the same opinion as previously, now however I feel like I don't know enough to make a full decision."

"For me, I didn't learn anything that has changed my mind, just a lack of knowledge still."

"I know now that deciding which zodiac signs all depend on the placement of the stars within certain months and times throughout a year."

"I know more about zodiac signs and their positions which is what mostly makes me have my neutral opinion because the zodiac signs really interest me, but I am still not 100% on astrology making predictions about my future."

"I was aware that your birthday determined a certain zodiac sign but I was not aware about the sun, moon, and rising zodiac signs. This was new to me in this class."

"I have always believed I was a Taurus, although after our last lecture, I used my starwheel and found out I'm actually an Aries, and that the internet was wrong. I am still very neutral when it comes to whether or not astrology can make accurate predictions."

"I didn't know that the precession of Earth was a thing before this class, but now I read over Leo astrology to see if I relate to that sign more."

"I found out that the starwheel has a different zodiac sign of what I always used to go by on google. This changes my thought about astrology signs."

"What I did not know before is that in the starwheel I am considered a different astrological sign than the one that is mentioned on Google. This affected my opinion because it describes something different than what I had believed."

"The astronomers I read about."

Match the phase of the moon during these eclipse types. (Only correct responses shown.)
Total solar eclipse: new moon [64%]
Partial solar eclipse: new moon [71%]
Annular solar eclipse: new moon [64%]
Total lunar eclipse: full moon [71%]
Partial lunar eclipse: full moon [64%]

Place these astronomers in chronological order of their historical contribution to astronomy. (Only correct responses shown.)
Aristotle [64%]
Ptolemy [57%]
Copernicus [50%]
Tycho [50%]
Kepler [43%]
Galileo [50%]
Newton [64%]

Match these terms with their descriptions. (Only correct responses shown.)
Ideas accepted as truth without further examination: first principles [71%]
Predictions that could be tested by observations: hypotheses [93%]
Universal statements of cause and effect: rational laws [64%]
Describe phenomena without explaining why it occurs: empirical laws [36%]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"So far, so good. I just need to understand eclipse cycles better."

"You have a really enjoyable class!"

"I find it really cool how we are able to predict eclipses, and we can preapred for them."

"I am amazed on how the early astronomers were able to figure out things about our solar system. I still find it slight confusing even with the textbook."

"Do you believe that Nostradamus had the power to predict the future through the stars?" (No. I believe that if you make a lot of possible predictions, some of them will eventually come true, if you wait long enough.)

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