Online reading assignment: atmosphere problems, Earth, the moon, Mercury (NC campus)

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2019
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 problems caused by the atmosphere for telescope observing, Earth, and the impacted worlds: the moon, and Mercury.

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 atmosphere turbulence affects telescopic observation. I wasn’t aware that the temperature and the irregular air motion in the atmosphere could prevent astronomers from seeing a clearer view of the sky, making these observations take place in high altitude places such as mountains."

"Why stars twinkle, note that I have pretty bad eyesight and I didn't see stars twinkle until I was about 13 so I never really had any grasp of what was going on but now I know it's just the light entering the atmosphere and getting jumped by all the stuff that isn't in space."

"Light pollution and the struggles astronomers have to go through in order to get great surveillance of the night sky."

"Our visible light spectrum is just a sliver of the total forms of E/M waves."

"How the sky itself will no longer be completely black, with a faint 'skyglow' of atmosphere-reflected light."

"That we have actually launched telescopes into space, such as the Hubble Space Telescope."

"How we believe that the moon actually used to be part of Earth until hit with something and formed out of the shattered pieces. I don't think I ever really thought of how we got our moon. I've thought about how everything came to be but mainly in terms of planets."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"I found atmosphere problems a little bit confusing because I know I am going to mess up some of turbulence and opacity."

"I'm not understanding the greenhouse effect and all that."

"The 'Turkey/Cornish Hen Effect' could use some explanation."

"How to identify the features of the moon and Mercury. I do not understand the majority to be honest, I need clarification on the topic."

"These readings were pretty straightforward with lots of information."

"Nothing much but who knows I probably missed something."

"Pretty much everything bro. Plz help me."

A large modern optical telescope in outer space would have images with better __________ than a comparable ground-based telescope.
brightness.   ** [2]
resolution.   ****** [6]
magnification.   [0]
(None of the above choices.)   * [1]
(Two of the above choices.)   **** [4]
(All of the above choices.)   ***** [5]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   [0]

Stars to appear to "twinkle" in the night sky because of...

"They seem to 'twinkle' because of the effects of our atmosphere. When starlight enters our atmosphere it is affected by winds in the atmosphere and temperatures."

"Turbulence in Earth's atmosphere--and a star near the horizon, where you look through more air, twinkle more than stars overhead."

Identify how carbon dioxide enters and how it is taken out of Earth's atmosphere.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Enters atmosphere from: volcanoes [39%]
Taken out of atmosphere by: oceans [44%]

Identify the oldest (longest ago) to the youngest (most recent) features on the moon.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Craters partially filled in with flat lava plains: oldest (formed longest ago) [44%]
Flat lava plains: middle [22%]
Craters on top of flat lava plains: youngest (formed most recently) [44%]

Identify the oldest (longest ago) to the youngest (most recent) features on Mercury.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Large crater basins: oldest (formed longest ago) [56%]
Lava-filled lowlands: middle [44%]
Long curving ridges: youngest (formed most recently) [50%]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Can you go over the opacity part of the presentation?"

"I always hear bad stuff about greenhouse effect."

"Were all the planets created at the same time? Like could the other planets develop an atmosphere or could that only happen with active or tectonic plate planets?"

"How do you identify the features on Mercury from oldest to youngest?" (Generally stuff on top is the newer than the stuff beneath. Like all the stuff stacked on the desk on my office.)

"Plz go over everything."

"This quiz is gonna be the death of me."

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