Online reading assignment: quantum leaps, sun's outer layers (SLO 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 quantum leaps, and the sun's outer layers.

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 thought it was super-cool how the Egyptian symbol of the sun really corresponded to real-life photos of the sun."

"How the Egyptians looked at the sun as having fire-spitting cobras. This was interesting to me because of how the Egyptians could visualize something like that to describe the corona and chromosphere."

"I like the Egyptian representation of the sun as having wings and snakes with hats. Their observations were accurate, within context."

"I find the sun super-interesting to learn about! Its just a big ball of gas, its pretty cool!!!"

"Quantum leaps--even though learning about it is confusing. I didn't know that colors of neon lights are produced by the excitation of electrons with electricity, thus creating different colored photons."

"It's interesting to me how the hydrogen tube works. Just because if you have enough energy or enough heat to zap the hydrogen it will give off different colors but its cool how our eyes only see lavender when really its either violet blue or red."

"When I read how the discharge tube is practically a torture chamber for hydrogen electrons, it actually made me audibly laugh! I don't know why the idea of screaming electrons is so funny, but it is... Muwahaha science is fun!"

"The sun has such high pressure that it would destroy itself if it didn't have its own gravity. I never knew this about the sun, it stood out to me out of the other facts I wrote down."

"I really enjoy the visual comparison of granules to lava lamps and miso soup. I can imagine the light of the lava lamp as the sun's core and the blobs of wax changing in density. Cooling as they rise and dropping to be heated up again. I also enjoyed the visual of an above perspective from a bowl of miso soup. Both of these visual depictions of granules is very helpful in understanding how the convection currents work and behave."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"At first, it was difficult for me to understand the whole 'quantum leaps' thing. But I did some more reading and watched some videos then I understood it."

"The things about the electrons and atoms and photons were confusing to me. In my mind its hard for me to apply chemistry to astronomy."

"I need a refresher on chemistry. The book and presentation make sense but I feel uneasy about my background knowledge of the other subjects."

"I found the parts of the sun slightly confusing, and I mainly kept wondering about the inner core of the sun. I've always thought of the sun of this giant, lava-like star, but the material made me curious about why the sun is dang hot and bright! However, I saw that we'll be covering the sun's innards another time."

"For the lava lamp example about the convection currents, I think I need some more examples on how it still works besides the miso soup example. Maybe some clarification about it."

"I was still a little confused as to how sunspots are made."

"I don't understand how magnetism effects the temperature of sunspots."

"Nothing was confusing."

An electron in an atom must emit a photon when it jumps from a __________ energy orbital to a __________ energy orbital.
lower; higher.  ******** [8]
higher; lower.  ******************** [20]
(Both of the above choices.)  [0]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

An electron in an atom must absorb a photon when it jumps from a __________ energy orbital to a __________ energy orbital.
lower; higher.  ********************* [21]
higher; lower.  ****** [6]
(Both of the above choices.)  * [1]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

The exterior of the sun, from inner to outermost layers, are the:
(Only correct responses shown.)
inner: photosphere [70%]
middle: chromosphere [78%]
outer: corona [82%]

State your preference regarding miso soup.
Strongly dislike.  * [1]
Dislike.  *** [3]
Neutral.  **** [4]
Like  ******** [8]
Strongly like.  ********** [10]
(I don't know what miso soup is.)  * [1]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"The material reminded me of the chemistry class I took back in high school (and per the stereotype...no, I didn't learn much). Plants and animals need the sun too!"

"Would like some more lecture on quantum leaps."

"I would like if you could explain the electron and protons; more about their energy levels and what is needed to emit and absorb a photon."

"Why does the sun only have wings in two directions during a solar eclipse? In the photo there were longer sections to the left and right. Why isn't it the same in all directions?" (The extent of the corona depends on how strong the solar wind and solar flares are at that time, which can vary.)

"The sun is hot and that makes it cool."

"The core of my sun knowledge is not the hottest."

"I thought the lava lamp was pretty cool on how you applied it to convection currents."

"I love miso soup so much!! Especially with tofu."

"I actually subsist mostly on miso soup (with noodles, seaweed, tofu and vegetables). Sooo good."

"I don't trust a person who doesn't like miso soup."

"If there were a movie about your life, which actor do you think would best portray you (doesn't need to look like you)." (Can I pick Brad Pitt? We're nearly the same age.)

"How long will it be until Earth becomes uninhabitable due to the sun's heat?" (We have about five billion more years until the sun begins to die, expanding gradually outwards to swallow up the inner planets.) "

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