Discovering the Universe


Discovering the Universe (CCU)

Unit 1: Discovering the Universe (weeks 1-3)


Major Theme: The shores of the great cosmic ocean.
“The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicably. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land.” – T.H. Huxley, 1887.


Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the differences between Astronomy and Astrology
  • Describe the daily motions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars relative to the horizon.
  • Describe the seasonal positions of the sun – at sunrise, noon, and sunset – relative to the horizon.
  • Describe the motions of the sun, moon, and planets relative to the stars of the zodiac.
  • Understand the astronomical conditions necessary for solar and lunar eclipses.
  • Define the ecliptic and tell how to find its approximate position in the sky.
  • Describe the essential aspects of a scientific model and evaluate cosmological models in the context of scientific model making.

Outline:

Astronomy vs Astrology – Zodiac Activity (in class)

The Visible Sky

  • Scaling
  • The Celestial Sphere & Motion of the Stars
  • Constellations – Period 1Period 2, & Period 5
    • Cassiopeia
      Cepheus
      Corona Borealis
      Draco
      Ursa Major
      Ursa Minor
      Bootes
      Cancer
      Hydra
      Leo
      Triangulum
      Virgo
      Aquila
      Cygnus
      Hercules
      Lyra
      Ophiuchus
      Sagittarius
      Andromeda
      Aquarius
      Capricornus
      Pegasus
      Pisces
      Lepus
      Canis Major
      Gemini
      Orion
      Perseus
      Scorpius
      Taurus

The Motions of the Sun and Moon

  • Seasons
  • Motions relative to the horizon and stars
  • Precession of the Equinoxes
  • Lunar orbital motion and Phases of the Moon
  • Solar and Lunar Eclipses

The Motions of the Planets

  • Retrograde Motion
  • Relative Distances of the Planets

Activities & Assignments:

Your Zodiac sign

Register for online homework using these instructions.

CCU college registration: for information on CCU enrollment and registration see these instructions. ** Be sure to complete the enrollment and registration process with CCU.  This is solely your own responsibility and your instructor can not enroll or register you for the course to receive college credit.

Read Zeilik: Chapter 1 & 2, OR the online content on Observation (Introduction through Northern Hemisphere)

Listen to AstronomyCast on Ursa Major (Big Dipper) Episode 227 – optional

Lunar Phases (in class), Post lab homework: Phases of the Moon tutorial

CAPER tutorial: Predicting Lunar Phases tutorial

Seasons tutorial


Unit 1 Exam Study Guide: Celestial Sphere

  1. Review all presentations.
  2. Review  the assigned reading: Chapters 1 & 2 in textbook  – or – online reading assignment.
  3. Know the phases of the moon and draw a diagram explaining the phases.
  4. Review all questions relating to the “Lunar Phases” online tutorial and the “Seasons” online tutorial.
  5. Review answers to the online HW1: Discovering thew Universe.
  6. Match the following archeological sites to their importance to astronomy.
    1. Pyramids of Giza
    2. Newgrange
    3. Stonehedge
    4. Chiche’n Itza’

Online Homework


Visit web sites: 

Star Chart of the Month

Sky at a Glance

In the Sky this Month

Scale of the Universe

Online Astronomy: http://astronomyonline.org

How to choose a good telescope