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An Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology. 1) Astronomy - an Observational. Science. Page 2. Why study Astronomy 1. • A fascinating subject in its own right. This course is an introduction to modern astronomy, showing what we know PDF copies of the lectures as I give them .. form you can hold (and show off to friends), a selection has been published as a book, in “Universe: Days” by R. J. The main purpose of this book is to serve as a university textbook for a first course in astronomy. However, we believe that the audience will also include many.
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Currently these notes cover: a brief overview of astronomy's place in the scientific endeavor, the philosophy of science and the scientific method, astronomy that can be done without a telescope, a history of astronomy and science, Newton's law of gravity and applications to orbits, Einstein's Relativity theories, electromagnetic radiation, telescopes, all the objects of the solar system, solar system formation, determining properties of the stars, the Sun, fusion reactions, stellar structure, stellar evolution, the interstellar medium, the structure of the Milky Way galaxy, extra-galactic astronomy including active galaxies and quasars, cosmology, and extra-terrestrial life.
This site also has pages giving angular momentum examples, a quick mathematics review, improving study skills, astronomy tables, and astronomy terms. Although, this site is not as flashy as others, the website structure is the most stable astronomy website anywhere on the web. Links to pages within this website from other external sites have worked since that's "forever" in terms of the internet while the content on the pages have continually updated.
Pages are added to the structure for entirely new material and topics while "old" pages are updated, so links to the older pages will still work even as their content is updated. If you know of another website that has been around since or longer with a stable structure that has enabled links from external sites to pages within the website to still work as content has been updated, please let me know. If you have comments about these notes, please email me.
I introduce astronomy's place in science, and give a sense of the size and time scales involved.
Also discussion of the scientific method and how astrology is not a science and what makes astronomy a science. A separate section about the Science-Religion interface and interaction is available on this site.
It is not part of the regular textbook. Method for Finding Scientific Truth. Pseudoscience vs. This article is not part of the regular textbook. Astronomy Without a Telescope.
I discuss the celestial sphere, motions of the Sun solar and sidereal days, time zones, equation of time, and seasons , motions of the Moon phases and eclipses, including my own pictures of some solar eclipses , and planetary motions. Update: additional diagrams and animations for describing phases of the moon.
History of Astronomy.
I focus on the rise of modern science in Europe, from the ancient Greeks to Kepler. Newton's Law of Gravity. Newton's laws of motion and his law of gravity are discussed. Applications of those laws esp. Update: additional diagram for orbits section. Einstein's Relativity.
The concepts of spacetime and gravity as a warping of spacetime are introduced along with observational proofs of his theories, including the search for gravity waves with LIGO.
Electromagnetic Radiation Light. General properties of light, definition of frequency, spectrum, temperature. Light production: Continuous thermal spectra, emission lines, absorption lines and the Bohr model for the atom. Doppler Effect and why spectral lines must be used to measure the doppler shifts.
Updates: added "How do you do that? Also links to interactives about types of spectra.
Covers refractors, reflectors, radio telescopes, light-gathering power, resolving power, interferometers, magnification, and atmospheric distortion such as seeing, reddening, and extinction.
Also a section with tips on downloading a telescope.
Updates: added section about downloading personal telescope and updated material about new large research telescopes in the near future. Planetary Science. This chapter is an introduction to planetary science.
I discuss the techniques astronomers use to find out about the planets, their atmospheres what determines if an atmosphere sticks around; behavior of gases; what determines the surface temperature; atmosphere layers; the transport of energy; effects of clouds, mountains, and oceans; weather vs.
In a separate section I focus on a comparison between the atmospheres of Earth, Venus, and Mars and why they are now so radically different from each other greenhouse effect, carbon cycle, runaway refrigerator, runaway greenhouse, etc.
Mars discussion now includes proofs for liquid water in past and sub-surface water ice. The Earth discussion now includes the role of plate tectonics in the carbon cycle, evidence for human contribution to the atmospheric carbon dioxide and to the observed global temperature rise.
There are links to two flowcharts: a Earth-Venus-Mars comparison and a flowchart of the calculations involved in determining if an atmosphere sticks around for billions of years. I end the chapter with a discussion of the major moons in the solar system and ring systems.
Updates: weather vs. Beautiful Planet photo album of nature photography has imagery of mountains, lakes, streams, waterfalls, large trees, flowers, aurorae, other landscape images and some images of insects and frogs. Most images are from the western United States but some are also from eastern Australia and the aurorae are from Fairbanks, Alaska.
The rest of the album are from various beautiful places in the western United States and eastern Australia.
Answers to Global Warming Skeptics is a separate section about the climate change debate going on among the general public. Also, is a short "How I Know" PDF document with embedded links explaining why I accept the conclusion that Earth's climate is changing and that humans play a role—just one sheet of paper needed to print. After a wet winter in , the California Water Future article explains why water conservation is still needed. Solar System Fluff. At the end is an exploration of the other planetary systems.
Determining Star Properties. Notes for the properties of stars and how we determine them. Things like distances to stars, their masses, radii, composition and speeds. Astronomy Basics: Solar System Overview: Our Sun: The Terrestrial Planets: Page 21 - 39 Workbook Pages 17 - 36 Mercury: Pages 22 - 23 Venus: Pages 24 - 25 Earth: Pages 25 - 34 Mars: Outer, Dwarf and Exoplanets Pages: Pages 41 - 42 Saturn: Pages 42 - 44 Uranus: Pages 44 - 45 Neptune: Pages 45 - 46 Dwarf Planets, Plutoids and Exoplanets: Pages 47 The Moons: Rocks and Ice: Pages 67 - 75 Workbook Pages 57 - 64 Asteroids: Pages 69 - 71 Meteors: The Stars: The Universe: History of Rocketry: