ASTR 310 Final: Astronomy Study Guide 310

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University of British Columbia
ASTR 310
Harvey Richer

Key Words: Light year: 300,000 kms earth: spins counter clockwise, moon spins around earth in same direction. something is rising when its on your horizon spinning towards it order of planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune Aristotle: he viewed the earths shadow cast on the moon during the lunar eclipse and determined that because it is always curved regardless of our orientation the earth must be spherical Little Dipper: Ursa minor, where polaris is located Polaris: indicates north, earths rotation axis points here The celestial Sphere: believed the stars were attached to a sphere orbiting around us because they moved from east to west but stayed in the same location relative to us. We now know this is the earth rotating. Zenith: directly overhead from where you are, 90 from you to horizon Focault Pendulum: experiment that denitively proves the earth is spinning. If it wasnt the pendulum would only have gravity acting on it, but because it is spinning the ball appears to swing in a clockwise direction making a full circle for 24 hours. Altitude: the altitude of a star refers to its degrees above the horizon. the altitude of polaris is related to your latitude on earth Circumpolar stars: stars that never set below your horizon, all subjective to where you are. at the north pole, every star you see is circumpolar. at the equator, no stars are circumpolar at intermediate latitude, some stars are, the celestial poles: the points where the earths axis intersects on the celestial sphere, where the stars appear to be rotating around celestial equator: midway between the north and south celestial poles, intersection of earths equator plane with the celestial sphere. Rotation: to spin, the earth has a daily rotation Revolve: to move around something in a circular orbit Sidereal Day: a day measured by the stars, is a different length than a solar day, slightly longer because of the revolution pattern of the earth. Earths darkened hemisphere faces a slightly different (1 degree) angle per night, explaining the changing constellations per season Ecliptic: a great circle on the celestial sphere representing the suns apparent path during the year, called this because solar and lunar eclipses can occur only when the moon crosses this path. Summer Solstice: the point on the ecliptic where the sun is at its northern most point above the celestial equator. This is also where our planets north pole comes closest to pointing in the direction of the sun. Points north of the equator spend their greatest fraction of the day in sunlight longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and shortest for the southern hemisphere Winter Solstice: when the sun is at its southern most point below the celestial equator and the north pole is farthest fro the sun. Longest day for the southern hemisphere seasons: happen because the tilt of the earths rotation axis relative to the ecliptic pattern. it is NOT because the earths distance to the sun Equinox: the two points where the suns epileptic pattern and the celestial equator intercept, on these days, night and day are equal lengths. Autumnal Equinox: when the sun crosses from the northern into the southern hemisphere Page 1 of 16
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