ASTRO 001, Unit 1 notes, Basic Astronomy and the Nighttime Sky, These notes cover the first 3 weeks of the course that will be on the first exam

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Pennsylvania State University
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Ana Matkovic

ASTRO 001 Unit 1: Basic Astronomy and the Nighttime Sky  The earth rotates counterclockwise  Earth’s distance to the sun has nothing to do with temperature or seasons  Phases of the moon: 1. New moon- moon not visible from earth 2. Waxing cresent- partly, but less than half illuminated, illuminated fraction is increasing 3. First quarter- one half illuminated and increasing 4. Waxing gibbous- more than half illuminated and increasing 5. Full moon- full illuminated 6. Waning gibbous- more than half but not fully illuminated, decreasing 7. Last quarter- half illuminated and deceasing 8. Waning cresent- less than half illuminated and decreasing 9. Waning cresent- less than half illuminated and decreasing  Solar eclipse- when the moon passes between earth and the sun, causing a shadow to fall on the earth and blocking out the view of the sun  Orion is most visible in winter in PA  Cynus Swan is a summer constellation  Summer triangle- brightest stars in the summer sky Light  Radio waves measured in meters and centimeters  Infrared measured in micrometers or microns, which are one millionth of a meter  Visible light (UV and X-rays) measured in nanometers (billionth of a meter) or angstroms (ten billionths of a meter)  UV light has shorter waved lengths than visible light UV split in three sections: 1. Near UV (NUV)- light closest to optical or visible light 2. Far UV (FUV)- lies between the near and extreme UV regions. It is least explored of the three regions 3. Extreme UV (EUV)- light closest to X-rays and is the most energetic of the three types  Sunburn is caused by sun’s UV rays  X-rays- small wavelengths, first observed Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in 1895  Many things in space emit X-rays such as black holes, neutron stars, binary star systems, supernova remnants, stars, the sun and even some comets  When an object is heated to over a million degrees, it gives off X-rays  Gamma-rays have the smallest, most energetic wavelengths of any other wave in the electromagnetic spectrum 1. Can kill living cells such as cancer 2. Generated by radioactive atoms and in nuclear explosions  Infrared light lies between the visible and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum  The heat we feel from sun, fire, radiator, or warm sidewalk is infrared  Radio waves have the longest wave lengths in the electromagnetic spectrum  Kelvins-273= celcius  Every solid, liquid, and dense gas that has a temperature above 0 degrees kelvin (-273 celcius) can be thought of as a blackbody- the amount of light it gives off depends only on its temperature  Coldest blackbody= 3500K  Hottest blackbody= 5500K  As you increase the temperature of a blackbody, it gives off more light and the peak of its curve gets bluer  The differences in the types of spectra are caused by the interaction between light and matter  All matter is made of atoms, all atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons  Hydrogen is the simplest atom  An individual particle of light is called a photon  Each individual photon carries energy- a gamma-ray photon carries a
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