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The Sky

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The Sky

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Presentation Transcript

  1. The Sky Chapter 2

  2. Goals: • Learn how scientists divide the sky into constellations • Learn origin of constellations and their names • Understand and apply the concept of magnitude • Understand the celestial sphere • Understand what causes the seasons • Describe the motion of the planets • Learn about astrology (!!)

  3. Outline I. The Stars A. Constellations B. The Names of the Stars C. The Brightness of Stars D. Magnitude and Intensity II. The Sky and Its Motion A. The Celestial Sphere B. Precession III. The Cycles of the Sun A. The Annual Motion of the Sun B. The Seasons

  4. Outline (continued) IV. The Motion of the Planets A. The Moving Planets B. Astrology V. Astronomical Influences on Earth's Climate A. The Hypothesis B. The Evidence

  5. Daily Motion in the Sky (SLIDESHOW MODE ONLY)

  6. Constellations In ancient times, constellations only referred to the brightest stars that appeared to form groups, representing mythological figures.

  7. Constellations (2) Today, constellations are well-defined regions on the sky. The International Astronomical Union lists 88 official constellations with clearly defined boundaries

  8. Constellations (3) The stars of a constellation only appear to be close to one another Usually, this is only a projection effect. The stars of a constellation may be located at very different distances from us. An asterism is a part of a constel-lation. (The Big Dipper is part of Ursa Major)

  9. Constellations (4) Stars are named by a Greek letter (α, β, γ) according to their relative brightness within a given constellation + the possessive form of the name of the constellation: Orion Betelgeuse = α OrionisRigel = β Orionis Betelgeuze Rigel

  10. The Magnitude Scale • First introduced by Hipparchus (160 - 127 B.C.): • Brightest stars: ~1st magnitude • Faintest stars (unaided eye): 6th magnitude • apparent visual magnitude = “unaided eye” from earth • absolute magnitude = from about 33 light years away • 1st mag. stars appear 100 times brighter than 6th mag. • 1 mag. difference is a factor of 2.512 in apparent brightness (larger magnitude => fainter object!)

  11. The Magnitude Scale (Example) Betelgeuse Magnitude = 0.41 mag For a magnitude difference of 0.41 – 0.14 = 0.27, we find an intensity ratio of (2.512)0.27 = 1.28. Rigel Magnitude = 0.14 mag

  12. The Magnitude Scale (2) The magnitude scale system can be extended towards negative numbers (very bright) and numbers > 6 (faint objects): Sirius (brightest star in the sky): mv = -1.42Full moon: mv = -12.5Sun: mv = -26.5

  13. The Celestial Sphere Zenith = Point on the celestial sphere directly overhead Nadir = Point on the c.s. directly underneath (not visible!) Celestial equator = projection of Earth’s equator onto the c. s. North celestial pole = projection of Earth’s north pole onto the c. s.

  14. The Celestial Sphere (2) • From geographic latitude l (northern hemisphere), you see the celestial north pole l degrees above the horizon; • From geographic latitude –l (southern hemisphere), you see the celestial south pole ldegrees above the horizon. 90o - l • Celestial equator culminates 90º – l above the horizon. l

  15. Celestial Sphere (SLIDESHOW MODE ONLY)

  16. The Celestial Sphere (Example) San Francisco: l≈ 37.7º Celestial North Pole Celestial Equator 52.30 37.70 Horizon Horizon North South The Celestial South Pole is not visible from the northern hemisphere.

  17. The Celestial Sphere (3)

  18. Apparent Motion of The Celestial Sphere star trails video Circumpolar constellations never rise or set, but appear to rotate counterclockwise around the north celestial pole (Polaris).

  19. Apparent Motion of The Celestial Sphere (2)

  20. Precession (1) At left, gravity is pulling on a slanted top, causing it to wobble around a vertical axis. Gravity’s pull from the Sun and Moon does the same to Earth. The resulting “wobbling” of Earth’s axis of rotation takes about 26,000 years and is called precession.

  21. Precession (2) As a result of precession, the celestial north pole follows a circular pattern on the sky, once every 26,000 years. We are lucky to live at a time when a fairly bright star (Polaris, magnitude 2) is near the north celestial pole. It will be closest to Polaris ~ A.D. 2100. ~ 12,000 years from now, it will be close to Vega in the constellation Lyra.

  22. The Sun and Its Motions Earth’s rotation is causing the day/night cycle. (rotation - turning of a body about an axis)

  23. The Sun and Its Motions (2) Due to Earth’s revolution around the sun, the sun appears to move through the zodiacal constellations. (revolution - motion around a point located outside a body) The Sun’s apparent path on the sky is called the Ecliptic. (Another definition: the Ecliptic is the projection of Earth’s orbit onto the celestial sphere.)

  24. Constellations in Different Seasons (SLIDESHOW MODE ONLY)

  25. The Seasons Earth’s axis of rotation is inclined by 23.5° (from a right angle to plane of orbit) which causes the seasons.

  26. The Seasons (2) The Seasons are only caused by a varying angle of incidence of the sun’s rays. Steep incidence → Summer Light from the sun Shallow incidence → Winter Seasons are not related to Earth’s distance from the sun. In fact, Earth is slightly closer to the sun in (northern-hemisphere) winter than in summer.


  28. The Seasons (3) Northern summer = southern winter Northern winter = southern summer Notice the angle of sun’s rays on each hemisphere during each solstice

  29. Shadow and Seasons (SLIDESHOW MODE ONLY)

  30. The Seasons (4) ecliptic video The number of daylight hours differ each season: summer solstice = most hours winter solstice = least hours equinoxes = equal hours Equinox also means sun crosses celestial equator: summer sun north of c.e. winter sun south of c.e.

  31. The Seasons (5) Earth’s distance from the sun has only a very minor influence on seasonal temperature variations. Earth is 1.7% closer to sun in the northern winter than in the northern summer. Earth’s orbit (eccentricity greatly exaggerated) Earth in January Earth in July Sun

  32. The Motion of the Planets The planets are orbiting the sun almost exactly in the plane of the Ecliptic. Jupiter Venus Mars Earth Mercury Saturn The Moon is also orbiting Earth in almost the same plane of the Ecliptic.

  33. The Motion of the Planets (2) • All outer planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) generally appear to move eastward along the Ecliptic. • The inner planets Mercury and Venus can never be seen at large angular distance from the sun and appear only as morning or evening stars. retrograde video

  34. The Motion of the Planets (3) Mercury appears at most ~28° from the sun. It can occasionally be seen shortly after sunset in the west or before sunrise in the east. Venus appears at most ~46° from the sun. It can occasionally be seen for at most a few hours after sunset in the west or before sunrise in the east. Morning star - planets visible before sunrise. Evening star - planets visible in the evening sky

  35. Astrology Zodiac - an 18 degree wide band centered on the ecliptic (the highway the planets follow). • Astrologers divide this band into 12 segments named for constellations along the ecliptic. These are the signs of the zodiac. • Your horoscope shows the location of the sun, moon, and planets among the zodiacal signs with respect to the horizon at the moment of a person’s birth.

  36. New Terms constellation asterism magnitude scale apparent visual magnitude (mv) celestial sphere horizon zenith nadir north celestial pole south celestial pole celestial equator north point south point east point west point angular distance angular diameter circumpolar constellation precession rotation revolution ecliptic vernal equinox summer solstice autumnal equinox winter solstice evening star morning star zodiac horoscope