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Astronomy: Watching the Sky. A TCNJ CCS Program. Contents. Class 1: From Astrology to Astronomy – The history of looking up at the sky. Class 2: A Trip Through the Solar System – Planets, Moons, and Comets. Oh My! Class 3: The Big Bang and the Universe – The history of everything

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astronomy watching the sky

Astronomy: Watching the Sky

A TCNJ CCS Program

  • Class 1: From Astrology to Astronomy –The history of looking up at the sky.
  • Class 2: A Trip Through the Solar System – Planets, Moons, and Comets. Oh My!
  • Class 3: The Big Bang and the Universe – The history of everything
  • Class 4: Space Exploration– Spaceflight and a visit to the planetarium.
in the beginning
In the beginning…
  • The ancients believed that the sky was the realm of the gods.
  • They knew the sky well. With no TV or Internet there was nothing else to watch at night!
in the beginning4
In the beginning…
  • Define terms:
  • Astrology : A belief system that the positions of the stars and planets provide information about personality, human affairs, and other earthly matters.
in the beginning5
In the beginning
  • Astronomy: the scientific study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere.
astronomy vs astrology
Astronomy vs. Astrology
  • Astronomy and Astrology were largely the same thing.
  • Many cultures believed that the heavens were the realm of the gods who controlled men destinies.
  • Observing the heavens, however, also had very practical applications.
ancient astronomy worldwide
Ancient Astronomy Worldwide
  • Many ancient cultures had a highly developed art of astronomy.
  • This included the Chinese, Arabs, Greeks, Babylonians and Mayans.
egyptian astronomy
Egyptian Astronomy
  • Had a 360 day calendar from earliest times.
  • Used movement of stars and sun to predict Nile flood.
  • Religious festivals timed with moon, stars, sun.
  • Temples built base on alignment with sky.
alignment with sky
Alignment with Sky
  • Pyramids aligned with Polaris, the North Star.
  • Temple Amun-Re at Karnak has a passage that is only illuminated by the mid-winter’s rising sun.
  • The ancients noticed that stars always rose at the same point.
  • Other objects like the Sun and Moon would vary with the time and season.
  • Monuments like Stonehenge were built aligned to certain days of the year and could act as calendars.
sun moon planets
Sun, Moon & Planets
  • Do not rise and set at the same place over each day.
  • But the stars do!
  • Sunrise alignment and a tomb.
egyptian gods in the sky
Egyptian Gods in the Sky
  • Sun was the god Re
  • Moon was Troth god of wisdom.
ancient constellations
Ancient Constellations
  • A grouping of stars is a constellation.
  • Different ancient cultures had different constellations.
  • The afterlife god Osiris shares most of the same stars with our modern constellation Orion.
some greek constellations
Some Greek Constellations
  • Capricorn (the goat) – Draco (the dragon)
what the ancients saw
What the Ancients Saw
  • All noticed that the stars seemed to be fixed on a giant sphere that turned about the earth (The “Starry Vault”)
  • The sun and moon moved across the sphere on similar path.
the wanderers
The Wanderers
  • Another group of objects moved across the sky in the same path as the sun and moon.
  • These did not always move in a consistent direction but wandered forward and back.
  • We call this objects planets after the ancient Greek word for wanderer.
hairy stars
Hairy Stars
  • Comets were planet-like objects with long tails that appeared at random times.
  • They were often associated with important (sometimes evil) events (death of a king, etc.).
evil omen
Evil Omen
  • In 1066 the appearance of Halley’s Comet was considered an omen of the death of Harold II of England who died at the Battle of Hastings later that year.
the z odiac
The Zodiac
  • The constellations the sun, moon and planets moved through were often considered special.
  • Today we call this group the Zodiac.
the z odiacs
The Zodiacs
  • Different cultures had different zodiacs because their constellations were different.
greek z odiac
Greek Zodiac
  • The Greek Zodiac has 12 constellations:
  • Aries, the ram; Taurus, the bull; Gemini, the twins; Cancer, the crab; Leo, the Lion; Virgo, the Virgin; Libra, the scales; Scorpio, the scorpion, Sagittarius, the archer; Capricorn, the goat; Aquarius, the water bearer; and Pisces, the fish.
greeks aristotle
Greeks: Aristotle
  • Aristotle believed that the earth was at the center of a number of sphere’s.
  • On the outermost sphere were the stars.
  • Inner spheres contained the sun, moon and planets.
geocentric system
Geocentric System
  • A planetary system with Earth at the center like Aristotle proposed was geocentric. The Greek word geo means “Earth.”
  • Most ancient astronomers used a geocentric system.
the greeks the almagest
The Greeks: The Almagest
  • Around 100 BC Claudius Ptolemy took Aristotle's system and put math to it.
  • He published this in a massive book called the Almagest.
  • It was the authority for astronomy for almost the next 1000 years.
the wanders problem
The “Wanders” Problem
  • The old geocentric system had hard time explaining the motion of the planets. How could they make these strange loops?
heliocentric theory
Heliocentric Theory
  • A few ancient scholars, however, came up with the idea that the Sun, not the Earth was the center of the solar system (Such as Aryabhata a 5th century Indian astronomer).
  • A planetary system with the sun in the center is known as a heliocentric system.
  • From the Greek word Helios, which means “Sun.”
  • Around 1530 the Polish scholar Nicholas Copernicus published a book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres proposing a heliocentric system.
  • It was a much simpler system then Ptolemy’s.
retrograde motion
Retrograde Motion
  • Because both Earth & other planets are orbiting the Sun they can appear to move backwards.
copernican revolution
Copernican Revolution
  • Copernicus’ claim was controversial.
  • Man and Earth not center of universe.
  • Changed our understanding of man’s place in universe.
johannes kepler
Johannes Kepler
  • One of the first astronomers to adopt and defend Copernicus’ sun centered system.
  • Invented a basic refracting telescope.
  • Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion
kepler s laws of planetary motion
Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion
  • Kepler discovered that the length of their orbit was a function of their distance from the sun.
  • He also realized that planets did not move in perfect circular orbits, but ellipses.
galileo galilei
Galileo Galilei
  • Did not invent the telescope.
  • One of the first persons to use it for astronomy.
  • Vocal supporter of sun centered system.
galileo s accomplishments
Galileo’s Accomplishments
  • Discovered mountains on the moon in 1610.
  • Discovered four moons of Jupiter in 1610.
  • Discovered rings of Saturn in 1610.
  • Discovered sunspots in 1613.
galileo and the church
Galileo and the Church
  • The church found the sun centered system “false and contrary to Scripture.”
  • Galileo was warned not to defend Copernicus’ system.
  • He was put on trial and forced to recant his ideas.
  • He spent the end of his life under house arrest.
father of modern astronomy
Father of Modern Astronomy
  • Has been called:
  • Father of modern observational astronomy
  • Father of modern physics
  • Father of Modern Science
  • Stephen Hawking says, "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science.“
  • In 1992, Pope John Paul II issued a declaration acknowledging the errors committed by the Church tribunal that judged the scientific positions of Galileo.
newton s gravity
Newton’s Gravity
  • Isaac Newton born on 4 January 1643.
  • Gravity: Every object in the universe attracts every other object.
  • The force is more powerful with more mass involved.
  • The force weakens over distance.
law of gravity
Law of Gravity
  • We are 6 times heavier on the Earth than the moon because the Earth is more massive than the moon.
  • If you weighed 100 pounds on Earth you would be 16.6 pounds on the moon and 236 pounds on Jupiter.
  • One of the weakest forces in nature, but also one of the most long range.
  • Holds the planets in orbit around the sun.
  • Gravity vs. Electromagnetism
  • Read “Comet Halley: Harbinger of Death?” for next class.
group work
Group Work:
  • Groups will work together to present on these topic on February 1st.
    • Mars: Is there a possibility of Life on Mars?
    • What’s the Story with Pluto?
    • How does a telescope work?
    • What is SETI?