Lecture 1 : Introduction and Overview. Robert Fisher. Overview. I. Introductions II. Historical and Cultural Overview of the Origin of Astronomy and Astrophysics II. Scientific Overview A. How large is the Universe? How old is it? B. What is the Universe made of?
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“… a trip to the serenity of the soul, to the eternal fusion with the cosmos, there we feel our own fragility.”
-- Pablo Naruda, “The Heights of Machu Picchu”
A 50,000-year old flute!
“Thales,” says Cicero, “assures that water is the arche [principle] of all things; and that God is that Mind which shaped and created all things from water.”
“The evolution of the world can be compared to a display of fireworks that just ended; some few red wisps, ashes, and smoke. Standing on a cooled cinder, we see the slow fading of the suns, and we try to recall the vanishing brilliance of the origin of the worlds.”
Distance = velocity x time
= (speed of light) x (1 second) = (3 x 108 m/s) (1 s) = 3 x 108 m
Roughly the distance from the moon to the Earth.
Use the fact that the number of seconds in a year is
1 year = (365 d) (24 hours/d) (60 min/hour) (60 s/min) = 3.15 x 107 s
approximately equal to 3 x 107 s
1 LY = (speed of light) x (1 year) = (3 x 108 m/s) (3 x 107 s ) =
= 9 x 1015 m
Roughly one-quarter the distance between the Earth and the nearest
star (other than the Sun).
Hint : Use the result we found. 1 LY = 9 x 1015 m,