Astronomy 104, Spring 2015, Sections 1-2-3-4.

These are introductory courses to astronomy, with more emphasis on active thinking than memorizing facts. The main points of this course are (1) a general understanding of astronomy, (2) what can be observed in the sky, (3) the Solar System in 103 / the stars and the Universe in 104.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Test 3 has been graded.

All grades are up to date as of Apr. 21.

In all classes and for all tests,

students need a new scantron # 16485,

one scantron for each class.


What's up in the sky?

 
The Sun.
There are quite a few sunspots now!

New Moon: Apr. 18, First Quarter: Apr. 25,

Full Moon: May. 4, Last Quarter: May. 11.

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Venus is observable only right after sunset, is very bright (-4 mg), but looks little (15 as) in the telescope.

Jupiter is up all night, and it is great in a telescope.

Saturn rises at 10:30 pm, but is observable only after midnight.

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News

1. The Dawn spacecraft spots two very bright spots on Ceres, probably ice deposits. Looks quite striking.

Click here for the image and explanation.

2. Philae, a space probe off the Rosetta spacecraft,

has landed on comet Churiumov-Gerasimenko after bouncing up twice.

It seems it landed in a hole, and hybernating for lack of power.

An important result of the mission: Earth's water did not originate in comets.

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Unusual events and objects

(Students might want to ask help in how to use the coordinates, ephemerids and finder charts.)

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