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This course covers the content as prescribed by VCAA for the Unit 1,2 Physics Detailed Study of Astronomy.
The course includes audio/video instruction, running simulations, analysing images and, importantly, your own observations of the night sky.
The course will take 3 weeks to complete, with 3 lessons per week.
Each lesson typically involves:
- the introduction of the theory (video and/or text)
- experiment/practical activity/night sky observation/simulation exercise
- further reading/references
The final lessons will go through revision of course content, then a final test.
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|Section 1: Introduction to Astronomy|
Introduction to the course: why astronomy is so important and fascinating.
The course follows the VCAA Units1/2 Physics detailed study. Details can be found here within the study design.
|Lecture 3||1 page|
Question sheet for you to answer. Answers can be found within the lecture, but further research is recommended.
Watching the night sky activity
|Quiz 1||4 questions|
Let's see what you know.
Further reading, things to watch and sites to look at
Starry Night software demonstration showing the ecliptic
Software available from: stellarium.org
The Ecliptic as seen from outside the solar system
Stellarium ecliptic and key functions
|Section 2: Plotting star positions (co-ordinate systems)|
Watch this video as an introduction to the co-ordinate systems used in Astronomy.
There are many other videos that can be found on youtube searching on "astronomy coordinate systems" or "celestial coordinates". Try this or this or even how to navigate using star coordinates from here.
Another comprehensive analysis of Orion is here.
|Lecture 11||1 page|
Complete the glossary and these questions.
Star position quiz
|Lecture 12||6 pages|
Download the attached and complete over multiple night viewings. This should not take too long, but carefully locate the objects you are tracking.
Take time to get to know the sky. If you can get away from street lighting and look at the sky for a while, you will notice some have colour. Orion is a great place to start looking for stars with colour. Read the information and watch the video from this link.
The BBC video at this link also contains information about Orion's colours. Remember it is being viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, so it is the other way up for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere.
|Lecture 14||1 page|
Download and print the attached.
Follow the directions/questions to learn what a sidereal day is and how long it is.
Answers available for download, but make sure you have completed teh questions before checking your answers.
|Section 3: The motion of the Sun, equinoxes and the Zodiac|
A matter of time activity
Checking your star sign
Check your star sign activity
|Section 4: The phases of the Moon|
|Lecture 19||1 page|
This diagram shows why we see the moon as we do. On this diagram, the Moon is always lit from the right. As it revolves around the Earth, we are looking at the lit side, the dark side, or somewhere in between.
Additionally, the Moon is no longer geologically active. It's core has cooled and solidified and it has stopped rotating on it's axis. It is more dense on the side that faces us, and we always see this side from Earth.
Phases of the moon lecture
Phases of the moon activity
|Section 5: Retrograde motion of planets|
Retrograde motion lecture
Retrograde motion activity
|Section 6: Historical understanding of the Universe|
Historical research questions
General Astronomy questions
|Section 7: Telescopes|
|Lecture 26||5 pages|
This document outlines the main types of telescopes and how they are configured.
Making a telescope activity
|Section 8: Celestial objects|
Celestial objects activity
|Section 9: The Southern region of sky|
Southern region of sky activity
|Section 10: Revision and Test|
Currently teaching Physics, Mathematics and Science.
Love everything to do with these topics.
I have been teaching for ten years. Prior to this I was an Engineer at a factory manufacturing telecommunication grade optical fibre. Most of the data and voice traffic in Australia and New Zealand travels through fibre that we made.
My first Engineering job was in the electronic design of the head-up display used in the F-16.