Astronomy for VCE Physics
- By the end of this course you will have an understanding of the motion of the night sky
how to observe celestial objects
- An inquiring mind
- access the computer or iPad (preferrably both)
- access to the internet
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.
- year 11 physics students undertaking 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.
Software available from: stellarium.org
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.
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.
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.