Higher School Certificate Physics Space

Learn about the Physics of Space Flight, from the basic operation of gravity to relativity (HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2)
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  • Lectures 52
  • Length 7.5 hours
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
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About This Course

Published 11/2016 English

Course Description

This course provides complete coverage of Space topic from the New South Wales Higher School Certificate Physics Syllabus.

The course covers gravity, projectile motion, the motion of satellites, rockets, launch and re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere, and relativity.

The course consists of content lectures, outlining key points and covering all syllabus dot points, as well as worked examples of questions based on past HSC questions, practical activities, and exercises.  Course notes cover all lecture content including summaries of key points, worked examples, outlines for practical activities, and other student activities, providing all information needed to complete these tasks. 

The course is intended to be completed over approximately ten weeks, but allows learners to proceed through the course at their own pace.

The course follows the NSW HSC Physics Syllabus and is largely in  syllabus order.

For students this course will improve your performance in the NSW HSC Physics course, or any similar Physics course you are studying, assist Physics teachers by providing lesson ideas and content, and provide an understanding of the Physics of space travel for anyone interested in the subject.

What are the requirements?

  • Ideally have completed Year 11 Physics or an equivalent introductory course.
  • Have a basic understanding of algebra and trigonometry.
  • Have some understanding of manipulating and solving equations.
  • Have a calculator.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Understand the basic Physics of Space Flight.
  • Perform better in NSW HSC Physics exam
  • Gain resources that can be used to aid your teaching of HSC Physics.
  • Have an understanding of the mechanics of gravity.
  • Be able to calculate weight, mass and acceleration due to gravity.
  • Be able to measure acceleration due to gravity on Earth, and explain variations in acceleration due to gravity on Earth.
  • Be able to estimate acceleration due to gravity on other planets
  • Be able to calculate and explain Gravitational Potential Energy
  • Explain the motion of projectiles in terms of horizontal and vertical components of their motion
  • Calculate the trajectory of projectiles.
  • Have an understanding of the modern history of rocketry
  • Have an understanding of how rockets work and the rocket equation.
  • Have an understanding of the forces experienced by astronauts during launch
  • Have an understanding the mechanics of interplanetary space flight.
  • Have an understanding of re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Understand and be able to calculate the orbits of planets and satellites
  • Have an understanding of the history of the understanding of light
  • Understand and explain Galilean relativity
  • Understand and explain the Michelson- Morley experiment and it's importance to the theory of relativity
  • Have an understanding of special relativity.
  • Be able to calculate relativistic length, time dilation and mass.
  • Have an understanding of the impact of relativity on space flight.

What is the target audience?

  • People studying or teaching Physics for the NSW Higher School Certificate
  • People wanting an introduction to the Physics of Space Flight.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

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Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
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Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Introduction
06:41

Introduction to the course, detailing:

Syllabus coverage.

Course Structure, 

How to get the most out of the course,

What you will gain from the course.

Section 2: Gravity Syllabus 9.2.1
07:09


The gravitational theories of Aristotle and Galileo.

Galileo's thought experiments and practical experiments on gravity.

Experimental proof of Galileo's theory of gravity by the Apollo astronauts on the Moon.

Definition of Gravity, Weight and Mass.


Syllabus coverage:

9.2.1.2.1  'Define weight as the force on an object due to a gravitational field.'

See 'Resources' for printable notes.

06:58

Calculating weight using the equation F= mg.

Rearranging the equation F= mg to calculate g and m.

Weight on other planets.

Relationship between the mass of a planet and acceleration due to gravity.


NSW HSC Physics Syllabus dot point 9.2.1.3.3

'Analyse information using the expression:

F = mg

to determine the weight force for a body on Earth and for the same body on other planets.


See 'Resources' lecture 1 for printable notes.

08:17

Worked Examples of calculating weight, mass and acceleration due to gravity.

Questions based on:

1,2009 HSC Question 16

2, 2010 HSC Question 7

3, 2011 HSC Question 2


NSW HSC Physics Syllabus dot point 9.2.1.3.3

'Analyse information using the expression:

F = mg

to determine the weight force for a body on Earth and for the same body on other planets.'


See 'Resources' lecture 1 for printable notes.

12:36

Activity to measure acceleration due to gravity using a pendulum.

Outline of the materials needed, and how to carry out the exercise.

Outline of mathematics needed to calculate acceleration due to gravity from the period of a pendulum.

Outline of factors which may affect the local value of acceleration due to gravity, including the spin of the planet, geology and elevation.

Brief discussion of the science and history of pendulums.

If you are unable to carry out the activity, please use the data in the printable notes, and attempt the questions.

HSC Physics Syllabus dot point 9.2.1.3.1

'Perform an investigation and gather information to determine a value for acceleration due to gravity using pendulum motion or computer-assisted technology and identify reason for possible variations from the value 9.8 m/s.'

And

HSC Physics Syllabus dot point 9.2.3.3.1

'Present information and use available evidence to discuss the factors affecting the strength of the gravitational force.'


See 'Resources' for printable notes.


12:36

Worked example of calculations and answers to questions  for the activity to measure acceleration due to gravity using a pendulum.

Worked examples of related past HSC Questions,

Questions Based on:

1, 2012 HSC Question 21

2, 2014 HSC Question 3

3, 2002 HSC Question 16

HSC Physics Syllabus dot point 9.2.1.3.1

'Perform an investigation and gather information to determine a value for acceleration due to gravity using pendulum motion or computer-assisted technology and identify reason for possible variations from the value 9.8 m/s.'

And

HSC Physics Syllabus dot point 9.2.3.3.1

'Present information and use available evidence to discuss the factors affecting the strength of the gravitational force.'


See 'Resources' lecture 4 for printable notes.

3 questions

Test your understanding of weight, mass and gravity.

14:27

The nature of gravitational fields.

Equipotential surfaces.

The inverse square law.

Centre of gravity.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus dot point 9.2.3.2.1

'Describe a gravitational field in the region surrounding a massive object in terms of its effects on other masses in it.'

And

HSC Physics Syllabus dot point 9.2.3.3.1

'Present information and use available evidence to discuss the factors affecting the strength of the gravitational force.'


See 'Resources' for printable notes.

17:54

Estimating acceleration due to gravity on the surfaces of extra solar planets.

Estimating the value of acceleration due to gravity at the Apollo 14 Moon landing site.

Syllabus Coverage:

NSW HSC Syllabus: 9.2.1.3.2

'Gather secondary information to predict the value of acceleration due to gravity on other planets.'


See 'Resources' for printable notes.

11:22

Worked solutions to predicting 'g' on other planets.

Activity 1, estimating acceleration due to gravity on the surfaces of extra solar planets.


Syllabus Coverage:

NSW HSC Syllabus: 9.2.1.3.2

'Gather secondary information to predict the value of acceleration due to gravity on other planets.'


See 'Resources' lecture 7 for printable notes.

15:21

Worked solutions to estimating acceleration due to gravity on other planets. 

Activity 2, estimating the value of acceleration due to gravity at the Apollo 14 Moon landing site.

Worked solutions to problems.

Problems Based on:

1, 2013 HSC Question 22

2, 2007 HSC question 4

3, 2006 HSC question


Syllabus Coverage:

NSW HSC Syllabus: 9.2.1.3.2

'Gather secondary information to predict the value of acceleration due to gravity on other planets.'

See 'Resources' lecture 7 for printable notes.


3 questions

Test your understanding of gravitational fields and extra terrestrial gravity.

14:25

Gravitational Potential Energy in space.

The relationship between Gravitational Potential Energy and Work.

Calculating Gravitational Potential Energy.

Syllabus Coverage:

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.1.2.3

'Define gravitational potential energy as the work done to move an object from a very large distance away to a point in a gravitational field.'

See 'Resources' for printable notes.

10:12

Worked solutions to gravitational potential energy problems.

Problems Based on:

1, 2012 HSC question 4

2, 2014 HSC question 27c

3, 2006 HSC question 18


Syllabus Coverage:

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.1.2.3

'Define gravitational potential energy as the work done to move an object from a very large distance away to a point in a gravitational field.'


See 'Resources' lecture 10 for printable notes.

Gravitational Potential Energy
3 questions
06:40

Summary of the gravity topic.

Syllabus coverage: 9.2.1 (complete) and 9.2.3 (partial)

Topics include:

Gravity, mass and weight.

Gravity on other planets.

Variations in gravitational fields.

Gravitational Fields.

Gravitational potential energy.


Section 3: Space Flight 9.2.2
07:57

Outlines Galileo's analysis of projectile motion, and introduces the concept that the trajectory of objects undergoing projectile motion in Earth's gravitational field can be analysed in terms of a constant horizontal velocity and a constant vertical acceleration.

Syllabus coverage:

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.2.2.2

'Describe Galileo’s analysis of projectile motion.'

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.2.2.1

'Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.'


See 'Resources' for printable notes.

10:18

Worked solutions to problems on Galileo's analysis of projectile motion, and the concept that the trajectory of objects, undergoing projectile motion in Earth's gravitational field, can be analysed in terms of a constant horizontal velocity, and a constant vertical acceleration.

Problems Based on:

1, 2009 HSC Question 4

2, 2010 HSC Question 2 

3, 2014 HSC Question 30

Syllabus coverage:

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.2.2.2

'Describe Galileo’s analysis of projectile motion.'

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.2.2.1

'Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.'

See 'Resources' lecture 13 for printable notes.

06:14

Resolving vectors into x and y components, and combining vector components into a resultant vector.


NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.2.1
'Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 


See 'Resources' for printable notes.

10:33

Worked examples of resolving vectors into x and y components, and combining vector components into a resultant vector.

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.2.1 'Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

See 'Resources' lecture 15 for printable notes.

Galilean Projectiles and Vector Components
3 questions
08:44

Calculating x and y components of a projectile's velocity and displacement, including maximum height, initial and final velocity and range.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See 'Resources' lecture 15 for printable notes.

06:25

Worked solution to problem 1, x and y components of projectile motion.

Based on 2011 HSC question 15.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See 'Resources' lecture 15 for printable notes.

10:34

Worked solution to problems 2 and 3, x and y components of projectile motion.

Problems Based on: 

2, 2000 HSC Question 26

3, 2014 HSC question 20

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See 'Resources' lecture 15 for printable notes.

08:44

Potential and Kinetic Energy of projectiles, and how these change over the flight of a projectile.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See 'Resources' lecture 15 for printable notes.

08:56

Worked solution to problem 4, Potential and Kinetic Energy of projectiles.

Note that numbering continues from last set of projectile motion questions, as do the questions themselves.

Based on 2006 HSC question 18.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See 'Resources' lecture 15 for printable notes.

04:09

Worked solution to problem 5, Potential and Kinetic Energy of projectiles.

Note that numbering continues from last set of projectile motion questions, as do the questions themselves.

Based on 2010 HSC Question 22
.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

09:08

Worked solution to problem 6, Potential and Kinetic Energy of projectiles.

Note that numbering continues from last set of projectile motion questions, as do the questions themselves.

Based on 2012 HSC question 27 .

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

12:26

Outline of an activity that you can carry out to investigate first hand the motion of a projectile, using a smart phone or video camera as a data logger.

If you are unable to carry out the activity, please use the data in the printable notes, and attempt the questions.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.3.2 Perform a first-hand investigation, gather information and analyse data to calculate initial and final velocity, maximum height reached, range and time of flight of a projectile for a range of situations by using simulations, data loggers and computer analysis.


9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2


See 'Resources'  for printable notes and worked solutions.

Also see 'Resources' for an online activity using simulators.

06:10

Worked example of extracting data from the video record of the experiment, and calculating the initial velocity of the projectile from the flight time, release height and range.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.3.2 Perform a first-hand investigation, gather information and analyse data to calculate initial and final velocity, maximum height reached, range and time of flight of a projectile for a range of situations by using simulations, data loggers and computer analysis.

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See lecture 25 for resources.

05:32

Worked example of calculating the maximum height of the projectile in the projectile motion activity, from the initial velocity and release height.

9.2.2.3.2 Perform a first-hand investigation, gather information and analyse data to calculate initial and final velocity, maximum height reached, range and time of flight of a projectile for a range of situations by using simulations, data loggers and computer analysis.

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See lecture 25 for resources.
07:18

Worked example of calculating the final velocity of the projectile from the projectile motion activity.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.3.2 Perform a first-hand investigation, gather information and analyse data to calculate initial and final velocity, maximum height reached, range and time of flight of a projectile for a range of situations by using simulations, data loggers and computer analysis.

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See lecture 25 for resources.
06:54

Worked examples of past HSC questions related to the Projectile Motion Activity, and projectile motion more generally.

Questions based on:

1, (Based on 2005 HSC Question 1) 

2, (Based on 2013 HSC Question 4)

3, (Based on 2006 HSC question 16) 

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.3.2 Perform a first-hand investigation, gather information and analyse data to calculate initial and final velocity, maximum height reached, range and time of flight of a projectile for a range of situations by using simulations, data loggers and computer analysis.

9.2.2.2.1 Describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth’s gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components.' 

9.2.2.3.1 Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using: 

X-component

v^2 = u^2 

Δx = ut 

Y-component

v = u + at

v^2 = u^2 + 2aΔy

Δy = ut + ½ at^2

See lecture 25 for resources.


See lecture 25 for resources.

3 questions

Calculating projectile motion in terms of x and y components.

08:44

Explanation of the concept of escape velocity in terms of the universal gravitational constant and the mass and radius of the planet or other body.

Calculating the escape velocity of a projectile based on kinetic and potential energy, and calculation of the escape velocity of the Earth.

Syllabus Coverage:

9.2.2.2.3; explain the concept of escape velocity in terms of the:

– gravitational constant
– mass and radius of the planet

See printable notes for worked solutions and answers to problems.

Problems Based on:

1, 2003 HSC Question 17

2, 2005 HSC Question 3

3, 2010 HSC Question 32



05:21

Newton's concept of escape velocity and ideas on the orbit of the moon, and the effect of the rotation and orbit of the Earth on the launch of a rocket.

Syllabus coverage:

9.2.2.2.4; outline Newton’s concept of escape
velocity

9.2.2.2.6; discuss the effect of the Earth‘s orbital motion and its rotational motion on the launch of a rocket

See lecture 25 'resources' for printable notes as well as answers and worked solutions to problems.

Numbering of problems continues from previous lecture.

Problems Based on:

4, 2003 HSC Question 17

5, 2014 HSC Question 1

6, 2007 HSC Question 17





3 questions

Escape Velocity and the effect of the orbital velocity and spin of the earth on space launches.


06:57

Outlines an activity to investigate the contribution of Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard, Esnault-Pelterie, O’Neill or von Braun to the development of modern rocketry, and includes a brief discussion of the contributions of Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard,Esnault-Pelterie, O’Neill and  von Braun to the development of modern rockets.

Printable notes include suggested links to further information, and a discussion of assessing data sources.

Syllabus coverage:

9.2.2.3.3; identify data sources, gather, analyse and present information on the contribution of one of the following to the development of space exploration: Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard, Esnault-Pelterie, O’Neill or von Braun


See 'Resources' for printable notes.



12:07

The operation and acceleration of rockets explained in terms of the Law of Conservation of Momentum, as well as the changes in acceleration experienced by the astronauts during launch analysed and explained.  The concept of g-forces is introduced in terms of the forces acting on the astronauts during launch.

Syllabus Coverage

9.2.2.2.7; analyse the changing acceleration of a rocket during launch in terms of the: 

– Law of Conservation of Momentum
– forces experienced by astronauts

9.2.2.2.5; identify why the term ‘g forces’ is used to explain the forces acting on an astronaut during launch

See printable notes in the 'Resources' for worked solutions and answers to problems.


Rockets
2 questions
11:36

Topic summary for Space Flight.

Topics covered include:

Projectile Motion.

Escape velocity.

Newton's concept of escape velocity

Introduction to rocket pioneers.

Rockets and the conservation of momentum.

G-forces.


Section 4: In Orbit 9.2.2 and 9.2.3
04:25

Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion, and the development of his ideas.

Kepler's Third Law of Planetary motion.

HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.2.2.10
'Define the term orbital velocity and the quantitative and qualitative relationship between orbital velocity, the gravitational constant, mass of the central body, mass of the satellite and the radius of the orbit using Kepler’s Law of Periods.' 


07:47

Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, the force of gravity between two bodies and acceleration due to gravity.

See Lecture 31 for resources.

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.3.2.2
'Define Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.'

F=G (mM)/d^2

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.3.2.3

'Discuss the importance of Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation in understanding and calculating the motion of satellites.' 

07:26

Uniform circular motion, tangential velocity, and centripetal force, and the nature of a circle as a special case of an ellipse.

See Lecture 31 for resources.

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.2.8
'Analyse the forces involved in uniform circular motion for a range of objects, including satellites orbiting the Earth.' 


NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.3.4

Solve problems and analyse information to calculate the centripetal force acting on a satellite undergoing uniform circular motion about the Earth using: 
 F= (mv^2)/r

04:37

Kepler's Third Law defined in therm of orbital velocity, the universal gravitational constant, mass of the central body, mass of the satellite and the radius of the orbit.

See Lecture 31 for resources.

Combining Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation and the equations of uniform circular motion to derive Kepler's Third Law in a more useful form.

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.2.10
'Define the term orbital velocity and the quantitative and qualitative relationship between orbital velocity, the gravitational constant, mass of the central body, mass of the satellite and the radius of the orbit using Kepler’s Law of Periods.' 

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.3.5
Solve problems and analyse information using: 
 (r^3/T^3) = (GM)/(4p^2)

Kepler, Newton and Uniform Circular Motion
3 questions
08:42

Comparison of the characteristics of Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary Satellites.

The effects of atmospheric drag, the Van Allen Belts, on satellites, and discussion of the velocity altitude and period of Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary Satellites.

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.2.9

‘Compare qualitatively low Earth and geo-stationary orbits.’


NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.2.11 

‘Account for the orbital decay of satellites in low Earth orbit.’


04:43

A discussion of the Slingshot Effect and its application to both the acceleration and deceleration of space craft.

See lecture 35 for resources.

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.3.2.4

 ‘Identify that a slingshot effect can be provided by planets for space probes.’


08:13

Reentry to the Earth's atmosphere and the factors involved in safe reentry. 

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.2.12

 ‘Discuss issues associated with safe re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and landing on the Earth’s surface.’

NSW HSC Syllabus 9.2.2.2.13

‘Identify that there is an optimum angle for safe re-entry for a manned spacecraft into the Earth’s atmosphere and the consequences of failing to achieve this angle.’ 

Orbit and Re-entry
3 questions
07:46

Summary of the In Orbit topic.

Section 5: relativity 9.2.4
11:54

The history of the understanding of light from antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century. 

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4

‘Current and emerging understanding about time and space has been dependent upon earlier models of the transmission of light.’


11:49

Outline of the Aether theory of light.

Description of the apparatus and experimental method used by Michelson and Morley, the results of their experiment to measure the Aether Wind, and the consequences of their failure to detect any evidence for the Aether.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.1

‘Outline the features of the aether model for the transmission of light.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.2

‘Describe and evaluate the Michelson- Morley attempt to measure the relative velocity of the Earth through the aether.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.3

‘Discuss the role of the Michelson- Morley experiments in making determinations about competing theories.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.3.1

‘Gather and process information to interpret the results of the Michelson- Morley experiment.’ 


04:10

The Principle of Relativity and the ideas of Galileo.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.4

‘Outline the nature of inertial frames of reference.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.5

‘Discuss the principle of relativity.’ 

09:48

Inertial and non-inertial frames of reference and the principle of relativity.

See previous lecture for resources.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.4

‘Outline the nature of inertial frames of reference.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.5

‘Discuss the principle of relativity.’ 

07:45

Einstein's theory of Special Relativity discussed, together with some of his early thought experiments.

The importance of the constancy of c in terms of time, length and mass, 

Einstein's thought experiment underlying the relativity of simultaneity and the relativity of simultaneity discussed.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.6

‘Describe the significance of Einstein’s assumption of the constancy of the speed of light.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.7

identify that if c is constant then space and time become relative

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.8

explain qualitatively and quantitatively the consequence of special relativity in relation to:

– the relativity of simultaneity

 NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.3.3

analyse and interpret some of Einstein’s thought experiments involving mirrors and trains and discuss the relationship between thought and reality


06:20

Calculating time dilation.

The formula and thought experiments underlying time dilation discussed.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.7

'Identify that if c is constant then space and time become relative.'

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.9

Explain qualitatively and quantitatively the consequence of special relativity in relation to:

– time dilation

 NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.3.3

'Analyse and interpret some of Einstein’s thought experiments involving mirrors and trains and discuss the relationship between thought and reality.'

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.3.5

‘Solve problems and analyse information using the appropriate formulae.’ 




06:20

Calculating length contraction.

The formula for length contraction and the underlying thought experiment discussed.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.7

‘Identify that if c is constant then space and time become relative.’

  NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.8

 ‘Discuss the concept that length standards are defined in terms of time in contrast to the original meter standard.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.9

Explain qualitatively and quantitatively the consequence of special relativity in relation to:

– length contraction 

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.3.5

‘Solve problems and analyse information using the appropriate formulae.’ 


08:06

Relativistic mass and the equivalence of mass and energy, and how to calculate both.

Discussion of a thought experiment explaining relativistic mass.

Discussion of the equivalence of mass and energy.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.6

‘Describe the significance of Einstein’s assumption of the constancy of the speed of light.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.9

Explain qualitatively and quantitatively the consequence of special relativity in relation to:

– the equivalence between mass and energy

– mass dilation 

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.3.5

‘Solve problems and analyse information using the appropriate formulae.’ 



07:48

Discussion of the nature of thought experiments and the discovery of evidence supporting Einstein's theories.

Discussion of the impact of relativity on Space Travel.

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.3.4

‘Analyse information to discuss the relationship between theory and the evidence supporting it, using Einstein’s predictions based on relativity that were made many years before evidence was available to support it.’

NSW HSC Physics Syllabus 9.2.4.2.10

‘Discuss the implications of mass increase, time dilation and length contraction for space travel.’

3 questions

A quiz to help you revise the relativity topic.

14:58

Summary of the Relativity topic.

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Instructor Biography

Mr John Bernard Moylan, High School Physics Teacher

I am a physics teacher currently employed in the NSW public school system, and can teach all science subjects, but my principal area of expertise is Physics teaching. 

I have studied both Physics and Astronomy subjects at Macquarie and Sydney Universities, giving me a sound theoretical understanding of the material covered in the HSC Physics course.  This understanding has been added to by teaching Physics and Science subjects to students in High Schools ranging from central schools in far western NSW to large high schools in Sydney.

My Qualifications include B. Sc. (hon.) from Newcastle University, Grad. Dip. Ed., from Macquarie University and an M. A. from Sydney University.

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