Published on November 15, 2007
Clockwork in the Heavens (Part I): Clockwork in the Heavens (Part I) Large Numbers and Distances Practice Quiz Motion Summary Jan. 12, 2004 Announcements: Announcements Prof. Prosper will miss the next 2 weeks due to family emergency Course website: http://www.physics.fsu.edu/users/ProsperH/AST1002 Prof. Adams will continue to fill in Lecture notes available at: http://www.hep.fsu.edu/~tadams/courses/spr04/ast1002-2/ Review: Review Astronomy is the study of objects outside of the Earth’s atmosphere This is a science class The scientific method always tests and retests hypotheses and develops new theories if old ones fail We are going to study lots of interesting stuff this semester Big and Small Numbers: Big and Small Numbers Really big and really small numbers are hard to understand… Examples, how many are 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 1000000,… ? We will often use powers of 10 for large and small numbers 1,000,000 = 10x10x10x10x10x10 = 106 Each factor of 10 is one order of magnitude Big and Small Numbers: Big and Small Numbers Really big and really small numbers are hard to understand and work with… It takes a LOT of zeros to write some numbers A million billion is 1,000,000,000,000,000 Easier to use powers of 10 A million billion has 15 zeros which is 1015 5 million billion is 5 x 1015 Small numbers use negative powers of 10 A million billionth is 10-15 Measuring Distance: Measuring Distance Metric units Meters (m) and kilometers (km) 1 meter = 3.281 feet Kilometer = 1000 meters = 103 meters = 0.6 miles\ Astronomical Unit (AU) Distance from the Sun to Earth 150 million kilometer Lightyear (LY) Distance light travels in 1 year Light travels at 3 x 108 m/s in a vacuum 186,000 miles/second 7 times around the Earth in a second So in a year, how far does light travel? Lightyear: Lightyear There are about 3 x 107 seconds in a year 60 s/min x 60 min/hr x 24 hr/day x 365 days/year ~ 3.15 x 107 s/yr Light travels at 3 x 108 m/s (or 186,000 miles/s) So, 3 x 108 m/s x 3 x 107 s = 9 x 1015 m = 9 x 1012 km 186,000 miles/s x 3 x 107 s = 5.6 x 1012 miles Lightyear (cont): Lightyear (cont) Actually, 1 LY = 9.46 x 1015 m Ten trillion kilometers Sounds far, but we’ll see some really far distances The nearest star is 4.3 LY away It takes light one year to travel 9.46 x 1012 km If you were 1 LY away and flashed a light, we wouldn’t see it for a year Starlight we see was emitted by the stars many years ago Looking into the sky is looking at what happened in the past. The further away you look, the farther back in time The sun is 8 lightminutes away from us If the sun exploded right now, we wouldn’t know for 8 minutes Slide9: Wait a moment… LOTS of Motion: LOTS of Motion Earth Spins Around Its Axis Once per ??? Earth and Moon Revolve Around Each Other Once per ??? Earth Revolves Around the Sun Once per ??? Solar System is Revolving Around the Center of the Milky Way The Milky Way is Moving Through Space Whew, do you feel dizzy? Earth Spins: Earth Spins The Earth spins around its axis once per day (24 hr) When viewed from above the North Pole, the Earth rotates counterclockwise. Spin causes the rising and setting of the Sun (and the Moon and the stars) Effects many of our weather patterns including hurricanes North Celestial Pole: North Celestial Pole The Earth revolves around an axis that runs from the north celestial pole to the south celestial pole Currently, the north celestial pole points towards Polaris, otherwise known as the North Star There is no corresponding “South Star” Zenith straight overhead The Horizon: The Horizon We can only see half the sky at any given moment The other half is blocked by the Earth If on the North or South Pole, we always see the same half of the sky It does rotate around itself If on the equator, we see the whole sky once per day In between, we see part of the sky all day long and part only some of the day The Earth Revolves Around the Sun: The Earth Revolves Around the Sun The Earth revolves around the sun once per year The distance from the Sun to the Earth changes by about 3% over a year What Can I See?: What Can I See? Earth’s rotation and motion around the Sun determine what we can see in the sky Rotation During the day: the Sun At night: stars “rising” in the east and “setting” in the west Motion around the Sun Six months from now the current sky will be hidden by the Sun and we will see part which is now behind the Sun What Can I See? (cont.): What Can I See? (cont.) In the northern hemisphere, the North Star is above the horizon all day long The angle of the North Star above the horizon equals your latitude In the northern hemisphere, part of the sky around the south celestial pole is never visible The Earth is Tilted: The Earth is Tilted The Earth’s axis is tilted 23.5o with respect to its orbit around the Sun Axis always points in the same direction, toward the north celestial pole It actually moves very slowly over time, precessing like a top Seasons: Seasons Seasons are caused by the tilt of the Earth combined with motion around the Sun During our summer, the north celestial pole is pointed towards the Sun The Sun is above the horizon longer We receive more intense light During our winter, the south celestial pole is pointed towards the Sun Intensity of Sunlight: Intensity of Sunlight The amount of light per square meter depends on the angle at which the light hits the surface The amount of light determines the “heating” of the Earth In the summer, the light is more direct Summer Solstice: Summer Solstice First day of summer, about June 22 Sun appears to be 23o north of the equator Passes through the zenith of places that are 23o N latitude 23o N latitude is called the Tropic of Cancer All regions within 23o of the North Pole see the sun for the full day 90o - 23o = 67o N latitude is called the Artic Circle All regions within 23o of the South Pole see no sunlight for the full day 67o S latitude is called the Antarctic Circle It stays dark at the North and South Poles for 6 months each year Winter Solstice and Equinoxes: Winter Solstice and Equinoxes First day of winter, about December 22 Everything is reversed Sun passes through the zenith along the Tropic of Capricorn at noon (23o S latitude) Equinoxes Twice a year, the sun passes through the zenith along the equator at noon (0o latitude) Vernal Equinox, around March 21 Autumnal Equinox, around September 21 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness everywhere Length of the Year: Length of the Year It takes the Earth 365.242199 days to go from one vernal equinox to the next NOT an integer number But the extra is close to ¼ = 0.25 So every 4 years (leap year) we add an extra day to the calendar (Feb. 29) But this is too much (we’ve added 0.25!) So every 100 years (on the century) we don’t add the extra day (no leap year) But this isn’t right either, so every 4th 100 years, we do include the leap year This is why 2000 was a leap year Summary: Summary The Universe has lots of motion The spinning of the Earth causes the rising and setting of the Sun and stars The revolution of the Earth around the Sun determines the year The tilt of the Earth determines the seasons The spinning, revolution and tilt determine the part of the sky which is visible You want/need to understand these motions Next time, we will look at how the Moon behaves Real World: Real World Earth’s atmosphere fuzzes the edges (figuratively and literally) Atmosphere bends light coming from the Sun, allowing us to “see over the horizon” about 18o Sun appears to rise earlier and set later It’s light out (twilight) in the morning when the Sun is 18o below the horizon and stays light in the evening until the Sun is 18o below the horizon Effect is most noticeable at the poles – complete darkness for only 3 months (rather than 6 months) Last week the scientific station in Antarctica starting receiving flights after the winter break June 22 is the longest day, but not the hottest, why?