Earth Views Displays Models of the Universe

On December 22 2017, NASA published “Views of Home” which gave an article with a video including various pictures of Earth and other planets. The images of Earth were in various forms meaning that the moons shadow could be seen reflected off the Earths surface from different angles. These pictures of Earth were also taken at different locations within space. Spacecrafts that were sent into space for specific missions were bringing back important images of Earth that are abled to be viewed for the benefits of scientists and researchers. Different distances produce multiple variations of Earth as it  is less visible farther away compared to a closer captured image. As these pictures are seized, it can be seen the relation of Earth with other planets such as the moon.

This article covering the look of the Earth from space correlates with conceptual objective four. Conceptual objective four asks to describe how the heliocentric model of the solar system was developed and why it was adopted over the geocentric model of the universe. When watching the video that illustrates the article as well as displaying the images of Earth, the models of the universe can be seen through the pictures. Specifically, at the time 0:51 the universe with all the planets in their fixed positions exhibit the heliocentric model with the sun motionless at the center and the imaginary lines of the planets that revolve around it. In addition, at the time 1:25 it is revealed that the earth is traveling around the sun while the moon is orbiting around the Earth with indication from the imaginary dotted lines. In these two different images the information gathered regarding this objective is presented.

Conceptual objective four was best understood through a variety of in class information. Starting with powerpoint notes and moving towards pages in the Lecture- Tutorial as well as clicker questions and planetarium demonstration was all done relating to information on this objective. Observing Retrograde Motion on pages 99-100 was completed and reviewed discussing the planets movement in comparison and contrast with the stars. A planetarium demonstration showed this topic real well when watching the path of Mars among the stars which viewed Mars as moving prograde motion going west to east with the stars and other times in retrograde motion going east to east with the stars. Slides that covered this objective discussed ideas of the geocentric universe, epicycles, Copernicus, and the heliocentric universe. Along the span of understanding this concept, clicker questions were asked to gather a better understanding of the objective.

There was a collection of knowledge to be grasped when discussing this objective. I gained an insight to the geocentric model being that the Earth is motionless at the center while other planets circle around the Earth. The geocentric model also explains that while circling the Earth, the planets are moving within their own circles called epicycles. This model was not suitable and was adapted to fit varying factors. The heliocentric model was developed by Copernicus which stated that the sun is motionless as the center while other planets circle around the sun. This model described how the Earth rotates on its axis and all planets move around the Sun in circles and their own epicycles. In addition, I learned that planets move with prograde and retrograde motion. Compared to the stars, when a planet moves with prograde motion the planet appears to move west to east in relation to the stars. When a planet is moving with retrograde motion, the planet appears to move east to west compared to the stars. Regardless of whether the planet is moving in prograde or retrograde motion, the planet will always rise in the east and set in the west. The majority of this information was acquired through notes of powerpoint slides and answering of the Lecture- Tutorial.


Back Up Your Cellphone! Mercury Retrograde

Between December 3rd and December 22nd, 2017 Mercury was seen in retrograde motion in the sky.  Retrograde motion is when a planet appears to be moving backwards from west to east in the sky, instead of the normal prograde motion which is east to west.    One part of the article that got my attention was ““According to astrological lore, all areas of life that are associated with Mercury go ‘backwards’ during a retrograde,” says Edut. “Mercury is the messenger planet, so it rules communication, mobile devices, transportation, email, snail mail, and all things data. Networks go down mysteriously and messages get stuck in the either.” Astrologists think that because Mercury is a messenger planet, when it goes backwards so does everything else.  Flights will get cancels, couples will argue,  your phone will act up where messages won’t send and e-mails get lost. In class we worked on a tutorial in the workbook on Observing Retrograde Motion.  In the tutorial we plotted points which resulted in showing a Mystery Planet in retrograde motion during approximately one month.  We also learned that the planets move east to west in the sky just like everything else and the way to know a planet is in retrograde is if we document it moving west to east.

I chose this article for two reasons.  One reason is I never knew planets went in retrograde motion so this lesson absolutely fascinated me and so I wanted to find an article that talked about the last retrograde we experienced.  The Mercury retrograde was in December of 2017 and that was an awful month for me.  Which brings me to my second reason.  The article states astrologists believe that Mercury Retrograde wreaks havoc on Earth or more so people’s lives.  I, for one, do not believe in astrology or that the stars can tell you your life story.  I do however find it very coincidental that Mercury was in retrograde and my month was awful.  I will need to keep an eye on the next Mercury retrograde and see if bad things happen.  Maybe this will make me a believer.

Difference between Geocentric and Heliocentric.

Ever wondered how the solar system actually looked like? Well so did early astronomers. based on two models which are geocentric which is earth centered and heliocentric which is sun centered. For many years the question was earth the center of everything or was the sun. Ancient Greeks though because they can see other planets rotating around earth that we were the centered of our solar system. As later on around the 15th and 16th century Europe had a problem with the geocentric theory based on land navigation for sailors and transportation. Based on that idea there was the other theory Heliocentric which came up and made more sense as the astronomers gathered more understanding upon our universe and solar system.

As in class we talked about the difference between heliocentric and geocentric and as we talked about it we found that the theory of heliocentric was more tested by a certain scientist, but in fact the first known scientist according to NASA was Aristarchus of Samos who was the first known person to say sun was center of our solar system.

Events that Make Seasons Happen​

The seasons are the results and the tilt of the earth’s axis.  The earth axis is tilted at an angle of  23.5 degrees.  When eath is tours the sun the north axis is experiencing its summer and the southern pole is experiencing its winter this is what it makes the seasons.  The temperature on earth depends on how direct are the sun rays to earth. Earth rotates by itself which takes 24 hours. According to earth is the only planet that can support life.  Our planet is in the right place to support life is not too far away from the sun or not to close to the sun.  Which makes earth not too hot or not too cold.   Earth’s atmosphere plays a great roll in our planets it creates a blanket of gasses around the earth which prevent us from getting extreme temperatures.  The average temperature on earth is about 33.6F according to NASA.  Depending on the season because colder temperatures are registered near the poles and warmer temperatures are on the equator.  Before I was to inform myself about the causes of seasons.  I thought the sun was closest to earth during the summer and farthest during the winter.  Now I understand that the sun is closest to the Northern Atmosphere ( not summer)  that is why here in Joliet we experience colder temperatures.

Heliocentric vs Geocentric

This article discuss how the heliocentric and geocentric models were created and how past astronomers discovered the heliocentric model is correct.  During the scientific revolution in the 16th and 17th century, Nicholas Copernicus created the heliocentric model of our solar system in which the Earth, planets and stars revolved around the sun.  This discovery proved the older model people used to believe false.  This was the geocentric model created by Aristotle and Ptolemy, which explained that the Earth is the center of the universe and that the planets, stars and the sun revolved around it.  This model came to be because astronomers believed they observed that the stars, sun and planet appeared to revolve around the Earth on a daily basis, and from these astronomers Earth did not appear to move so they believed it was a fixed point.  Although this theory has been proven false, it did predict planetary motions with some accuracy and was used to create astronomical charts for over the next thousand years.  This is similar to what we learned in class during the power points that explains who came up with the model and why it was still important even though it was proven false.  Copernicus  explained his reasoning behind the heliocentric model with seven facts about the solar system he observed while also explaining retrograde motion.  He explains that planets like Mars and Jupiter do not have a fixed frame but a moving one.  Reading this was easier to understand since we learned in class that retrograde motion occurs as the Earth overtakes the slower moving outer planets, the planet appears to move backward compared to background stars.

This article was very helpful in the understanding of the two models.  In class we went over more the the astronomical side of them, but the article went over more of the historical side by adding in elements like the reaction from the church and other famous astronomers who agreed or added on to his work.  The more historical side of these models had me more interested in the topic well also more informed.

Blue Blood Moon Happens For the First Time In Decades

This article discusses the phenomenon that occurred the 31st of January this year.  There was a full moon, and because it was the second full moon of the month it is referred to as a blue moon.  The moon was also extremely close to Earth, which is known as a supermoon.  While all this was occurring, the moon also underwent a total lunar eclipse, which happened for the first time in 35 years.  It is called the blood moon because when the eclipse is at its peak, it has a reddish tone to it.  All of this is why this moon has been referred to as the super blue blood moon.

The article touches on many topics that we discussed in class.  The moon calendar in the article is similar to the sheet we made that explains what moon phases we see based on the sun and the moons rotation.  Both in class and in the article explains how lunar eclipses happens, which is when the Earth is between the moon and the sun, so that the moon passes through Earths shadow.  It also discuss where and what time people across the world can see the lunar eclipse, which is something we have learned to do in class through the workbook.  It also goes over a few things we have not gone over in class, but is easier to understand with the background knowledge I have learned.  The article explains how the moon turns red, which is from the sunlight shining through the Earths atmosphere that gets bent towards the red part of the spectrum and is cast onto the moon.  It is interesting to know that we can predict the moon phases, where and when you can see it but not what color we will see the moon as during an eclipse, there is only an educated guess.

The Everpresent Threat of Pseudoscience

We all have that family member or friend. The one who vehemently disagrees with the contemporary scientific consensus purely on the grounds of some non-scientific standard while still regarding it somehow as scientific. I’ve experienced it countless times particularly among relatives, especially those who, for example, outright deny the evidence for evolution, the big bang, and/or climate change. In any and all instances of pseudoscience, one must maintain a non-condescending manner while also explaining why the other person’s worldview does not comply with reality. The article I’ve chosen for my blog post, while not specifically about heliocentrism and geocentrism, goes along the same lines as to what to do with people who deny objective facts, and that is to take their reasoning to its logical (or rather illogical) conclusion and to provide an alternative explanation in its place.


Ian Whittaker of Nottingham Trent University wrote an excellent article a little over three months ago explaining in great detail why the “flat Earth” hypothesis is very misguided and ignorant of the observable evidence to the contrary. Near the start of his article, he gives an example of how the Ancient Greeks first discovered the Earth was globular. Very basically put, they had multiple sticks erected in various Greek cities and all documented the shape and direction of their shadows cast at the same time. What they found was that the shadows were all different from each other, meaning the Sun, while seemingly perfect in line with the Earth, was casting shadows at varying angles, leading the Greeks to confirm that the Earth did indeed have a curve as if it did not, this would not have occurred. After explaining this, he then goes into detail about an 1838 study which is often cited from flat-Earth proponents and explains why this study leaves out a few things, like the presence of mirages, and why it is not held in high regard by scientists today.


So what does all of this flat-Earth debunking have to do with geocentrism and heliocentrism? What they share greatly in common is that both the flat-Earth hypothesis and the geocentric worldview are based on ignorance, whether willful or not. This is not meant to sound discouraging, rather it is an affirmation of what really goes on in the minds of people who hold these misunderstood positions. Tradition, for example, is a dangerous justification to hold scientific ideas. That is to say, “this is the way it’s always been”, which is not how science works. Rather, science is determined by observable evidence, as Copernicus found himself when first proposing heliocentrism (he wasn’t necessarily the first to claim this as we learned in class, just the first to justify it with a preponderance of evidence). Instead of attempting to convince other scientists with persuasive rhetoric, he published his findings for others to observe the facts themselves. Our conversation in class about dispelling pseudoscience was what sparked me to write this post, as I take misconceptions of science very seriously. I firmly believe they must be addressed immediately, especially if they have far-reaching effects on society (such as anti-vaccination and faith healing).


As for what I learned from the article, I learned many new facts pertaining to dispelling the flat-Earth hypothesis. One example would be how the author near the end explains one of the most effective ways, especially for school experimentation purposes, of showing the curvature of the Earth is to attach a live camera to a high-altitude balloon and view it directly. As for the objective, I learned about Aristarchus of Samos, who I was previously unaware of. I had already known of Copernicus and his heliocentric model, however, I never knew about Aristarchus being the first one to propose a heliocentric model. This surprised me as I was not under the impression that heliocentrism was as well as it was understood then to be properly formulated.