Reflection of the Semester

There were three specific objectives that I would have to say were my favorite this semester. They included moon phases, how stars die, and comparing our galaxy to others. Each one of these were fascinating topics to discuss and I ended up learning a lot from them.

For our Moon phase post back towards the beginning of the semester, we learned about the different types of eclipses and how they worked and we also learned about the different phases of the moon such as new moon, full moon, first quarter, last quarter, waxing and waning crescents, and the waxing and waning gibbous. Each of these may not have been fully new to me but I will say before this class I did not remember the exact names of the different moons. I had learned about them at one point a long time ago but I ended up forgetting about them. As for the eclipse portion of this objective, I had already known what the two types of eclipses were and almost how they work. I knew that during a lunar eclipse the Earth would be between the sun and the moon in orbit while during a solar eclipse the moon would appear to cover the sun as the moon passed between the Sun and Earth. One thing I did not know about lunar eclipses however was that how the moon is able to appear red during this event and now because this class I know. The moon appears red due to the suns light bending through our atmosphere and then moving outward reflecting on the moon’s surface. I would say this objective and my blog post was my second favorite this semester because I have always been a night person I like to go outside and look at the stars and the moon which is my favorite celestial object. I also loved this objective because I think that the way our orbits move to create such cool effects on the moon is amazing. Every time there is an eclipse or some other great event I always sit outside and watch it.

For one of our final posts we learned how stars die. Some of the things that I ended up learning from this unit were the timeline of different kinds of stars deaths and how stars that have smaller mass and stars that have larger mass die almost completely differently. When a smaller mass star dies it generally becomes a red giant and then a white dwarf, while when a larger mass star dies it becomes a black hole or neutron star depending on the force of gravity and how dense. These were all new things that I learned that I did not know before. I had always thought that any star could become either a white dwarf or a black hole and it did not matter the size. This class proved me wrong in this assumption and now I know more for it. Ranking this objective on my rating scale I would have to say this one was my number one favorite because the reason that I love astronomy is because of the topic of star deaths, black holes, and the mysterious unknown side of the universe that is the basis for most sci fi films which is one of my favorite genres. I had already known a lot about this unit from the articles I read at home frequently and documentaries I watch. Not to mention I had a lot of fun with this objective just in general.

The last objective I will be reviewing is the second to last one we had this semester which was comparing our galaxy to others. This objective I would say I learned the most from out of the three listed here because I did not originally know a lot about this topic. I knew about the different types of galaxies that exist in our universe but I did not know the little details like how an elliptical galaxy is one of the older types due to the old stars that are within it. Or that Irregular galaxies are galaxies that are in a way being pried apart from the gravity of other galaxies. If I were not in this class I would not know this. I would say though despite my new learning experiences in this class from this unit I would still have to say that this was my least favorite out of the three I picked to review because It was fascinating but still not nearly as much as the other two objectives. I did choose it over the rest of the units though because I had learned a lot of new things and it was kind of cool to learn about the parts of our galaxy like the halo, spiral arms, bulge, and so on. My article I read for this unit was interesting too about galaxies colliding and I believe that is also why this was in my top favorite three blog posts and conceptual Objectives.

Before I took this class and came in and sat down the first day I had thought that this class was going to be hard but I still thought highly of the subject. Sitting here now and looking back on my experiences in this class I now think that it was not very hard at all. It was a lot of work keeping up with the daily assignments but the material was not difficult. However I did end up learning a lot from this class from constellations to the beginnings of our universe and every bit of it was amazing along the way. I loved being in class and learning the material in the notes, I loved working on our clicker questions and learning with friends, and I especially loved the demonstrations with the lights and the simulations in the planetarium that was my favorite part. Overall I ended up learning quite a bit about each unit and enjoyed all the experiences along the way. I am going to miss this class. Thank you for the memories and teaching me about the universe and our place within it.

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