what I learned in Class



I picked these two blog post because they were some of the first ones I ever did. But I also picked them because even though they may seem like more simple objectives to us now, these were the kind of questions I started out with when I first took this class. I didn’t know much and I just had a few basic question that I thought would be cool to learn such as why does the earth have seasons? and how come the Moon has phases? So really these first couple of blog posts were the core start of my astronomy learning. I started with just being able to explain Moon phases, all the way up to being able to describe the size and structure of the Milky Way galaxy. Again I picked the objective why the Earth has seasons because this was a question that I thought would really cool to understand how this worked. That the Earth has seasons because it is its tilted at 23.5 degrees relative to its orbital plane. Which means the Earth is either pointed towards or away from the sun, so you are either getting more or less sun giving different seasons. And when we did the foam Moons on pencils demonstrations we learned that what changed the phase of the Moon was the angle we were viewing it from, not the Earths shadow casting on earth. Again I really liked these two because these are questions that could actually be brought up in a discussion between friends at some point. Where someone might be looking at the Moon and asks why its shaded or complaing about the weather and why it has to get cold. Then I can be that one guy who goes “well actually its not that difficult to understand”, because who doesn’t love to be that guy.

When I compare how I felt about astronomy at the start of the semester to how I feel now about astronomy, I would say it has changed dramatically. I took this class mainly because my dad is super! into astronomy. My dad would always get all excited about something that was going to happen for the first time in over a century and would get us all outside to see it so we wouldn’t miss it, and it ends up being something that was like “that was it?” So he would find incredibly amazing in something that seemed so little to people who didn’t know anything about astronomy. My dad also has numerous telescopes including one he built himself, which was something I could understand so that part was really cool to me. But then he would use it to look at things like the Andromeda galaxy, which just looked like a very very faint little spot of haze. Which of course at the time I thought it was incredibly lame and that he spent all this time and money to look at that? But now after taking this class I know so much more about how things work in space like elliptical orbits with Kepler’s laws and why certain things do what they do like why light cant even escape a black hole. So now when my dad uses his telescope to look at the Andromeda galaxy I wont thing wow that’s it? Now ill be able to look at and truly understand just how amazing it is, and that that galaxy is 2.537 million light years away! And that thanks to objective 16 I would be able to compare it to the Milky Way galaxy. So even if I can just hold a few conversations with my dad or be able to understand a few things he is talking about or just not take the special events for granted then this class will have done everything I could have wanted and more. I started the class of not really caring much about it or really understanding it, all I wanted was to be able to understand it better for my dad. But now after the class is over I can really say now that I really enjoy astronomy and that I will be able to actually talk space talk with my dad.



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