Total Solar eclipse gives research opportunity

The article I found on talks about how solar eclipses are rare and unique and explains what a solar eclipse is. it then goes to talk about how there is certain information about the sun that can only be gathered during a total solar eclipse.  NASA is funding 11 experiments to test new instruments and observe the sun and moon. since the moon only completely covers the sun of a few minutes this gives scientist a very limited time to conduct this experiments, another f actors that makes it hard it that the eclipse is only visible from a few geographical locations. this gives scientists the opportunity to study the earth in uncommon conditions. NASA will also be funding five different studies, one of them has to do with the effect that it has on the earths nocturnal animals and how the quick changes can affect the weather and vegetation.

This article relates to CO3 ” I can explain the causes of moon phases and eclipses” a solar eclipses happens when the moon fully convert the sun during the day, and a lunar eclipse happens at night when earths shadow covers the light from the sun making the moon no visible. the moon phases are caused by the way the light hits the moon, we did a presentation in class where we had styrofoam  balls that represented the moon and we used a light bulb to represent the sun, we then moved the “moon” around are heads and saw how the light of the “sun” changed the shadow on the moon. this article talks about the knowledge we learned in class about how the eclipse is formed but it also talks about something we didn’t learn in class which is how a solar eclipse can help out scientists as well. we also did an activity where we drew our own charts that showed all the moon phases.


I had a previous knowledge of the moon phases and eclipses prior to this class but i never knew how solar eclipses affected different things on earth like animals and the weather, i find it interesting that scientists have to try to gather a whole lot of information about the sun and other things in a short amount of time, and since the solar eclipse can only be seen from certain parts of the world it would make it super hard to gather all the information they want to in a short amount of time. I’m amazed by the patience they have it must take years to complete a full study, if they miss any information they have to wait a whole year to try to get it again.


Kepler’s Laws

I read the article  and it appears that there is trash floating around in space that may cause danger to satellites and astronauts.  A teenager by the name of Amber Yang, came up with an idea to create a computer program that predicts where junk in space travels to next.  This vital information will help prevent future trash incidents.  There is so much excess debris that comes from old satellites and other objects that have traveled through space.  In 2013, remains from an old Chinese satellite crashed into a Russian satellite causing major problems with the aircraft.  Therefore, to help assist Amber where space debris travels she stared off with a set of laws called Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion.  In which, describes the motion of planets and objects orbiting around the sun.  Amber’s computer program applied Kepler’s laws to regulate the location of space trash, in hopes the data will figure out where the junk travels to next.  In the end, after doing some research and experimenting, Amber Yang’s computer program tested to be very accurate in locating the movement of space trash.

This article relates to class because we did a couple of examples in our lecture tutorial book that discusses Kepler’s Laws.  For example, we did an exercise on page 21 where it shows a planet moving in a circular orbit around its companion star and Kepler’s Second law states that there is an imaginary line joining a planet and the sun that sweeps out an equal area of space in equal amounts of time.  Kepler’s second law probably helped Amber predict the speed of the trash while Kepler’s third law determined the distance and the orbital period the trash traveled.  On page 26 in the tutorial book there is a graph that shows the relationship between the orbital distance and orbital period.

I decided to do my blog post on this article because it caught my attention and it can be relatable.  A teenager applied what she learned in class or her own research and she came up with a solution that may help future astronomers.


Newtonian Physics

I chose an article titled “Newton’s Laws of Motion” written by Jim Lucas which begins by explaining how important Sir Isaac Newton’s laws were so revolutionary three centuries ago, and how he is one of the most influential scientists of all time. In the article, the author thoroughly goes over Newton’s three laws which are as stated below:

Newton’s first law of motion:“A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.” which is basically stating that objects that are moving will continue moving unless some force stops it.

Newton’s second law of motion: “The force acting on an object is equal to the mass of that object times its acceleration.” This is written in mathematical form as F = ma, where F is force, m is mass, and a is acceleration.

Newton’s third law of motion:“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This law describes what happens to a body when it exerts a force on another body. Forces always occur in pairs, so when one body pushes against another, the second body pushes back just as hard.

These three laws have been practiced on many times before proving their credibility, and are still being used today to describe the relationships between objects and speed in everyday life.

This article related to class because we completed clicker questions on gravitational force, and did pages 29-32 in the lecture tutorial book which were about Newton’s laws and gravity.

I found this article to be beneficial because not only did it help me review the three laws, but it also explained the laws in simpler terms, and gave examples of the laws. This related to class material, because at one point we had the newton’s laws listed on a slideshow that we took notes on, which directly relate to this article. I thought the class material was overall interesting. I enjoyed using the lecture tutorial book because it allowed me to apply what i learned to different scenarios and questions. I thought the hardest part of this section was the force-distance relationship, but it became much easier after doing page 30 in the tutorial book, because i was able to see a picture of it and it became easier to understand by looking at it.

Kepler’s Laws

I found an article written by Jean Tate titled “Kepler’s Law” and the author begins by listing the three Kepler’s laws of planetary motion:

Kepler’s first law: Every planet’s orbit is an ellipse with the sun at a focus.

Kepler’s second law: A line joining the sun and a planet sweeps out equal areas in equal times. With this law, it is also noted that when the planet is far away from the star it moves slowly.

Kepler’s third law: The square of a planet’s orbital period is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of it’s orbit.

Later into the article, the author begins to explain how Tyco Brahe’s observations of the stars and planets provided Kepler with a robust dataset to test his hypotheses of planetary motion. The author also mentioned that although Kepler’s laws are only an approximation, they are exact in physics for a planetary system of just one planet.

This article related to class, because throughout the powerpoint we listed Kepler’s three laws and did clicker questions on the subject, also followed by pages 21-28 in the lecture tutorial book which were on keeper’s second and third laws.

I thought this article was descent. The article describes Kepler’s three laws, and explains how Kepler had the extra push or influence to further his observations of planetary motion due to Tyco Brahe. I thought the class material was typically fairly easy. I did find Kepler’s second law to be hardest of the three laws but the drawing on page 22 in the lecture tutorial shows a better representation of equal areas in equal time.



Constant speed+Changing direction = Acceleration

In the article, “The Amtrak Derailment And Newton’s First Law“, by Sara Rennekamp from, explains how the derailment of the Amtrak Northeast Regional train was due to excessive speed and it’s centripetal force. The speed of the train rounding the bend was too great for the track to withstand, thus derailing causing many injuries and deaths.

I found this article surprising and how dangerous acceleration can be. The train was going over the speed limit by a big margin and thus causing the huge train to derail. There was no explanation to why the train was going that fast but the train operators need to be more informed about the matter to prevent future accidents.

This article relates to our conceptual objective, “I can apply Newton’s laws of motion and Newton’s law of universal gravitation”, by interpreting Newton’s first law of motion into the Amtrak derailment. The tracks are designed to provide enough force on the train so that it turns against its natural direction (straight), and around the bend. But, the speed of the train caused the force to become greater, thus exceeding the force needed to keep the train on the tracks. Newton’s first law of motion states an object moves at constant velocity if there is no net force acting upon it. An example of this law is a spacecraft in space. It needs no fuel to move since there is no net force acting upon it such as gravity and resistance. Newton’s second law of motion states Force = mass * acceleration(F=ma). This law explains why you can throw a baseball further than a bowling ball. The same force is used to throw the balls, but the mass of them are different. In class, we discussed Newton’s third law of motion through lecture tutorial pages 29-32. The problems in these pages applied Newton’s third law of motion, for any force, there is always an equal and opposite reaction force. In the lecture tutorial problem with the spacecraft in between the Earth and Moon, indicates equal force with the Earth and moon but a different force from the spacecraft. If the spacecraft was in the middle of the Earth and the Moon, It would start to move toward Earth because the force is greater then the Moon’s force.

How We Came to Recognize the Sun as the Center of Our Solar System

The article titled for this next post was “How We Came to Recognize the Sun as the Center of Our Solar System” which is based on our unit on Heliocentric vs. Geocentric models.

According to the article, there are two types of models that have been fought over from what was believed to be our solar system for over a thousand years. The names of these two models are Geocentric (an Earth-centered universe/solar system) and Heliocentric (a sun-centered universe/solar system).

Image result for images of geocentric vs heliocentric

For many centuries the Geocentric model, which is most popular,was the idea from Aristotle and Ptolemy.  It was the accepted “truth” that was pushed by the church for its more religious meaning behind it. By having the Earth as the center, it would mean that our world was truly the apple of God’s eye and that the universe was perfect with everything in it revolving around us. The Catholic church at this time was not very accepting of other ideas of how the universe works. Many times they would try to silence someone who spoke against the status quo by jailing or forcing the person to renounce their idea and never speak of it again. During this time however, there were still people who believed and continued believing that the Earth was not the center but in actuality the sun was. This idea dated all the way back to the ancient Greeks who thought that the Earth was the center of our solar system. According to NASA, the first known person to believe the sun was at our center was Aristarchus of Samos from the third century B.C. His idea never caught on compared to the Earth-centered model so it laid untouched for several centuries until the 16th century when a man named Nicolaus Copernicus would take the model and revolutionize the world in the field of astronomy.

Image result for copernicus

Copernicus’s model of the solar system simplified the rotation of all the planets and made it more comprehensible in understanding how things worked. One of the biggest questions it answered was why does Mars seem to travel in retrograde motion, moving forward, backward and forward again? The answer, he discovered was that Mars’ axis rotation is about the same as Earth’s so when we travel past it, and because our orbit is smaller, it appears as though it is moving backwards. In class we watched a simulation of this in the planetarium. We saw how his model works except even though he had planted the seed of the Heliocentric model to succeed he still did not fully hit the target. He was still a firm believer that celestial objects that moved around the sun still moved in perfect circles and not what would be known to be true later, the elliptical rotations. Everything that the article had explained went perfectly with what we had learned in class, especially in our history lesson and fully backs all the notes we had taken. Not only did we learn from the Europeans, but there were other civilizations around the world we went over in class that had similar models to the Europeans such as the Mayans, the Chinese, the Egyptians, and others. They all had similar thoughts and discoveries that supported a sun-centered universe.

This was definitely one of my favorite units/ and article that we have done and I have read so far. Most of the history information I already knew and do not at all mind reviewing but something that I thought was the most interesting that was in the article and we watched in class, was how Mars moves in its orbit in the solar system from our point of view. I never knew that it appeared to move backwards at certain points in time and I think it is interesting how we can figure out how that happens just by knowing how our solar system works and the fact that it is sun-centered. It seems so easy for us to understand it today and like common sense I could not imagine what it would be like back then. It is truly amazing how far humanity has come in just a few hundred years.

Plan(et) Nine from Outer Space!

In the calm, icy purgatory that is the Kuiper Belt, astronomers from America and Europe have discovered that some objects have orbits that seem to resonate.  The only explanation so far is that there may be another planet way out beyond Neptune and Pluto influencing these objects.  By studying the objects that have been disturbed, the location of Planet 9 can be roughly determined.  These objects being disturbed aren’t just normal asteroids, they are (in some cases) dwarf planets or minor planets like Sedna, 2012 VPN113, and Eris.

The proposed planet must be at least twice the size of the Earth or at most ten times the size.  This is based on the elliptical orbits of the affected objects, which are pulled out of circular orbits by the close proximity of a much larger object.  The force, called gravity, is something that Newton theorized permeated the universe and exists between any two objects, no matter the distance.  In this case, the distance is close enough that the gravity of Planet 9 is just slightly greater than that of the sun, which is what causes objects like Sedna to be tugged into elliptical orbits.

This news is very exciting.  We may finally have a true Ninth Planet!  Who knows if it is a large ice-giant like Uranus or Neptune, or if it’s a much more massive version of Pluto.  Either way, we will have much to learn from this (hopefully) new planet, such as how our solar system formed, what materials existed in that part of the solar system, and how the planets got into their current orbits.