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January 22, 2010
Handouts from first class
Reading assignment, Cosmic Catastrophes, Chapter 6 plus Section 5.1,
Section 1.2.4 and Section 2.3 for background
Electronic access to text book:
access with uteid and password.
See the Moon?
Astronomy in the News? Web, TV
Item to watch for: President’s plans for human space program.
Pic of the Day - Annular eclipse of the
Sun by Moon January 15.
One minute exams
Peer interaction
The Universe is a strange place!
It began in a Big Bang, the creation of space and time as we
know them,
It has been expanding for 14 billion years,
It is full of dark matter, unlike protons, neutrons, electrons,
our stuff, that nevertheless gravitates.
It currently seems to be accelerating in the grip of some antigravitating “dark energy.”
On the microscopic scale, which can determine the
cosmological scale, nature follows the laws of quantum
theory, probability not certainty, quantum jumps, wave-like
properties of particles.
Study the stars - see where that leads…
Background Check
What is a main sequence star?
What is a red giant star?
What is a white dwarf?
Write a few sentences, talk with your neighbors.
Concept Check
What’s on the cover of the book?
White Dwarfs (Section 5.1)
Red Giant
White Dwarf
Main Sequence
envelope ejection
Planetary Nebula
White dwarfs are the most common stellar “corpse.” Come
from low mass stars → plentiful.
Examples of planetary nebulae
surrounding new-born white
Sky Watch Extra Credit:.
Find red giant Betelgeuse in Orion Constellation
Other red giants
Find Constellation Draco, site of the Cat’s Eye
Can’t see nebula with naked eye, but can find
Other planetary nebulae
Also Moon, Mars, Big Dipper for orientation,
NSEW, learning to use a star chart,
White Dwarfs
(Section 5.1)
Essentially every white dwarf formed since beginning of Galaxy
is still here 10-100 billion of them (~ 100 billion stars total)
Most are dim, undiscovered, see only those nearby, none
naked eye
Sirius, brightest star in the sky, has a white dwarf companion.
Can’t see the white dwarf with the naked eye, too small, dim,
but Sirius is easy if you look for it at the right time.
Find Sirius for the extra credit sky watch project.
Discussion Point:
White dwarfs have about the same mass as the Sun and
about the same radius as the Earth.
How does the gravity of a white dwarf compare to the Sun
and the Earth, and why?