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Transcript
Spaceship Earth
Our goals for learning:




How is Earth moving in our solar system?
How is our solar system moving in the
Milky Way Galaxy?
How do galaxies move within the
universe?
Are we ever sitting still?
How is Earth moving in our
solar system?


Contrary to our perception, we are not
“sitting still.”
We are moving with Earth in several ways,
and at surprisingly fast speeds.
The Earth rotates
around its axis once
every day.
Earth orbits the Sun (revolves) once every year:
• at an average distance of 1 AU ≈ 150 million kilometers.
• with Earth’s axis tilted by 23.5º (pointing to Polaris)
It rotates in the same direction it orbits, counterclockwise as
viewed from above the North Pole.
How is our Sun moving in in the Milky Way
Galaxy?
Our Sun moves randomly relative to the other stars in the
local solar neighborhood…
• typical relative speeds of more than 70,000 km/hr
• but stars are so far away that we cannot easily notice
their motion
… and orbits the
galaxy every 230
million years.
More detailed study of the Milky Way’s
rotation reveals one of the greatest
mysteries in astronomy:
How do galaxies move within the universe?
Galaxies are carried along with the expansion of the
universe. But how did Hubble figure out that the universe
is expanding?
Hubble discovered that:


All galaxies outside our Local Group are
moving away from us.
The more distant the galaxy, the faster it
is racing away.
Conclusion: We live in an expanding universe.
Are we ever sitting still?
What have we learned?

How is Earth moving in our solar
system?


It rotates on its axis once a day and
orbits the Sun at a distance of 1 AU =
150 million kilometers.
How is our solar system moving in the
Milky Way Galaxy?

Stars in the Local Neighborhood move
randomly relative to one another and
orbit the center of the Milky Way in
about 230 million years.
What have we learned?

How do galaxies move within the
universe?


All galaxies beyond the Local Group are
moving away from us with expansion of
the universe: the more distant they
are, the faster they’re moving.
Are we ever sitting still?

No! Earth is constantly in motion, even
though we don’t notice it.
Discovering the Universe for
Yourself
Patterns in the Night Sky
Our goals for learning:



What does the universe look like
from Earth?
Why do stars rise and set?
Why do the constellations we see
depend on latitude and time of year?
What does the universe look
like from Earth?
With the naked
eye, we can see
more than 2000
stars as well as
the Milky Way.
Constellations
Constellations
A constellation is a
region of the sky.
Eighty-eight
constellations fill
the entire sky.
Constellations
Thought Question
The brightest stars in a
constellation:
A.
all belong to the same star cluster.
B.
all lie at about the same distance from
Earth.
C.
may actually be quite far away from each
other.
Thought Question
The brightest stars in a
constellation:
A.
all belong to the same star cluster.
B.
all lie at about the same distance from
Earth.
C.
may actually be quite far away from each
other.
The Celestial Sphere
Stars at different
distances all appear
to lie on the
celestial sphere.
The 88 official
constellations cover
the celestial sphere.
The Celestial Sphere
Ecliptic is the
Sun’s apparent
path through the
celestial sphere.
The Celestial Sphere
North celestial
pole is directly
above Earth’s North
Pole.
South celestial
pole is directly
above Earth’s
South Pole.
Celestial equator
is a projection of
Earth’s equator
onto sky.
The Milky Way
A band of light
making a circle
around the
celestial sphere.
What is it?
Our view into the
plane of our
galaxy.
The Milky Way
The Local Sky
An object’s altitude (above horizon) and
direction (along horizon) specify its location in
your local sky.
The Local Sky
Zenith: the
point directly
overhead
Horizon: all
points 90° away
from zenith
Meridian: line
passing
through zenith
and
connecting N
and S points
on horizon
We measure the sky using angles.
Angular Measurements
• Full circle = 360º
• 1º = 60 (arcminutes)
• 1 = 60 (arcseconds)
Thought Question
The angular size of your finger at arm’s
length is about 1°. How many
arcseconds is this?
A.
B.
C.
60 arcseconds
600 arcseconds
60  60 = 3600 arcseconds
Thought Question
The angular size of your finger at arm’s
length is about 1°. How many
arcseconds is this?
A.
B.
C.
60 arcseconds
600 arcseconds
60  60 = 3600 arcseconds
Angular Size
360 degrees
angular size = physical size 
2  distance
An object’s
angular size
appears smaller
if it is farther
away.
Why do stars rise and set?
Earth rotates from west
to east, so stars appear
to circle from east to
west.
Our view from Earth:
•
•
•
Stars near the north celestial pole are
circumpolar and never set.
We cannot see stars near the south celestial
pole.
All other stars (and Sun, Moon, planets) rise
in east and set in west.
Thought Question
What is the arrow pointing to in the photo below?
A. the zenith
B. the north celestial pole
C. the celestial equator
Thought Question
What is the arrow pointing to in the photo below?
A. the zenith
B. the north celestial pole
C. the celestial equator
Why do the constellations we see
depend on latitude and time of
year?
•
•
They depend on latitude because your
position on Earth determines which
constellations remain below the horizon.
They depend on time of year because
Earth’s orbit changes the apparent
location of the Sun among the stars.
Coordinates on the Earth


Latitude: position north or south of
equator
Longitude: position east or west of prime
meridian (runs through Greenwich,
England)
The sky varies with latitude but
not with longitude.
Altitude of the celestial pole =
your latitude
Thought Question
The North Star (Polaris) is 50° above
your horizon, due north. Where are you?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
You are
You are
You are
You are
You are
50°E.
on the equator.
at the North Pole.
at latitude 50°N.
at longitude 50°E.
at latitude 50°N and longitude
Thought Question
The North Star (Polaris) is 50° above
your horizon, due north. Where are you?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
You are on the equator.
You are at the North Pole.
You are at latitude 50°N.
You are at longitude 50°E.
You are at latitude 50°N and
longitude 50°E.
The sky varies as Earth orbits the Sun


As the Earth orbits the Sun, the Sun appears to
move eastward along the ecliptic.
At midnight, the stars on our meridian are opposite
the Sun in the sky.
What have we learned?

What does the universe look like
from Earth?



We can see over 2000 stars and the
Milky Way with our naked eyes, and
each position on the sky belongs to one
of 88 constellations.
We can specify the position of an object
in the local sky by its altitude above
the horizon and its direction along the
horizon.
Why do stars rise and set?

Because of Earth’s rotation.
What have we learned?

Why do the constellations we see
depend on latitude and time of
year?


Your location determines which
constellations are hidden by Earth.
The time of year determines the
location of the Sun on the celestial
sphere.