About This Chapter
Astronomical Observations - Chapter Summary
This chapter is your ticket to studying the ways in which astronomers observe space. You'll learn about the factors that go into measuring different components of the universe as well as how the discussed methods of measurement connect to those used for more earthly calculations. Topics covered include:
- The horizon and equatorial coordinate system
- Angular size and distance
- Finding the distance to a star and the size of a star
- Factors that make astronomical observations more difficult
The timeline feature underneath the lesson videos allows you to jump around main facets of the material at your discretion. But if you opt to read the included transcripts of the content, you'll find navigation similarly easy by means of the bolded print pointing out key terms and topics. Questions can always be submitted to our professional instructors through the teacher or help tab.
1. The Horizon Coordinate System
This lesson will describe a celestial coordinate system known as the horizon system or altazimuth system, as well as important terms such as altitude, azimuth, zenith, and angular distance.
2. The Equatorial Coordinate System
This lesson will teach you about the fundamentals of the equatorial system, including declination, right ascension, the vernal equinox, angular diameter, and celestial equator.
3. Measuring Objects in the Sky: Angular Size & Distance
This lesson will teach you about the celestial sphere, angular distance, angular size and diameter, arc minutes, and arc seconds. You'll also learn some neat tricks on how to use your own hands to measure these.
4. Measuring The Distance to a Star
This lesson will tell you how astronomers can measure the distance to a star and how it relates to the way surveyors measure distances to landmarks right here on Earth.
5. How to Find the Size of a Star
This lesson will tell you how astronomers figure out the size of stars. You'll learn it has to do with a star's temperature, luminosity, and a cool thing known as the H-R diagram.
6. Factors That Hinder Astronomical Observations on Earth
This lesson will discuss several important factors that affect the ability of someone using a telescope to see a celestial object clearly, including weather, dust, seeing, and light pollution.
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