Ch 18: Star Qualities Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The Star Qualities chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach the methodologies astronomers use to identify and examine stars. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the Star Qualities chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

Day Topics Key Terms and Concepts Covered
Monday Star Spectra Kirchhoff's Laws, photon absorption and emission, spectral lines representation, visual wavelengths, electrons transition, and the Doppler effect
Tuesday Distance and brightness Astronomer's method, surveyor's method, luminosity, inverse square law, intrinsic brightness, magnitudes, and apparent brightness
Wednesday Temperature and classifications Blackbody curves, Wien's laws, blackbody, spectral sequence in relation to temperature, H-R diagrams, stellar classifications, brown dwarfs, and star size
Thursday Spectroscopy: Part I Balmer thermometers, the uses of spectroscopy, and spectroscopic parallax
Friday Spectroscopy: Part II Characteristics of light, photons, and how astronomers use the visible light color spectrum to determine the chemical composition of stars

16 Lessons in Chapter 18: Star Qualities Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Kirchhoff's Laws and Star Spectra

1. Kirchhoff's Laws and Star Spectra

This lesson will define for you three laws associated with spectra and how they relate to the composition of stars, as well as how they relate to atoms and wavelengths.

Electron Transitions & Spectral Lines

2. Electron Transitions & Spectral Lines

This lesson discusses how electrons transition between energy levels, why they do this, how photons are involved, how absorption and emission spectra come into play, and what the Lyman, Balmer, and Paschen series are.

The Doppler Effect and Star Spectra

3. The Doppler Effect and Star Spectra

This lesson will outline what the Doppler effect is using a very familiar example, then parlay that knowledge into understanding how the Doppler effect is used in astronomy.

Measuring The Distance to a Star

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.

The Brightness Of Stars

5. The Brightness Of Stars

This lesson will define and describe important terms related to a star's brightness, including luminosity, intrinsic brightness, apparent brightness, and more.

Relating a Star's Brightness to Luminosity

6. Relating a Star's Brightness to Luminosity

This lesson will explore how luminosity, apparent brightness, and distance are related to one another using the inverse square law. You'll also learn how luminosity can be gauged based on distance and apparent brightness.

Using the Magnitude Scale to Compare Star Brightness

7. Using the Magnitude Scale to Compare Star Brightness

This lesson will describe the magnitude scale, apparent brightness, and apparent visual magnitude. It will also teach you how to compare the brightness of stars.

Determining the Temperature of a Star

8. Determining the Temperature of a Star

This lesson will explain to you the concepts of a spectrum, electromagnetic radiation, the temperature of a faraway star and how that relates to something known as a blackbody curve and Wien's law.

The Spectral Sequence and Temperature

9. The Spectral Sequence and Temperature

This lesson will talk about spectral classes, spectral types, and the spectral sequence. We will break down each spectral class and point out some important characteristics of each.

Stars' Luminosity Classes & Stellar Classifications

10. Stars' Luminosity Classes & Stellar Classifications

Astronomers have a neat trick up their sleeves when it comes to approximating the size of a star. This lesson will tell you how they do it and how the sizes are grouped.

How to Find the Size of a Star

11. 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.

Spectroscopy and the Chemical Characteristics of Stars

12. Spectroscopy and the Chemical Characteristics of Stars

This lesson will explain how astronomers find out the chemical composition of a distant star using spectral lines and spectroscopy, and how this relates to atoms, electrons, and photons.

Uses of the Balmer Thermometer in Astronomy

13. Uses of the Balmer Thermometer in Astronomy

This lesson will outline for you how the temperature of a star can be determined using spectroscopy as discovered by none other than Cecilia Payne. It's a method of determining stellar temperatures called the Balmer Thermometer.

Spectroscopic Parallax: Definition & Uses

14. Spectroscopic Parallax: Definition & Uses

How can you find the distance to a star? One way is to use the spectroscopic parallax to approximate the distance to a star using two key concepts in astronomy: apparent and absolute magnitude.

Relationship Between a Star's Mass, Luminosity, & Density

15. Relationship Between a Star's Mass, Luminosity, & Density

In this lesson, you will learn the important relationship between a main sequence star's mass and its luminosity as well as the relationship between a star's density and volume.

Brown Dwarfs: L, T, & Y Dwarfs

16. Brown Dwarfs: L, T, & Y Dwarfs

This lesson will explain to you what a brown dwarf is and how one is classified based on the spectral sequence (and thus temperature). You'll learn how big brown dwarfs are and whether they're truly stars or not.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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