About This Chapter
The Basics of Astronomy - Chapter Summary
Our instructors outline the basics of astronomy for your review in this engaging chapter. You can watch informative videos covering subjects such as the planets, lunar eclipses and precession. Even the most challenging topics are easy to understand when they're presented in our professionally designed learning materials. We've included quizzes with the lessons and a comprehensive test at the end of the chapter to help boost your confidence and ensure you've fully understood what you've learned. If you need any help from an instructor, reach out to one by submitting your questions through the Dashboard. Once you finish watching these videos, you should be able to:
- Explain the horizon coordinate system and the equatorial coordinate system
- Identify important points on the celestial sphere
- Outline the cycle of seasons in astronomy
- Discuss the orbits and visibility of the planets of the solar system
- Define precession and its importance
- Describe how distance and angular size are used to measure objects in the sky
- Detail the different types of lunar eclipses
- Explain what happens during a solar eclipse
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. Important Points on the Celestial Sphere
This lesson will discuss some important points and lines located on the celestial sphere, including the zenith, nadir, celestial equator, meridian, and north and south celestial poles.
4. The Cycle of the Seasons in Astronomy
This lesson will explain to you why the Earth has different seasons, what the equinoxes and solstices are, their names, and if the distance the Earth is from the Sun influences the seasons.
5. Planets of the Solar System: Orbits & Visibility
This lesson will tell you which planets in our solar system you can see with the naked eye and which ones you cannot. You'll also learn how they appear to move in our sky and why we can see them in the first place.
6. What is Precession?
You've probably heard of the term precession. But what is this really? And what significance does it have to our night sky? This lesson will explain what it is and what it causes.
7. 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.
8. Lunar Eclipse: Definition & Types
This lesson will teach you about the lunar eclipse. You'll learn the difference between a penumbral, partial, and total lunar eclipse, and see what totality means with respect to a total lunar eclipse.
9. What Is a Solar Eclipse?
This lesson will describe what a solar eclipse is, why it's possible, when a partial or a total one will occur, and what cool effects occur during one.
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Other chapters within the Astronomy 101: Intro to Astronomy course
- The Historical Background of Astronomy
- The Physics of Astronomy
- Understanding Orbits in Astronomy
- The Earth-Moon System
- The Solar System
- The Inner Solar System
- Gaseous Planets in the Solar System
- Comets, Moons & Asteroids
- Understanding the Science of the Sun
- Types of Stars in the Universe
- Formation & Evolution of Stars
- Stellar Death & Remnants
- Formation & Structure of the Milky Way
- Properties & Characteristics of Galaxies
- Cosmology Overview
- Relativity in Space & Time
- Overview of Life in the Universe
- Tools & Instruments for Astronomy
- Studying for Astronomy 101