Chpt 26 Notes- Studying Space: Section 26.1 Viewing the Universe DescribeIdentifyCompareExplain

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Nov 16, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)


Chpt 26


Studying Space:

1 Viewing the Universe


characteristics of the universe in terms of time, distance, and organization


the visible and nonvisible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum


refracting telescopes a
nd reflecting telescopes

how telescopes for nonvisible electromagnetic radiation differ from light

The Value of Astronomy

By studying these objects, astronomers have been able to learn more about the
origin of Earth and the processes in
volved in the formation of our solar system.

Studies of how stars shine may one day lead to improved or new energy sources on

Astronomers may also learn how to protect us from potential catastrophes, such as
collisions between asteroids and Earth.

Characteristics of the Universe

Organization of the Universe

a collection of stars, dust, and gas bound together by gravity

The solar system includes the sun, Earth, the other planets, and many smaller objects
such as asteroids and comets.

The solar

system is part of a galaxy.

The galaxy in which the solar system resides is called the
Milky Way galaxy

Measuring Distances in the Universe

astronomical unit

the average distance between the Earth and the sun;
approximately 150 million kilometers (symbo
l, AU)

Astronomers also use the speed of light to measure distance.

Light travels at 300,000,000 m/s. In one year, light travels 9.4607 x 1012 km. This
distance is known as a

Aside from the sun, the closet star to Earth is 4.2 light
years awa

Electromagnetic Spectrum

electromagnetic spectrum

all of the frequencies or wavelengths of electromagnetic

Light, radio waves, and X rays are all examples of electromagnetic radiation.

The radiation is composed of traveling waves of electric

and magnetic fields that
oscillate at fixed frequencies and wavelengths.

Visible Electromagnetic Radiation

Though all light travels at the same speed, different colors of light have different
wavelengths. These colors can be seen when visible light is

passed through a

The human eye can see only radiation of wavelengths in the visible light range of
the spectrum.

Electromagnetic radiation shorter or longer than wavelengths of violet or red light
cannot be seen by humans.

The shortest visible

wavelength of light are blue and violet, while the longest visible
wavelength of light are orange and red.

Invisible Electromagnetic Radiation

Invisible wavelengths cannot be seen by the human eye. They include infrared
waves, microwaves, radio waves,

ultraviolet rays, X rays, and gamma rays, and are
detected only by instruments.

In 1852, a scientist named Sir Frederick William Herschel discovered
which means “below the red.”

Infrared is electromagnetic radiation that has waves longer than wa
ves of visible
means “beyond the violet” and has wavelengths shorter than
waves of visible light.



an instrument that collects electromagnetic radiation from the sky and
concentrates it for better observation.

In 16
09, an Italian scientist, Galileo, heard of a device that used two lenses to make
distant objects appear closer.

Telescopes that collect only visible light are called
optical telescopes.

The two types of optical telescopes are refracting telescopes and r

Telescopes for Invisible Electromagnetic Radiation

Scientists have developed telescopes that detect invisible radiation, such as a
radiotelescope for radio waves.

based telescopes work best at high elevations, where the air is


The only way to study many forms of radiation is from space because the Earth’s
atmosphere acts as a shield against many forms of electromagnetic radiation

Space Telescopes

Hubble Space Telescope

collects electromagnetic radiation from objects i

Chandra X
ray Observatory

makes remarkably clear images using X rays from
objects in space, such as remnants of exploded stars.

Compton Gamma Ray Observatory

detected gamma rays from objects, such as
black holes.

James Webb Space Teles

will detect infrared radiation from objects in
space after it is launched in 2011.

Other Spacecraft

Since the early 1960s, spacecraft have been sent out of Earth’s orbit to study other

Voyager 1

Voyager 2

spacecraft investigated Jup
iter, Saturn, Uranus, and
Neptune, and collected images of these planets and their moons.


spacecraft orbited Jupiter and its moons from 1995 to 2003.


spacecraft will study Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Like Earth,
Titan has
an atmosphere that is rich in nitrogen. Scientists hope to learn more about
the origins of Earth by studying Titan.

2 Movements of the Earth

two lines of evidence for Earth’s rotation.


how the change in apparent positions of
constellations provides evidence of
Earth’s rotation and revolution around the sun.


how Earth’s rotation and revolution provide a basis for measuring time.


how the tilt of Earth’s axis and Earth’s movement cause seasons.

The Rotating Ear

the spin of a body on its axis

Each complete rotation takes about one day.

The Earth rotates from west to east. At any given moment, the hemisphere of Earth
that faces the sun experiences daylight. At the same time, the hemisphere of Eart
that faces away from the sun experiences nighttime.

These movements of Earth are also responsible for the seasons and changes in

The Foucault Pendulum

The path of the pendulum appeared to change over time. However, the path does
not actually c
hange. Instead, the Earth moves the floor as Earth rotates on its axis.

The Coriollis Effect

The rotation of Earth causes ocean currents and wind belts to curve to the left or
right. This curving is caused by Earth’s rotation and is called the

The Revolving Earth

the motion of a body that travels around another body in space; one
complete trip along an orbit

Even though you cannot feel Earth moving, it is traveling around the sun at an
average spee
d of 29.8 km/s.

Each complete revolution of Earth around the sun takes 365 1/4 days, or about one

the point in the orbit of a planet at which the planet is closet to the sun


the point in the orbit of a planet at which the planet

is farthest from the sun

is a closed curve whose shape is determined by two points, or foci, within
the ellipse. In planetary orbits, one focus is located within the sun.

Earth’s orbit around the sun is an ellipse. Because its orbit is an elli
pse, Earth is not
always the same distance

Evidence of Earth’s Rotation


is a group of stars that are organized in a recognizable pattern. Over
a period of several hours, the constellations appear to have changed its position in
the sky.

The rotation of Earth on its axis causes the change in position.

Evidence of Earth’s Revolution

Earth’s revolution around the sun is evidenced by the apparent motion of

Thus different constellations will appear in the night sky as the sea
sons change.

Measuring Time

Earth’s motion provides the basis for measuring time.

A day is determined by Earth’s rotation on its axis. Each complete rotation of Earth
on its axis takes one day, which is then broken into 24 hours.

The year is determined by

Earth’s revolution around the sun. Each complete
revolution of Earth around the sun takes 365 1/4 days, or one year.

Daylight Savings Time

Because of the tilt of Earth’s axis, daylight time is shorter in the winter months t
han in
the summer months. During the summer months, days are longer so that the sun
rises earlier in the morning.

The Seasons

Earth’s axis is tilted at 23.5˚. The Earth’s axis always points toward the North Star.
The North Pole sometimes tilts towards th
e sun and sometimes tilts away from the

The Northern Hemisphere has longer periods of daylight than the Southern
Hemisphere when the North Pole tilts towards the sun.

The Southern Hemisphere has longer periods of daylight when the North Pole tilts
ay from the sun.

Seasonal Weather

Changes in the angle at which the sun’s rays strike Earth’s surface cause the

When the North Pole tilts away from the sun, the angle of the sun’s rays falling on
the Northern Hemisphere is low.

This means the No
rthern Hemisphere experiences fewer daylight hours, less energy,
and lower temperatures.

Meanwhile, the sun’s rays hits the Southern Hemisphere at a greater angle. Therefore,
the Southern Hemisphere has more daylight hours and experiences a warm summer



the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator

At an equinox, the sun’s rays strike Earth at a 90° angle along the equator. The
hours of daylight and darkness are approximately equal everywhere on Earth on that

autumnal equinox
occurs on September 22 or 23 of each year and marks the
beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere.

vernal equinox
occurs on March 21 or 22 of each year and marks the beginning
of spring in the Northern Hemisphere

Winter Solstices

The sun’s rays strike the Earth at a 90° angle along the Tropic of Tropic of
Capricorn. The sun follows its lowest path across the sky on the winter solstice.

winter solstice
occurs on December 21 or 22 of each year and marks the
beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Places that are north of the Arctic Circle then have 24 hours of darkness. However,
places that are south of the Antarctic Circle have 24 hours of dayli
ght at that time.