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 Textbook: Astronomy and our world today (Modules: 1/13) - Part 1

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Aurora Merrythought
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PostSubject: Textbook: Astronomy and our world today (Modules: 1/13) - Part 1   Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:13 pm


'Astronomy and our World Today'
Textbook - Modules 1-13
Author: Professor Avon


Chapter 1/2: How to begin?

Well that is a good question. To begin we have to know just what
Astronomy is. My Motto to all new and old students is 'just look up' if
you do this you are taking a step in the right direction. Astronomy is
the 'first' science. Long before witches & wizards had math they
were studying the heavens. It is the branch of science dedicated to
everything in the universe that lies outside Earth itself. In this
addition we will discover stars, planets, galaxies, solar systems and
much much... much.... much........... much more!

Once you know the definition lets move on to 'tools'. Using your eyes
is all well and good but if you are serious it is time to pull out the
simplest yet handiest of tools. The telescope! They come in all shapes,
models and sizes. I prefer my good old model 9873-2ADG Galaxy Gazer. It
folds up to be pocket size and can see through just about anything;
Bricks, Tree's, Mountains, and Roof Tops to list a few.

*Note* All telescopes that can see through things are spelled to 'wink
out' if pointed in the wrong direction if you get my drift (and Yes I
am speaking about the girls dorm boys!) so take that as a warning. If
the charm is removed or even detects tampering you and your telescope
will get to see outer space in a rather unconventional manner. (For
those of you who are very dense and still do not get my meaning it will
blow up!)

Upon obtaining your telescope I encourage one and all to use a very
simple spell to 'auto focus' your telescope. I know I know it can be
fun on those lazy day's to play around with some of the interesting
dials on your new contraption however during a pinch it is handy to
just pick up and look through.


Name: Auto Focus Spell
Incantation: 'Tulilatum' stress on Tuli and um
Wand Position/Movement: Downward double Tap on object
*Note* this spell can also be used on camera's and omnoculars or even
muggle bionocular contraptions. As well as anything else that requires
focusing.


Once you have your telescope auto focused point it at the largest
object in our night sky... the moon! A simple target for your first
test run. Examine the craters the colour... the moon has 2 sides
noticed the line separating the dark and light halves. I suggest notes
always good to mark down a first experience. Once you have mastered the
moon try looking for the next closest star and so on.


Chapter 3: The Terrestrial Planets

Here we are moving on from the Solar System as a whole to looking at a
smaller section of it. After the sun there are 4 planets Mercury,
Venus, Earth, and Mars. They are called "Terrestrial Planets". The next
planets after them are referred to, as "Gas Giants" then there is Pluto
who is in a category of its own, which we will discuss a bit later in
the textbook.

The terrestrial planets are primarily made up of silicate rocks and
have a hard rocky core. The word Terrestrial was derived from the word
"Terra" which means Earth! So we can safely say Terrestrial means
'earth like'. Yes we are that conceded. Ok enough jokes on to the
knowledge I know all of your little minds are aching for. These 4 and
possibly 5th (Pluto) planets are very different from the gas giants.
They have solid surfaces where as gas giants do not.

Mercury:
Mythology: Mercury was the Roman version of a Greek god named Hermes.
Hermes was the messenger of the gods who is often shown wearing sandals
with wings. He was the son of Zeus and Maia. Along with being the
protector of travelers and merchants he was the official message
deliver of the gods.

Facts: A few facts about Mercury, it is the closest planet to the sun
and has no atmosphere. It is a planet of the most extreme weather you
would find anywhere. During the day if you visited the world you would
surely cook and burn to death, however if you visited at night because
the planet moves so slowly you could freeze to death it gets so cold.
Mercury has no moons, but it looks very similar to Earths moon on the
surface. It is cratered and beat up on the surface. Because the planet
is much smaller then Earth it has less gravity, if you weighed 70
pounds on earth you would only weigh 25-28 pounds on Mercury.

Venus:
Mythology: Venus was the Roman goddess of Love an equivalent to
Aphrodite in Greek Mythology. There are 2 versions of her birth 1, she
was the daughter of Dione and Zeus and then the more popular version
that she was born of the foaming sea where Ouranos severed body parts
had fallen when Kronos had killed him to free himself and his siblings.
Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus the Greek god of smiting but also
had children with Ares, Dionysus and Hermes.

Facts: Venus is a not very friendly planet to look at. It is covered in
a cloud that makes it so no one can see the surface. This cloud traps
much of the suns heat. Venus has the hottest temperature out of all the
planets. However it is still similar in many ways to Earth. It has
active volcanoes Venus-quakes (chuckle), mountains and valleys. The
major difference between earth and Venus however is the atmosphere
makes planet far to hot to sustain life.

Earth
Mythology: In mythology the ‘Earths’ Greek name was Gaia. Earth was the
mother of the mountains, valleys, streams and all other land
structures. She was married to Uranus and was the mother of Cronos who
was the father of Zeus. She basically had children and was a very huge
power in the world. She helped both her husband and her son overthrow
their oppressors.

Facts: So far the earth is the only one we know that carries life in
this universe. It’s temperature weather and other factors keep us
alive. The earth has one moon (called Luna) Our Scientists use Earth to
study all the other planets. Since we have not visited any of the other
planets we compared them with earth to guess what they may be like.
(This is referred to Comparative Planetology)

Mars
Mythology: Mars is the Roman god of war and agriculture (Kind of
different to put those two things together). In Greek mythology he was
named Aries. Red being a colour associated with war, the red planet of
mars must belong to him. Mars helped protect and defend those who
fought for their communities and stayed home to raise crops for food.

Facts: Mars is Earths “Sister Planet”. It was called that because it
has mild temperament much like earths. It is the most similar to Earth
out of any other planet discovered. There are many pieces of evidence
on Mars’s surface that suggest there was once water like rivers,
streams and lakes, even an ocean. It is suggested that Mars’s
atmosphere slowly became depleted and seeped in to outer space. Thus
caused the water to evaporate permanently we know today the only water
left is frozen in the polar areas or even possibly underground. Mars
has much higher mountains and far deeper canyons then earth. Mars’
biggest do stretch all the way from New York City to Los Angeles if it
was on earth. Mars also has the Solar Systems largest Volcano called
“Olympus Mons”. Mars has 2 moons Deimos and Phobos. Deimos and Phobos
look like Asteroids and are extremely small; They are oddly shaped as
well Wizarding Astronomers have tracked their path through the solar
system for thousands of years. They were once orbiting Jupiter but were
tossed out by accident and captured by Mars. Because they have such a
low force of gravity they were not able to pull themselves in to a
round shape. Phobos in fact is on a path of destruction right now.
Every Earth Year it gets 2 meters closer to the surface of mars. One
day it will crash in to the planet or be ripped apart to form a ring
around the outside like the outer planets (Saturn for example).

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