Astronomy – from asteroids and comets to massive stars and black holes

These are the exact instructions given by the instructor: – 1) Be as concise and detailed as possible. It is not necessarily quantity, but quality of the answer that will count. 2) Make sure you answer the question. Structure your answer in a proper paragraph form. 3) Be sure to cite your resources for each question at the end of each answer. Some points will be awarded when this part is done correctly. 4) As a guide each answer generates a response of at least 1 1/2 to 2 or more pages in length. (That is a guideline for you to use.) The Final must be turned in on the prescribed due date. 5) The Final Exam is worth 100 pts. To achieve 100 pts you can do any 4 of the 5 essay questions. Each question is worth 25 pts. Look at the schedule for the due date. No late work will be graded. All questions have equal weight. A) Discuss the physical and orbital characteristics of comets and compare/contrast them with those of asteroids. Discuss meteors and meteor showers and explain how they are related to the comets. Discuss how comets change within a given orbit and over long periods of time. Discuss the origin of short and longperiod comets, and the nature and probable origin of the Kuiper Disk and Oort Cloud. B) Discuss the ways in which stars of various masses age and die, starting with low-mass stars which never make it to the Main Sequence, and ending with massive stars which blow themselves to bits in supernova explosions. Discuss the structures and characteristics of white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. Explain why these dead stars are usually difficult to observe and describe how they can (sometimes) be observed. C) Describe the structure of the Universe, and how we know that it is expanding. Describe the Open and Closed Big Bang theories of the Universe, and the Inflationary model, and the differences between them. Discuss the current version of the Big Bang theory, and its implications for the future of the Universe. Discuss the theory of “dark” matter as it relates to the structure of the Universe. D) Describe and discuss Black Holes. First, discuss how a Black Hole forms. What are they? Describe their physical characteristics. How they would they would be observed? Where do they fit into the process of stellar evolution? How are they involved in understanding active galaxies? What are the most likely candidates for our having observed them? E) The trial of Galileo is an important event in the history of science. We now know, and the Church now recognizes, that Galileo’s view was correct, but what were the arguments on both sides of the issue as it was unfolding? Research the Internet for documents chronicling the trial, Galileo’s observations and publication, and the position of the Church. Use this information to outline a case for or against Galileo in the context of the times in which the trial occurred. – Our class book is called Astronomy. ISBN#: 9781938168284. It should be available for free download through Amazon Kindle (Last I checked anyway) I’d like most of the sources come from the book if at all possible.

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