Introduction & Background Material
- Define three units of length used in astronomy.
- How do we use scientific notation?
Navigating the Sky
- Describe three constellations visible in the spring sky & how to find them.
Light & Spectra
- What are the main parts of an atom?
- Explain the process of absorption and emission of light by atoms.
- What are the three main types of spectra? List an example of a source for each.
- How does a star’s spectrum tell us about its composition?
- What is a telescope?
- List the two main kinds of visible light telescopes. How are they different?
- What are some benefits of mirror-based telescopes over lens-based ones?
- How is magnification determined?
- What is angular resolution? How does telescope size affect it?
- What are some problems with visible light telescopes?
- What other wavelengths are also studied with telescopes?
- List the three layers of the Sun’s atmosphere and a feature of each.
- What are sunspots? How do they form?
- Why is the corona so hot?
- What is the solar cycle? What effect does it have on the Sun?
- What is a CME? How does it differ from a prominence?
- What are the different kinds of stellar binaries?
- What is the `center of mass’?
- How can we determine the (surface) temperature of stars?
- What is luminosity? What properties does it depend on?
- What is an HR diagram? Sketch one and indicate major features.
- What is the Main Sequence? Why is it important?
- How do we date the age of clusters of stars?
- Explain the difference between apparent and absolute magnitudes.
- Discuss the methods which make up the `distance ladder’.
Low Mass Stellar Evolution
- What causes a star to form?
- What internal process defines a star?
- What is hydrostatic equilibrium? Why is it important?
- What is the Main Sequence? What does it represent?
- Detail the stages of development (core & envelope) for a low mass star.
- What is the composition of the final core of a low mass star?
- What are planetary nebulae? White dwarves? Brown dwarves?
- What is electron degeneracy pressure? Why is it important?
High Mass Stellar Evolution
- How is fusion in a high mass, main sequence star different than in a low mass star?
- Detail the stages of development (core & envelope) for a high mass star.
- Why can’t stars fuse iron?
- What is a supernova?
- Why can we be described as `star stuff’?
- How do we make use of supernova light curves?
- What is neutron degeneracy pressure? Why is it important?
- When do neutron stars form? What are they?
- What is a pulsar?
- How do black holes form? What evidence do we have they exist?
- What are supermassive black holes? Where do we think they exist?
- What kind of galaxy do we live in? What is its name?
- Where in our galaxy is our Sun located?
- How do we `weigh’ a galaxy?
- What do galactic rotation curves imply about our galaxy?
- What leads to the spiral structure in spiral galaxies?
- What are the leading candidates for `dark matter’?
- What were galaxies originally believed to be?
- List the three main types of galaxies.
- What is a galaxy’s `halo’?
- What overall structure do we see when we look at large numbers of galaxies?
- Why do the two main kinds of galaxies have such different characteristics?
- What sort of evidence is there for the importance of galactic collisions?
- What are Quasars? Why are they only seen at great distances?