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Universe Case

Essay by   •  February 29, 2012  •  Essay  •  625 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,025 Views

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The universe works in mysterious ways that humans will always be trying to figure out. The Mueller Planetarium explained lots of concepts that I didn't really understand, but also reviewed many subjects that we have gone over in class. The instructor mostly talked to us about the celestial sphere, sun positions at different months, and moon and planet phases.

The celestial sphere is a difficult concept to wrap one's brain around. Right ascension and declination are very similar to longitude and latitude in the sense that right ascension runs east to west, like longitude, and declination runs north to south, like latitude. Right ascension is different thought because it is measured in hours, opposed to longitude which is measured in degrees east and west. Declination is measured in degrees also but not north and south like its counterpart, latitude. You can have a positive or negative declination depending on if the star is above or below the horizon. The instructor informed us that star positions slowly change because of the wobble in the Earth which I was unaware of. The instructor also showed us lots of interesting structures we can see in the sky, for example the cloudy Milky Way and the occasional retrograde planets.

The sun is the center point of our solar system and without it, none of us would even exist. With that being said, I feel it is important to learn more about the sun and why its position on Earth is so important. The Earth's tilt makes us have seasons. The sun plays a huge factor in this as well because the more tilted towards the sun you are, the more daylight you are going to experience. The summer solstice is on June 21st, which is the day we get the most daylight. The winter solstice is December 21st, when we get the least daylight. These days, along with autumnal and vernal equinox are important to farmers so they know when to plant their crops and when to harvest them.

Moon phases were also an important topic of discussion for our show. I learned that the moon is above our horizon a lot of the times during the day, it is just not visible because of the sun's brightness. The moon goes through 8 different phases throughout the course of a month depending on where its position is to the sun. The Earth and moon are tidally locked, which means the moon is rotating but a speed that is exactly the same as its revolution speed. So it is impossible to see the opposite side of the moon from any vantage point on the Earth. When the moon and Earth are in line with each other we can experience 2 main types of eclipses, lunar and solar. A total solar eclipse is when the moon lines up perfectly with the sun and is a rarity but is very cool to see if you ever experience it. A total lunar eclipse is when the moon crosses through Earth's umbra, which makes the moon look reddish colored.

My final thoughts of Mueller Planetarium are good ones. I didn't expect



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