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Something to Consider
all about astronomy
Hi. I'm the voice in your head you hear when you read. How's everything going? This is the Standard Deviants' guide to astronomy. It covers everything in the episode of Standard Deviants Television: Astronomy, and a little bit extra…
Click here to review everything covered in this episode of Standard Deviants TV. go!


  1. Introduction
    1. What is Astronomy?
    2. The Celestial Sphere
    3. Other Stuff You Need to Know
  2. The History of Astronomy
    1. The Beginnings of Astronomy
      1. Pythagoras
      2. Aristotle
      3. Stellar parallax
      4. Geocentric model
      5. Ptolemy
      6. Retrograde motion
    2. The Copernican Revolution
      1. Heliocentric model
      2. Tycho Brahe
    3. Kepler's Laws
    4. Galileo
    5. Newton
      1. Law of gravitation
      2. Laws of motion

sample test

1. Which of the following appears to move on the celestial sphere?
(a) Planets
(b) Stars
(c) Both "a" and "b"

2. The Earth takes just over 365 days to orbit the sun. What is this time called?
(a) Rotational period
(b) Revolution period
(c) Circular period

3. If the moon rises just after the sun sets, what type of moon will it probably be?
(a) No moon
(b) Quarter moon
(c) Full moon

4. How big is an astronomical unit?
(a) The semi-major axis of the Earth
(b) The semi-minor axis of the Earth
(c) The major axis of the Earth

5. Do we travel at a constant speed on our orbit around the sun?
(a) Yes
(b) No
(c) Only when there are cops around

6. What is astronomy?

7. Where is the celestial sphere?

8. Why are stellar parallaxes so hard to measure?

9. As seen from the Earth, do stars appear to rise in the east or the west?

10. How big is one AU?

11. Whose carefully recorded positions of Mars and other planets were used by Kepler?

12. Did Galileo invent the telescope?

13. How did Galileo use the moons of Jupiter to argue for the Copernican view of a heliocentric Universe?

14. Why are Newton's laws considered more general and deeper than Kepler's laws?

15. What's your favorite astronaut food?

Click here to see the answers.

something to consider
1. What are some ways you can think of proving that the Earth is round?

2. Why did Aristotle think that the Earth was immobile and the heavens revolved around it? Was he being irrational?

3. Why didn't the church seem to care when Copernicus announced his belief in a heliocentric solar system? Why did they criticize Galileo but almost ignore Copernicus?

4. How did the telescope change astronomy?

5. How does Newton's law of gravity differ from Kepler's second law?

Back to the Top



did you know?
Telescope actually means "light bucket." So a big telescope is a heavy light bucket.

top ten
Top 10 Things We Wouldn't Want To Hear Aliens Say After Landing:

10. Mom, can I keep one? Pleeeeease?

9. FANTASTIC! We'll have those ores mined in no time!

8. Hello, we're going planet to planet offering these lovely Gin-su knives. Take a look at the craftsmanship...

7. Can you validate our parking?

6. Ooo...They didn't say it was going to be a buffet.

5. Well I'm not eating this Earth-food. There must be a McZebulort's somewhere...

4. Take us to your leader. We want to meet this "Regis" person.

3. Let the games begin!

2. Our ship broke, do you mind if we use your phone to call the Beta Centauri Galaxy?...Oh, and we forgot our calling card.

1. Thanks for taking good care of all of our spotted ow...HEY, WAIT A SECOND!

Astronomy—Astronomy is the study of everything that lies beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

AU—Astronomical Unit. One AU is equal to the length of the Earth's semi-major axis.

celestial sphere—An imaginary sphere around the Earth that all the stars and planets are placed on.

meridian—A circle on the celestial sphere that passes through the two poles and the zenith of your position.

nadir—The point on the celestial sphere directly opposite the zenith and underneath your feet.

zenith—The point on the celestial sphere directly above your head.

geocentric universe—A model of the universe with the Earth at the center.

heliocentric solar system—A model of the universe with the sun at the center.

ion—An atom that has lost or gained electrons.

Kepler's laws—Three laws of planetary motion based on the observation that planets orbit the sun in ellipses.

Law one—The orbits of planets are ellipses, with the sun at one focus.

Law two—An imaginary line from a planet to the sun will sweep over equal areas of the ellipse in equal intervals of time.

Law three— A planet's period squared is proportional to a. A is the length of a planet's semi-major axis.

Newton's law of gravitation—The force of gravity between any two objects in the universe is equal to the mass of the first object (m1), multiplied by the mass of the second object (m2), multiplied by a gravitational constant (G), all divided by the square of the distance between the two objects.

Newton's laws of motion—Three laws of motion that give a more fundamental understanding of the universe than Kepler's laws.

Law one— All objects at rest stay at rest. All objects in motion stay in motion, in a straight line and at a constant speed, unless acted upon by a force.

Law two— Force equals mass times acceleration, or F = m x a3

Law three— For every force one body exerts on a second body, the second exerts an equal and opposite force on the first.

period—The amount of time (in Earth years) it takes a planet to orbit the sun once.

right-hand rule—A rule to help you determine which way is north on a planet. Point your fingers in the direction the planet rotates. Your fingers should curl around the planet, like you are grabbing a ball. Then stick out your thumb. That way is north.

retrograde motion—Backwards (westwards) motion of a planet with respect to the stars.

revolutional period—The length of time is takes a planet or moon to cycle around the object that it orbits. Earth's revolutional period is 365 days.

rotational period—The length of time it takes a planet or moon to rotate 360 degrees on its axis. Earth's rotational period is 24 hours.

semi-major axis—Half the length of the longest diameter of an ellipse.

spectrum—The range of visible light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

stellar parallax—The apparent motion of an object due to the change of the location of the viewer.

Explore the universe by checking out some cool astronomy-related websites. Remember, you will be leaving the Standard Deviants TV website. Enjoy!
Related Sites

This is a cool NASA website just for kids!

Here's a great NASA resource for teachers and parents.

Like the pictures from the Hubble telescope? Check out this site for lots of great images.

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