You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

My Photo
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Astronomy: Earth, Sky, and Planets

Astronomy: Earth, Sky, and Planets is one of two astronomy courses in the Modern Scholar series. The lectures cover the Earth and its satellite, the Moon; how the planets revolve around the sun; the other planets and how they were formed; and gravity and Kepler's laws.

I enjoyed that there was an historical background given on all the planets, listing when they were discovered and their impact. I learned a lot about the zodiac and the ecliptic. There was also a good bit about the stars and how they are oriented, including Polaris.

There are a lot of interesting facts about the planets and moons. The gas giants have dozens of moons. Some of Jupiter's moons are in a harmonic orbit. Io's orbit is half as long as Europa's, which is half as long as Ganymede's. Each body has an effect on the other. What's more interesting is that our Moon is locked, its same face always turned toward Earth, due to the slowing down of Earth's gravity on it. Likewise, the Moon is slowing down the Earth's rotation, and the Earth will eventually be in a locked orbit, the same side always facing the Moon.

I also learned much about comets and the outer reaches of the solar system.

The series is an A. There is much more to the planets than we learned in grade school. I look forward to the next astronomy lecture, about stars and galaxies.


Blogger benbradley said...

Hi, Dylan, I saw your comments on Penn and Teller in the LRG list, and found your blog in your sig. You mention the Moon slowing down due to the Earth's rotation, and it brought to mind the website from an amateur who has spent a lot of time and money on equipment to measure things such as the exact speed of the Earth's rotation. Near the bottom is a link to which specifically talks about the rate at which Earth's rotation is slowing down. He has a more philosophical page about the stability of the Earth's rotation and our ability to measure it here:
I don't have many entries on my blog, but I expect to add more to it soon.

9:06 PM, August 08, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home