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Wordsmith.org Forums General Topics Words and languages in schools A home course in Astronomy
OP I suggested to etaoin, who is an astronmy enthusiast, that there are a lot of
interesting words to be learned about astronomy. Plato would not consider
anybody ignorant of geometry worthy of his company. Today, ignorance of
astronomy is worse. And I am ignorant of it. But I have found a place to Learn:
Here's a small sample from glossary at the site:
ecliptic & inclination
ecliptic, ecliptic plane
Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, H-R Diagram
inverse square law
Kepler's first law
Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion
Kepler's second law
Kepler's third law
Kerr black hole
looks like a good site, Dr. Bill, with some good links. I did put one word down below the fold; it's gotten a little response.
formerly known as etaoin...
OP Dear etaoin: Don't get discouraged. It was quite a while before anyone looked at the words
I was posting in Beheaded Words. I'm really grateful a small but valued group has been looking
at them for past couple weeks. I think a lot of people get overwhelmed by the amount of
technical stuff you have to learn in astronomy. Maybe we can lure them in with some simple
beginnings. I'm so ignorant of astronomy it hurts. I hate being ignorant.
Comment on Kepler: The most interesting aspect of reading about the development of astronomy is learning how each pivotal figure struggled with past theories, moved forward (sometimes) in an attempt to either refute or further develop those theories, and developed a theory which would eventually be disproven by others. Kepler realized that Copernicus's math was off, but the calculations could be made more accurate by showing that the planets moved in elliptical, rather than circular, orbits. However, Kepler based his theory on perfect elliptical orbits so his calculations remained slightly off. He had not calculated in the various planetary wobbles caused by the various gravitational pulls among the planets (and other bodies moving through the solar system)that led to variations in the elliptical orbits.
But these early astronomers are amazing in how they carried out their observations and worked calculations to support their theories--and without the aid of a telescope. Galileo was just up ahead of Kepler, but I must edit here: I don't know what effect Gallileo's telescope had on Kepler's math. [Did we have to wait for Newton to factor in gravitational pull of the planets upon each other?] Or any of the astronomers preceding Galileo. Of course, that's as much a waste of time to consider as adding twenty years to Mozart's life and trying to predict how his music may have developed.
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