The following are a number of examples in which astronomy relates to
the High School curriculum.
Spectral Lines: Spectral lines reflect the temperature
in the 7 different classes of stars- The coolest stars show spectral
lines of molecules and neutral metals while the hottest, bluest stars’
spectral lines are from ionized helium atoms; the hotter the gas, the
faster the molecules or atoms move, the more likely electrons will be
disturbed (excited) or disrupted (removed); emission and absorption
lines thus depend on electron orbital structure of atoms.
Star Equilibrium: Main-sequence star equilibrium
is determined by star's mass and chemical compositions. Nuclear reactions
result in change of equilibrium, leading the stellar evolution. Hydrogen-burning
lifetime = (mass/luminosity in solar units) x 9 billion years, since
larger stars have higher interior temperatures, faster use of nuclear
fuel and faster evolution.
Nuclear Reactions: Main-sequence stars convert hydrogen
to helium. More evolved stars convert helium to carbon, oxygen, etc.
This is how most of the elements are formed.
Doppler Effect: Blue-shifts or red-shifts in stars;
by measuring wavelengths and shifts in wavelengths, velocities of stars
moving towards or away can be studied; shift in wavelength divided by
the wavelength at rest equals approach or recession speed divided by
the velocity of light; can determine the following basic properties
of stars- rotation, atmospheric motions, circumstellar material and
motion; evidence for the expansion of universe.
Measuring tangential velocity: This is the motion
of the star perpendicular to the line of sight, determined from measurements
of the distance to the star, and the rate of angular motion across the
Stellar Forces: Gravity pulls inward on stellar particles,
while gas pressure, radiation pressure and magnetic support push outwards.
The balance between pressure and gravity is called hydrostatic equilibrium.
Wien’s Law: W= 0.00290/T, where W is the wavelength
at which the maximum amount of radiation comes from a body of temperature
T. The law has implications for the prediction of infrared stars or
star-nebula complexes, and is a way to measure the 'surface' temperature
Inverse Square Law: This is the relation describing
any entity, like radiation or gravity, that varies as 1/r^2, where r
is the distance of the entity from source.
Parallax determination: Parallax, the apparent shift
in the position of an object caused by a shift in the observer’s
position, gives the distance to the object using trigonometry.
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