Chapter 8: Astronomy

PDF versionPDF version

Learning Outcomes

These indicate what you should understand and be able to do as a result of the section. Each Learning Outcome highlights one main practice of science or engineering that you will use to investigate and explore ideas of Earth and space sciences and key crosscutting concepts that are common among all the sciences.

Section 1:  The Size and Scale of the Universe

  • Develop a scale model of the solar system.
  • Evaluate different scale models and compare their strengths and limitations.
  • Use mathematics to calculate distances to objects in the universe in astronomical units (au), light-years, and parsecs (pc).

Section 2:  Locating Astronomical Objects in the Night Sky

  • Develop a model for identifying specific locations on Earth.
  • Analyze a coordinate system as a mathematical model for locating objects in the sky.
  • Identify patterns in the organization and distribution of matter in the universe.

Section 3:  Origin of the Universe

  • Use a model to show the relationship between a moving object and the energy it emits.
  • Use a model to predict the direction and rate of movement of galaxies in the universe.
  • Analyze data to determine patterns in electromagnetic radiation that fills the universe.
  • Use a model explain the nebular theory of the formation of the solar system.
  • Examine the evidence that supports the big bang theory for how the universe was formed.

Section 4:  Orbits and Effects

  • Use mathematics to develop models that explain patterns in the orbits of planets in our solar system.
  • Analyze data to identify the relationship between the shape of a planet’s orbit and its distance from the Sun.
  • Obtain information about Kepler’s laws and how they explain planetary motion.

Section 5:  The Sun-Earth-Moon System

  • Use a model to explain the relative motions of Earth, the Moon, and the Sun.
  • Carry out an investigation that examines the changes in the appearance of the Moon in the night sky.
  • Analyze and interpret data to determine the relationship between the motion of the Moon and coastal tides.
  • Use mathematics to calculate how Earth’s rotation has changed over time due to tidal forces.
  • Obtain information about the formation of Earth and the Moon.

Section 6:  Impact Events and the Earth System

  • Use mathematics to explain the energy released when asteroids or comets collide with Earth.
  • Use computational thinking to compare impact events.
  • Obtain information about the probability and effects of asteroid, comet, and meteorite collisions with Earth.

Section 7:  The Electromagnetic Spectrum

  • Carry out an investigation of the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Analyze and interpret data on the frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Obtain information about how astronomers use electromagnetic radiation to study objects and events in space.

Section 8:  The Sun and its Effects

  • Analyze and interpret sunspot and solar flare data.
  • Obtain information about solar activity and its effects.

Section 9:  The Lives of Stars

  • Plan and carry out an investigation to explore the relationship between the brightness of an object (its luminosity) and its magnitude.
  • Analyze and interpret data relating to the properties of stars.
  • Obtain information about stellar structure and stellar evolution (the life cycle of stars).