1. Write down an explanation, based on a scientific theory, of why Halley’s comet orbits the Sun following an elliptical path. Explain why it is scientific. Then write down a non-scientific explanation of the same phenomenon, and explain why it is non-scientific. Then write down a pseudoscientific explanation of the same phenomenon, and explain why it is pseudoscientific.
2. Write down Newton’s Law of Gravity as an equation. Explain each letter’s meaning. Then compute what the gravitational force exerted on you by Earth would be if you were an astronaut in orbit Y million meters away from Earth’s center. Remember to use correct units.
3. Referring to Question 2 above, answer the question: what would your velocity be in that situation, and why?
4. For each of (a) and (b) below, write a single grammatically correct sentence containing the words indicated in any order plus other words that makes scientific sense. You may use conjunctions; a list of definitions, however, will not receive credit.
(a) <name of a neighbor>, moon, weightless, phase, eclipse. (b) <name of a planet>, gas, snow, pressure, mass.
5. Write a question appropriate for this assignment that requires a mathematical calculation about the distance away from the Sun of an object with an orbital period of Y years. Then answer it. You will be graded on both the appropriateness of the question and the correctness of the answer.
6. Write down three differences between Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, as well as two characteristics which these four planets share. Then answer: can these similarities and differences be explained by the scientific theory of solar system formation, and if so, how?
7. Do the same thing in Question 6, but for Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
8. Be sure to cite your references if you use any. From the perspective of your location on Earth’s surface right now, (a) when will the Sun rise four days from now and when will it set? (b) What will be the phase of the Moon be four days from now W seconds after sunset? (c) Will the Sun be north or south of due east at 1:00pm EDT four days from now, and how do you know?
9. Write a question appropriate for this assignment that addresses the relationship between one of Galileo’s observations that was published in The Starry Messenger and Newton’s law of gravity. Then answer the question with a 15-30 word paragraph. You will be graded on both the question’s appropriateness and the answer’s correctness.
10. Write a question appropriate for this assignment on a topic that was covered in Lectures 1-12 of this course so far but has not been covered on this assignment so far. Then answer that question. You will be graded on both the appropriateness of the question and the correctness of the answer.