VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 6 POSTED ON: 12/4/2011
CHAPTER 14 The Tools of the Astronomer • You have previously learned that scientists make observations to investigate the universe. • Astronomers have constructed special tools to investigate distant objects in the universe. • Different tools have been designed over the years for different purposes in order to have the best tool for the job. CHAPTER 14 The Tools of the Astronomer • Computers are used a lot in modern astronomy to collect and analyze data that humans are not capable of processing. Example: radio telescopes • Imagine two astronomers, Ranbir and Miranda. Ranbir wants to study distant stars, while Miranda is interested in planets like Venus and Mars. Even though they are both astronomers, how do you think Ranbir’s tools differ from Miranda’s tools? • If you could design an “ideal tool” for Ranbir, and one for Miranda, what would these tools do? CHAPTER 14 The Tools of the Astronomer Key Ideas • The astrolabe and the star map were tools used by early astronomers to chart the heavens and navigate the globe. • Astronomers use different types of telescopes to study a variety of objects in the sky. • Computers are essential to the astronomer. • Space probes are sent into space to explore planets and other objects. 14.1 Ancient and Modern Tools VOCABULARY • The astrolabe is an instrument that is used to electromagnetic (EM) calculate the distance to and between stars by spectrum measuring the angles from two positions and creating optical telescopes a scale drawing. This method is called triangulation. observatories • Star maps help observers locate objects in the sky. • The electromagnetic (EM) spectrum represents the total spectrum of radiant energy. Parts of the EM spectrum are emitted by all objects in the universe. 14.1 Ancient and Modern Tools VOCABULARY • Telescopes are instruments that allow astronomers electromagnetic (EM) to view objects in space, either from Earth’s surface spectrum or from orbit around Earth. optical telescopes observatories • Each type of telescope is designed to detect specific wavelengths of the EM spectrum. For example, radio telescopes detect the radio waves emitted from galaxies and stars, and provide clues to their composition. 14.3 Computers and Probes VOCABULARY • Computers are used to analyze large quantities of space probe astronomical data. • Astronomical equipment and instruments such as telescopes, on the ground and in space, are controlled by computers. • Computers translate the information received by telescopes into meaningful images of objects we ordinarily would not see. • Space probes are unpiloted instruments that are sent into space to explore planets and other objects at close range. • Some space probes use robots that roam the surface of another planetary body, and transmit data back to Earth for analysis.
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