Astronomy C

Smithy0013
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Re: Astronomy C

Postby Smithy0013 » February 10th, 2014, 12:39 pm

Anyone have any good (preferably but not necessarily free) resources for astronomy fundamentals?

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Re: Astronomy C

Postby syo_astro » February 10th, 2014, 1:36 pm

Hey, I am kind of new to this event and was wondering if anyone would be able to look over the information I have gotten together so far. In my state this is a binder event (no laptops) meaning that all of the information that I have so far is going to have to be printed off and put inside of a binder.

Here is my work so far:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bWY ... sp=sharing

Please leave comments on it or tell me what you think here.
I'd rather not comment on the whole thing, but I guess I'll put it like this. My state sometimes goes either overly in depth or overly random about certain things in relation to astronomy. I see you have overviews on the DSOs and math, and I don't know how in depth NC goes, but probably try to go more in depth. Also, I think I skimmed the whole thing, and I saw a few errors? I can't remember, I think it was like saying Mira was a RGB star when really it was an AGB star. Do you have any specific problems with info or note-creation? I personally use a 5" binder...so at least the binder issue I don't find a problem ;).

As to Smithy normally people here mention the following in no particular order:
College lecture notes and other associated websites/youtube videos
The textbook An Introduction to Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie
The scioly.org wiki
Hehe my and Alpha's blog for self-advertisement (onwardtotheedge.wordpress.com)

Sorry I can't get more specific, but if you have problems with that or finding DSO info/specific topic problems people here will be glad to help!
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Re: Astronomy C

Postby BipolarEconomist » February 12th, 2014, 5:15 pm

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to do some more "advanced" studying for this event?
I've already committed the DSOs and their drawings to memory, along with knowledge of H-R diagrams, stellar types and life cycles, as well as some equations.
However, I just feel as if I haven't studied enough!
I tried out the Yale Invitational and the second section with stellar charts just confused me.
Does anyone have any tips for this? How do you read those star charts and associate them to the correct DSO or star?

Also, does anyone have any "fundamental" books to recommend? I feel as if my studying has consisted of just wikipedia-ing every term that I did not know and memorizing it. I have little to no knowledge of a fundamental background to Astronomy C, and that will probably be my downfall on the test.

Finally, I would be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL if you guys had any suggestions for the physics practice problems. To be concise, I SUCK at physics, have not taken calculus BC yet, and my partner literally has a C in his current Math class (he's 1 grade ahead of me). I'm looking for a book or website that sort of gives you a fundamental buildup- I'm willing to devote the time to studying this, (and believe me, I have self-studied some of the easier AP Science courses by myself and done decently well on the AP exams), but I just need advice on how to structure my time. For example, I heard DSOs were the central focus of this year's tests. So I went and compiled a laptop folder full of Wikipedia pages and articles and images and logistics on every DSO as well as memorizing all of their images and some important details. Now what? I JUST DON'T KNOW, and it's making me anxious. Furthermore, I noticed the Yale Invitational (YUSO) Astronomy C had a lot of multiple choice questions that apparently increased in difficulty as they went on. If I recall correctly, there were 60 questions. How do I go about studying for this besides memorizing facts? Any suggestions?

Seasoned, experienced, successful-in-your-years of participating Science Olympians! I beg you to share your study methods, resources and secrets with this newbie! Please impart your secret to glory and knowledge to me!

Oh, and also, how do I study for those random bonus pictures on the front page of some state tests? Do I just go about memorizing every astronomist/scientists of ANY importance pertaining to the field of astronomy?
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Re: Astronomy C

Postby Flavorflav » February 13th, 2014, 2:22 am

My state sometimes goes either overly in depth or overly random about certain things in relation to astronomy. I see you have overviews on the DSOs and math, and I don't know how in depth NC goes, but probably try to go more in depth.
Didn't I hear that there were no DSOs at States last year?

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Re: Astronomy C

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » February 13th, 2014, 8:41 am

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to do some more "advanced" studying for this event?
I've already committed the DSOs and their drawings to memory, along with knowledge of H-R diagrams, stellar types and life cycles, as well as some equations.
However, I just feel as if I haven't studied enough!
The thing with Astronomy is that it's a very, very broad event. There's a TON of material that supervisors can AND WILL draw from, so you have to set yourself up by having the greatest possible base of knowledge. For example, if the star charts you're referring to are the star charts I'm thinking of (like this except without the labels), then I may have seen that once on an Astro test, but in my experience it's not very common. However, because there's a chance, it's something you want to think about having in your binder/laptop. Again, supervisors will put anything and everything on the test.
Also, does anyone have any "fundamental" books to recommend? I feel as if my studying has consisted of just wikipedia-ing every term that I did not know and memorizing it. I have little to no knowledge of a fundamental background to Astronomy C, and that will probably be my downfall on the test.
The most common book that people on Scioly use is Carroll and Ostlie's An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. I never bought it myself, but I think those that have used it find it useful, especially if you're looking for background.
Finally, I would be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL if you guys had any suggestions for the physics practice problems.
These just take practice. On the bright side, you don't really need to know physics to solve math problems in Astronomy, although the problem solving technique is similar. The key is really being able to recognize what relationship(s) to use based on the information they've given you, and that takes practice. There's a good bit of tests on Astronomy Test Exchange 2014, and even if the other information is outdated, the math is always relevant. The PA SE regional and states tests are very good.
For example, I heard DSOs were the central focus of this year's tests. So I went and compiled a laptop folder full of Wikipedia pages and articles and images and logistics on every DSO as well as memorizing all of their images and some important details.
Well, DSO's aren't exactly the central focus. They're a large part to be sure, but in my experience the amount of questions on DSO's and the amount of questions on the conceptual stuff (Variable Stars this year) have been about equal. What I liked to do was research all the DSO's first, and then base my conceptual research off of what was going on in the DSO's. Usually the DSO's are a pretty good gateway to the topic itself, which is really the heart of the event.

Also, I would advise against memorizing the DSO's. You have a binder or a laptop, so if you have a section devoted to DSO's it usually is not difficult to go in and look up all the information there. You will end up knowing certain ones through repetition, but I wouldn't suggest straight memorization for the DSO's, or anything in this event for that matter; you will learn the important things just by practice anyway. (alright, maybe something like OBAFGKM [stellar classes] but not too much)
Oh, and also, how do I study for those random bonus pictures on the front page of some state tests? Do I just go about memorizing every astronomist/scientists of ANY importance pertaining to the field of astronomy?
These are not something event supervisors expect you to know (hence the bonus). However, they will generally be relevant to the topic. So for example, one of them this year might be John Goodricke, who measured the pulsations of Delta Cephei, the prototype Cepheid.

To summarize everything I've just thrown at you, basically Astronomy is one of the most broad events in Science Olympiad, and even the best people will never get everything right on a well-written test (In fact, on well-written tests, there are usually only 3-10 teams that get a passing grade). You can help yourself by giving yourself as much background as possible, and researching the topics in the rules to the fullest extent possible. That gives you a better chance to answer more of the questions on a test, which is more important than knowing everything.
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Re: Astronomy C

Postby syo_astro » February 13th, 2014, 10:41 am

Fully agree with east there, very nice post!
My state sometimes goes either overly in depth or overly random about certain things in relation to astronomy. I see you have overviews on the DSOs and math, and I don't know how in depth NC goes, but probably try to go more in depth.
Didn't I hear that there were no DSOs at States last year?
There weren't NO DSOs iirc. It's just that it was a very general test. I recall definitely a question on the Crab Nebula (one of last year's DSOs) and I think it was just something from one of the first few paragraphs I printed out >.<. The NYS tests (yes, and I mean my regionals too) the past two years (and three now for regionals >.>) I've done it in general have had some questions that really don't relate to the rules. I think after a few years most competitors just deal with it, but in the first year doing the event it can kind of be really unexpected. I find this happens often with NYS tests having an unexpected format of being too easy or else ridiculously difficult because of using stuff that wasn't in the rules or was nats-only (I'm sure I could ask my team for other examples). I can specify what I mean by this by PM if you would like Flavorflav (no, I don't mean to be saying NYS test writers are the worst ever, just to my memory this is what happens). I guess it happens in some places elsewhere, but everyone has their own test-making style, so *shrug*.
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Re: Astronomy C

Postby AlphaTauri » February 14th, 2014, 7:29 pm

Also, does anyone have any "fundamental" books to recommend? I feel as if my studying has consisted of just wikipedia-ing every term that I did not know and memorizing it. I have little to no knowledge of a fundamental background to Astronomy C, and that will probably be my downfall on the test.
The most common book that people on Scioly use is Carroll and Ostlie's An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. I never bought it myself, but I think those that have used it find it useful, especially if you're looking for background.
Carroll and Ostlie is a very good textbook for advanced astro (I <3 C/O), however it is quite expensive -- like all college textbooks -- and not essential for what we do in astro. You can get by completely fine with just the internet; if you're looking for "fundamentals", check out college Intro to Astronomy courses, like this or this (I highly recommend those two, actually).
Finally, I would be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL if you guys had any suggestions for the physics practice problems.
An AP Physics eq sheet can be very helpful here, especially the equations dealing with gravitation and circular motion (since orbits are often assumed to be circular). To be completely honest, you don't always have to know WHY the equations work, though it helps, just when and how to use them.
Well, DSO's aren't exactly the central focus. They're a large part to be sure, but in my experience the amount of questions on DSO's and the amount of questions on the conceptual stuff (Variable Stars this year) have been about equal. What I liked to do was research all the DSO's first, and then base my conceptual research off of what was going on in the DSO's. Usually the DSO's are a pretty good gateway to the topic itself, which is really the heart of the event.
THIS. I cannot stress enough how much more sense the event makes if you know the concepts behind the DSOs.
Oh, and also, how do I study for those random bonus pictures on the front page of some state tests? Do I just go about memorizing every astronomist/scientists of ANY importance pertaining to the field of astronomy?
These are not something event supervisors expect you to know (hence the bonus). However, they will generally be relevant to the topic. So for example, one of them this year might be John Goodricke, who measured the pulsations of Delta Cephei, the prototype Cepheid.
Hahaha, PA SE/States tests... that's a tradition that Cicc (our very awesome astro writer) does with all the tests he writes. I wouldn't expect it to show up on other state tests, but yes, it is always someone who is highly relevant to one of the major topics or ideas.
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Re: Astronomy C

Postby Luo » February 15th, 2014, 12:14 am

Carroll and Ostlie is a very good textbook for advanced astro (I <3 C/O), however it is quite expensive -- like all college textbooks -- and not essential for what we do in astro. You can get by completely fine with just the internet; if you're looking for "fundamentals", check out college Intro to Astronomy courses, like this or this (I highly recommend those two, actually).
If you scour hard enough, you'll be able to find a copy of Carroll and Ostlie on the internet (or at least, it was there last I checked, which come to think of it was in 2010, but it's probably still out there somewhere).
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Re: Astronomy C

Postby AlphaTauri » February 15th, 2014, 7:38 pm

Carroll and Ostlie is a very good textbook for advanced astro (I <3 C/O), however it is quite expensive -- like all college textbooks -- and not essential for what we do in astro. You can get by completely fine with just the internet; if you're looking for "fundamentals", check out college Intro to Astronomy courses, like this or this (I highly recommend those two, actually).
If you scour hard enough, you'll be able to find a copy of Carroll and Ostlie on the internet (or at least, it was there last I checked, which come to think of it was in 2010, but it's probably still out there somewhere).
Ah, I think I remember what you're talking about: the site that hosted free copies of C/O and a whole lot of other textbooks? Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that got taken down a few years back (most likely for giving copyright law a big fat middle finger).

Bit of a shame... It was a godsend for us broke sciolyers in need of university/grad-level knowledge.
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Re: Astronomy C

Postby astro124 » February 16th, 2014, 6:50 pm

Does anyone know why there are so many globular/open cluster DSO's on the list year (when compared to variable stars and SNR)? Is it just a subtle hint that they want us to study them or is there something special that I'm missing, like an abundance of variable stars or group of stellar remnants that each one has?
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