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Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 23rd, 2020, 12:40 pm
by BennyTheJett
Freshman shouldn't be expected to know all the astrophysics. I would suggest learning about the DSOs. Take notes, and have what they look like memorized (harder than you might think, given the expanse of images on the internet about each DSO). I would also look up some general astronomy stuff, such as stellar and galactic evolution. Lastly, look into know how to do the JS9 stuff.

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 23rd, 2020, 1:18 pm
by PM2017
BennyTheJett wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:40 pm
Freshman shouldn't be expected to know all the astrophysics. I would suggest learning about the DSOs. Take notes, and have what they look like memorized (harder than you might think, given the expanse of images on the internet about each DSO). I would also look up some general astronomy stuff, such as stellar and galactic evolution. Lastly, look into know how to do the JS9 stuff.
For me, it was never an "expectation." It was always because I wanted to learn it. especially as a freshman, I wouldn't tackle this with an entirely win-motivated mindset. Instead, I would just really try to learn everything I could about the theory of astronomy and astrophysics (as much as you get rn, if you don't get something, come back to it in a few weeks or months -- sometimes even years, but at that point it's probably not going to be on a test.)

I would not start on DSOs at all unless you understand the basic theory behind astronomy. Yes you can score points for ID, or by ctrl+f through a note sheet, but how much do you actually learn that way? I'd argue you would learn less than if you decided to understand the concepts first.

IDK that's just my two cents on the issue. But I think my case is also different since I've been enamored with astronomy since I was in early elementary school, and I'd learned most of the basic theory by the time I got to high school, so it was easier for me to jump right into the good stuff.

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 23rd, 2020, 1:23 pm
by JavaScriptCoder
astronomybuff wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:37 pm
Hey,
So I am currently an 8th grader, but I will definitely be participating in Astronomy next year. NSO said they're replaying the season, so any tips on where to start for astronomy, because I want to get ahead of everybody else. The rules look really daunting!
Legit, you will get p far from just gathering data from Wikipedia articles about DSOs and the principles of astronomy, but make sure you know basic principles as well on your own. Honestly, bring two computers, a good study notes doc should be at least 200 pages, and from there it was more or less intuitive for me.
PM2017 wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 1:18 pm
BennyTheJett wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:40 pm
Freshman shouldn't be expected to know all the astrophysics. I would suggest learning about the DSOs. Take notes, and have what they look like memorized (harder than you might think, given the expanse of images on the internet about each DSO). I would also look up some general astronomy stuff, such as stellar and galactic evolution. Lastly, look into know how to do the JS9 stuff.
For me, it was never an "expectation." It was always because I wanted to learn it. especially as a freshman, I wouldn't tackle this with an entirely win-motivated mindset. Instead, I would just really try to learn everything I could about the theory of astronomy and astrophysics (as much as you get rn, if you don't get something, come back to it in a few weeks or months -- sometimes even years, but at that point it's probably not going to be on a test.)

I would not start on DSOs at all unless you understand the basic theory behind astronomy. Yes you can score points for ID, or by ctrl+f through a note sheet, but how much do you actually learn that way? I'd argue you would learn less than if you decided to understand the concepts first.

IDK that's just my two cents on the issue. But I think my case is also different since I've been enamored with astronomy since I was in early elementary school, and I'd learned most of the basic theory by the time I got to high school, so it was easier for me to jump right into the good stuff.
Highly agree. You should be doing astronomy because you want to explore this science, not because you want recognition or medals, etc. If you want to do well in astronomy, it's relatively easier than some other events because of the large amount of notes you get to bring and how far common-sense intuition will get you. But unless you love the science, I would recommend doing some other event. Sorry if this was long or rambling, just my thoughts.

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 24th, 2020, 7:47 am
by astronomybuff
Thanks to all of you,
I am taking astronomy because I love it. I'm not one of those people who just do science olympiad for college applications. I plan to major in astronomy in fact. I took Reach for the Stars in Division B, and did really well in it because I was good at memorizing the information about the DSOs, so I'm not worried about that in Astronomy. The math just looks really hard. Also, I struggle with spectra and light curves and how to interpret them. Any good websites or tips for that?

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 24th, 2020, 10:10 am
by syo_astro
astronomybuff wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 7:47 am
Thanks to all of you,
I am taking astronomy because I love it. I'm not one of those people who just do science olympiad for college applications. I plan to major in astronomy in fact. I took Reach for the Stars in Division B, and did really well in it because I was good at memorizing the information about the DSOs, so I'm not worried about that in Astronomy. The math just looks really hard. Also, I struggle with spectra and light curves and how to interpret them. Any good websites or tips for that?
I think I have slightly (not completely of course) diff views from PM2017, etc...I don't know why you wouldn't start with DSOs? Not disagreeing about fundamentals, but I started in 10th grade with a very different perspective. Now am a grad student for context (somehow...). I actually kind of approached the event from all fronts. I agree tgat one thing about astro vs. reach is that astro doesn't only also asks about the actual processes and concepts behind DSOs. That said, a lot of the chandra, hubble, apod, etc write-ups actually include that material! One thing I did even when starting out was to take notes, highlight, etc those articles and then look up the concepts or terms I didn't actually understand after reading. That way I had a "guide" for what to search for every reading. Another way is that I took the rules points from 3a and combined that in search terms with a DSO (like [insert DSO] + [insert wavelength image]-> "GOODS-S 29323 optical image"). That's a way of learning some of the 3a rules points while also having examples in mind (like an example of "spiral galaxy" vs. "elliptical galaxy"...ultimately helping with both DSO and non-DSO questions). I find many say they know the DSOs but still struggle at my questions (not even always the hardest ones...)!

For math, I started an equation sheet from websites (like https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Physics ... /Astronomy ... there is one on the scioly astro wiki page: https://scioly.org/wiki/images/c/c6/Formula_Sheet.pdf but the formaulas are WRONG...you would have to retype and fix it ... you should cross-check all formulas on at least a couple websites). I would then take my equation sheet and try a test to see if I could use it / recognize equations. One thing I'd say is that some people on here or my partners were more advanced in math...don't let that intimidate you! I definitely had difficulty with some of the math like solving Kepler's Laws problems and the logs in the distance modulus, but you can usually find examples of that online, such that even the older people I knew did less math than me post-practicing:).

Are there examples where the math seems too hard that you have? One other option is we on the forums can give tips!

For light curves, I've primarily used AAVSO, which has a light curve generator and variable star catalogs. Admittedly I think they mostly have visible light curves...you can take them at other wavelengths, but I think some of them are available on chandra or apod maybe? You'll have to do some digging. For interpretation, usually AAVSO has good writeups for different types of variable stars too, but do tell if you've already tried that and maybe can find something else.

Spectra on the other hand...are legitimately hard. Ever since I started it was hard, and even now I question how much is doable for teams. At the bare minimum, on the soinc page (https://www.soinc.org/astronomy-c) we post webinar that review the basics (emphasis: basics...not easy, but essential!) of the event. In that ppt, I recall usually they mention barebones that you have to understand the main types of spectra and identifying them (blackbody vs. absorption vs. emission) as well as properties of blackbodies (their peak or using wien's displacement law, their flux or using the stefan-boltzmann law, etc). It's definitely going to take time...

I think my biggest lesson here is that while competing, I never got to understand *everything*, certainly not quickly, but that's okay. Astronomy was always an event more about how organized you were, in my opinion.

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 24th, 2020, 10:14 am
by JavaScriptCoder
Hmm, I'm not sure, for me the mathematics within a lot of astronomy was intuitive, but that was probably due to my mathematical-physics-chemistry background (I mean, logs don't seem that bad when you're dealing with integrals and third derivatives). Honestly, IDK for anyone, it should come with some practice, familiarize yourself with the formulae, understand intuitively why they work, etc. Reading light curves is usually just looking at the graph and doing things with that, spectra I agree are slightly harder, but also with practice you should improve.

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 24th, 2020, 10:23 am
by syo_astro
JavaScriptCoder wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 10:14 am
Hmm, I'm not sure, for me the mathematics within a lot of astronomy was intuitive, but that was probably due to my mathematical-physics-chemistry background (I mean, logs don't seem that bad when you're dealing with integrals and third derivatives). ...
Eh, 10th grade me struggled with trig and such, and yup definitely not comparing the math with calc. My point was mostly that it's *doable* to start trying. Fully agree it won't all be intuitive, but there's only so much that can be done with that without knowing what you've been practicing / struggling with (and you'd need to have started practicing problems / maybe formed a formula sheet to even be able to identify some of that...).

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 24th, 2020, 11:22 am
by JavaScriptCoder
syo_astro wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 10:23 am
JavaScriptCoder wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 10:14 am
Hmm, I'm not sure, for me the mathematics within a lot of astronomy was intuitive, but that was probably due to my mathematical-physics-chemistry background (I mean, logs don't seem that bad when you're dealing with integrals and third derivatives). ...
Eh, 10th grade me struggled with trig and such, and yup definitely not comparing the math with calc. My point was mostly that it's *doable* to start trying. Fully agree it won't all be intuitive, but there's only so much that can be done with that without knowing what you've been practicing / struggling with (and you'd need to have started practicing problems / maybe formed a formula sheet to even be able to identify some of that...).
yeah you start at different places, the most important takeaway is to practice, have passion, and never give up and all the achievement will follow.

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: March 24th, 2020, 5:25 pm
by MoMoney$$$;)0)
JavaScriptCoder wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 11:22 am
syo_astro wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 10:23 am
JavaScriptCoder wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 10:14 am
Hmm, I'm not sure, for me the mathematics within a lot of astronomy was intuitive, but that was probably due to my mathematical-physics-chemistry background (I mean, logs don't seem that bad when you're dealing with integrals and third derivatives). ...
Eh, 10th grade me struggled with trig and such, and yup definitely not comparing the math with calc. My point was mostly that it's *doable* to start trying. Fully agree it won't all be intuitive, but there's only so much that can be done with that without knowing what you've been practicing / struggling with (and you'd need to have started practicing problems / maybe formed a formula sheet to even be able to identify some of that...).
yeah you start at different places, the most important takeaway is to practice, have passion, and never give up and all the achievement will follow.

"It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer."– Albert Einstein

You must always live with this attitude in mind, and it'll push you forward eternally.

Re: Astronomy C

Posted: May 15th, 2020, 1:50 pm
by tad_k_22
Hi everyone,

I know this competition year didn't turn out as anticipated, and I'm sorry for the lost season, especially for those of you who are seniors. I also hope your families, friends, and teachers are staying safe.

As a reward for those who studied hard on Astronomy this year, we (the national event team) have released what would have been the national exam, freely available online at https://www.soinc.org/astronomy-c. We'll post the answer key in two weeks, so you can see how your team would have done, and better prepare for next year.

Best,
Tad, Donna, & the Astronomy A-Team