Physics Department Seminar University of Alaska Fairbanks

J O U R N A L    C L U B

Interesting trivia I learned teaching astronomy
Hans Nielsen
GI - Physics Dept., UAF




Over the years teaching astronomy for non-science majors I have been asked many insightful questions dealing with common day phenomena. For this Journal Club I have condensed some of these into the following true/false statements:

  • At Equinox day and night are equally long
  • Moon’s apparent size is the same high and low in the sky
  • Midnight Sun (at sea level) is only seen above the Arctic Circle
  • Summer and winter half of the year equally long
  • Sunset is the earliest at winter solstice
  • Total day-hours over the year is the same everywhere on Earth

The statements are simple and would be understood with little additional explanations by most; however, the correct true/false answers are not all that straight forward. (No, I have not used any of them as exam questions). I will go through the issues involved to reach the correct true/false answers, and I hope that, besides a little new insight into orbital mechanics, the statements might provide topics for conversation, or maybe even a bet, on an otherwise slow night at the Pub. .


Friday, 12 Nov 2010

Globe Room, Elvey Building

3:45 PM