In the night sky : Orion

I am currently working through another short OpenLearn course. This time I am exploring the constellation of Orion.

Having previously studied other Space science courses, some of the concepts are easier to understand, such as the lifecycle of stars.

Despite understanding the maths behind huge numbers. Distances such as 1 light year are massive : (ly) $$9.5 \times 10^{12} km. $$

The subsequent distance to the Orion Nebula which is 1600 light years. Therefore $$1600 \times 9.5 \times 10^{12} km $$.

I think, that this should be expressed as $$1.6 \times 9.5 \times 10^{15} km $$

Understandably it is difficult to imagine the sort of distances involved.

If you intend to study this course. I would recommend other courses first. Courses such as 'The Sun' may be a good starting point.

I am about ½ way through the second week of the course. Currently looking at the life cycle of a star beyond the main sequence phase, so this includes Red Giants, Brown / White dwarf, Supernova and black holes, or at least how and under what conditions these are formed.

You do need an astronomy package, to help with the course. This comes in more useful, if you don't have clear skies to observe Orion. I have discussed how to use the kstars package to find Orion in post yesterday (30/12/2019).

What I can take from this course, is some inspiration to write some posts about other constellations of the night sky.

References :

It may be beneficial to have a look at these courses before embarking on this longer course:

The Galaxies stars and planets course has a section on the scale of the universe, which is helpful to help you understand very large numbers.

#astronony, #study, #openuniversity, #openlearn, #free, #shortcourse, #orion

You can find me on Friendica at

cc-by logo

Licenced under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)