This paper, submitted to Astronomy Education Review, describes a series of activities in which students investigate and use the models of planetary motion introduced by the Hellenistic astronomer Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd Century, by the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus in the mid-16th Century, and by the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe in the late16th Century. The activities involve the use of open source software to help students discover important observational facts, learn the necessary vocabulary, understand the fundamental properties of different theoretical models, and relate the theoretical models to observational data. Once they understand the observations and models, students complete a series of projects in which they observe a fictitious solar system with four planets orbiting in circles around a central star and construct both Ptolemaic and Copernican models for that system.
Activities on Using Stellarium to Observe Solar and Planetary Motions
This zip archive contains two activity handouts that guide students through using open source planetarium software (Stellarium, available at… more... download 211kb .zip
Published: January 4, 2013
Modeling the History of Astronomy Poster
A poster describing the same material, presented at the Winter Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers, January 2013, New Orleans, LA. download 370kb .pdf
Published: January 11, 2013
Timberlake, T. (2013). Modeling the History of Astronomy: Ptolemy, Copernicus and Tycho. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12579&DocID=3173
%A Todd Timberlake %T Modeling the History of Astronomy: Ptolemy, Copernicus and Tycho %D January 10, 2013 %U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12579&DocID=3173 %O application/pdf
%0 Report %A Timberlake, Todd %D January 10, 2013 %T Modeling the History of Astronomy: Ptolemy, Copernicus and Tycho %8 January 10, 2013 %U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12579&DocID=3173
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