Cycles of the Sky

Dr. Mitrović's Lecture Clips (audio + video, mp4) and (audio only, mp3)
  • Angles and the Babylonian Origins of Degree Measure, (2:55): mp4, mp3
  • Apparent Daily Motion of Sun and Stars is due to Earth's Rotation, (5:55): mp4, mp3
  • Using Monthly Sky Charts, (8:36): mp4, mp3
  • Geographical Latitude, (3:15): mp4, mp3
  • Estimating Angles in the Sky with your Hand and Arm, (6:45): mp4, mp3
  • Specifying Angular Positions in the Sky, (2:06): mp4, mp3
  • The celestial sphere; introduction to daily and annual motions; from prepared slide, (7:48) mp4, mp3, and hand-drawn, (5:54) mp4, mp3
  • Circumpolar stars and their daily apparent motions; Part 1, (2:48) mp4, mp3 and Part 2, (4:47) mp4, mp3
  • Daily apparent motions of stars as seen from a pole, (2:24) mp4, mp3; the equator, (3:37) mp4, mp3; and other locations, (4:27) mp4, mp3
  • Annual apparent motion of stars and constellations, (5:04): mp4, mp3
  • Annual apparent motions of stars and Sun: Part 1, (3:11) mp4, mp3; and Part 2, (3:09) mp4, mp3
  • The Reason for Seasons, (5:51): mp4, mp3
  • Earth's Tilt and the Seasons, (3:09): mp4, mp3
  • A detailed look at the Earth in its orbit, (5:41) mp4, mp3; at vernal equinox, (2:47) mp4, mp3; from vernal equinox to summer solstice, (3:28) mp4, mp3; at summer solstice, (7:44) mp4, mp3; from summer solstice to autumnal equinox, (0:58) mp4, mp3; from autumnal equinox to winter solstice, (7:44) mp4, mp3; at winter solstice, (3:04) mp4, mp3
  • Precession of Earth's Rotation Axis, (7:06): mp4, mp3
  • The Moon's Orbit Around Earth, (1:52): mp4, mp3
  • The Moon's Phases and their Cause, (15:05): mp4, mp3
  • Review Questions on Phases of the Moon, (13:21): mp4, mp3
  • The Line of Nodes; When Eclipses can Occur, (9:30): mp4, mp3
  • Precession of the Moon's Orbit, (2:27): mp4, mp3
  • Shadows in Solar Eclipses; Classification of Eclipses, Part 1 (8:37): mp4, mp3 and Part 2, (2:30): mp4, mp3
  • How Regions of Eclipse Totality Track Across Earth's Surface, (5:37): mp4, mp3
  • Geometry of a Lunar Eclipse, (5:21): mp4, mp3
Dr. Mitrović's Lecture Notes (pdf)
Dr. D'Agostino's Summary Notes (pdf)
Additional Sources of Information
  • The "motions" of the sky
    • the celestial sphere and an introduction to daily motions:
    • daily motions of circumpolar stars: spectacular time-lapse photo (BBC)
    • daily apparent motions of Sun and stars:
    • annual apparent motions of Sun and stars (about 1 degree per day, which is about 4 minutes of time per day)
  • The Moon's phases
    • details of Moon's orbit around Earth and Earth's orbit around Sun
    • the Moon's phases and their cause
    • music: Clair de Lune, composed by Claude Debussy, performed by Angela Hewitt (5:27); Moonlight Sonata, composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by Claudio Arrau (17:27); Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd (42:57)
  • Lunar and solar eclipses NASA Eclipse Web Site
    • the "line of nodes"; when eclipses can occur
    • precession of the moon's orbit shifts dates of eclipses by about 20 days per year
    • shadows in eclipses; classification of eclipses
    • how regions of totality and partiality track across the Earth's surface
    • geometry of a lunar eclipse
    • eclipses in history and legend
  • BONUS MATERIAL: Did humans really walk on the moon? Yes.