Optimal thought and optimal fitness through reason, logic, science, passion, and wisdom.
Inquiring-mind Science: How Far Is the Sun? How Far Are the Planets?

# Inquiring-mind Science: How Far Is the Sun? How Far Are the Planets?

In this class we will learn how to reason out and calculate how far the sun is from the earth and how far planets are from the sun.

Enroll on Outschool, or contact me to set up a course for you, a small group, or your school.

Modern astronomy and knowledge of the solar system depend on knowing how the planets are spread around the solar system and on knowing that they all go around the same place: the sun. Without this knowledge, we are missing understanding of physics and the solar system. To understand an idea, we need to know where it comes from. Memorization of someone else’s words is not knowledge.

In this class, we will learn how scientists did it and we will do some of their calculations ourselves, and so learn a bit about how to do science ourselves. We will do a combination of lecture, Q&A, and independent work.

Enroll on Outschool, or contact me to set up a course for you, a small group, or your school.

Students need some knowledge of geometry: right triangles, basic trig (sine, cosine, tangent in a triangle), circles, tangents to circles. But we will review these concepts in class.

This is a class for everyone — science is all around us! — but especially for those who want to go into science or engineering careers, or study science in school.

Day 1: Review some geometry, and review ratios. Discuss how Aristarchus calculated the distance of the sun from the earth. Do the calculation. Discuss how Copernicus calculated the distance of the “inner planets” to the sun, and doing some of the calculations.

Day 2: Continue discussing how Copernicus calculated the distance of the “inner planets” to the sun, and doing some of the calculations. Discuss how Copernicus calculated the distance of the “outer planets” to the sun, and doing some of the calculations.

Day 3: Continue discussing how Copernicus calculated the distance of the “outer planets” to the sun, and doing some of the calculations. Tabulate the results.

Time permitting, we might discuss the length of a year of the planets, tabulate them all, calculate the velocity of the planets, and introduce ourselves to some of the work of Kepler and Kepler’s Laws.

Enroll on Outschool, or contact me to set up a course for you, a small group, or your school.