Astronomy 301 Looks at the Planetary Process
The University of Advancing Technology (UAT) general education science department is always continuing to advance its Earth, Environmental, and Astronomical courses available for students to pursue. UAT’s two entry level Astronomy courses help provide student with a foundational understanding of astronomical phenomena. Astronomy-101 The Night Sky is an introduction to the field of astronomy for the non-science major. Topics covered include the scientific method, the stars, telescopes, the night sky and constellations, and the moon system; the course ends with looking at the size and scale of the universe. AST-301 is a more advanced astronomy course, looking at the formation of the solar system and the planetary geology of the worlds among us.
As part of studying solar accretion theory and planetary formation processes, the students of AST-301 took part in evaluating crater impacts and the role they play in the planetary process. Students conducted a hands-on lab where they analyzed the Kinetic Energy (KE) of meteorite impacts on the surfaces of planets. In the lab, the students calculated out the velocities of simulated impacting meteorites, the various sizes of craters from those impacts, along with the sizes of the ejecta rays (or ejecta blanks) that results from the collisions.
Once a foundational knowledge of impacting meteorites had been established, the UAT students received the distinct privilege of attending one of the most preserved meteorite impact craters on planet Earth — Meteor Crater (also known as Barringer Crater). At Meteor Crater, located about 30 miles East of Flagstaff, Arizona, the students made use of their knowledge of geology and impact collisions to appraise the site, all the while continuing to discover new and interesting facts pertaining to impact craters.