Sixth Years: Lesson Five

Professor Sarah Harrington

Astronomy Professor 1-7 | Mother of Two
 
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Hearing students out the door of the tower classroom Professor Harrington waved her wand for the door to open. “Welcome back! Today is going to be quite exciting, we are going to be studying Nebulae,” she said as the students took to their seats. She had a wonderful room sized demonstration so all the seats formed a large circle around the room. “Now Nebulae are the birthplace for stars, the first visible sign of a dying star and the remnants of a star that has died. Quite literally they are the beginning and the end of star. They are clouds of gas and dust in the vacuum of space. The gas is much thinner than it is here on Earth. The dust particles aren’t the same either, most of dust particles are only about one micron big, for reference one strand of hair is 100 times the size,” Professor Harrington said standing the center of the circle.

Moving back Sarah waved her wand and a magnificent image began to form rather small in the center of the room and the lights in the room began to dim as the 3D image began to get much larger, providing it’s own light. “This is the Orion Nebula, located as the third ‘star’ in the sword of Orion,” Sarah said pausing as the classroom center soon became full of the Nebula. She quickly moved down her list from her lecture notes reading aloud the descriptions and showing the classroom 3D examples.

Diffuse Nebulae: Have no distinct border, often appearing to fade out as you move away from the center. Three types are emission, reflection and dark nebulae.
  • Emission Nebulae: Emit light in the visible spectrum as well as infrared and ultraviolet. Hydrogen gas emits red light, oxygen green/blue light are two main examples of the gas that is normally found in emission nebulae. Example: Orion Nebula
  • Reflection Nebulae: The gas and dust clouds reflect light from nearby stars back towards us. Example: Pleiades star cluster and Messier 78 (M78)
  • Dark Nebulae: The gas and dust clouds are thick enough to block light from passing through the nebulae. Example: Horsehead Nebula and B68
Planetary Nebulae: Having a distinct border these nebulae are the gas that has been pushed out by a dying star. These outer layers of the star glow brightly while leaving behind a white dwarf star, the core of the former star. The gas forms a shell around the star, the was once confused with being similar to planets, hence their name. Example: NGC 2022 / NGC 2022

Supernova remnants: The end of a large star is when it goes supernova, meaning it explodes. This is a special type of diffuse nebulae, as the gas and dust will slowly gather over millions of years and begin to form new stars. Example: the Crab Nebula
"If you’ve been paying attention than you’ve probably already figured out that we've stayed mostly within the Orion Constellation. In fact, Orion contains something that is called a Giant Molecular Cloud Complex, also called the Orion Complex. This contains over 20 various nebulae, stars, gas and dust,” Sarah said the image zooming far out, for the students well versed in their stars picking out the constellation of Orion was easy, but she waved her wand and had lines form connecting the stars. Afterwards she dismissed the class with a small amount of homework.

This Week:
Please make an attendance post with your student!
Homework: Write a short essay on any nebula of your choice for extra point (125 words).
 

Zennon Baros

"responsible"
 
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Despite having a secret hatred of the subject for reasons he knew he should have been dropping it, he still hadn't. Perhaps it was the innate need to finish things he started, or just that he was waiting until next year to see how his marks stacked up, either way, Zennon trudged into Astronomy and dropped into a seat with a sigh, wrapping his blanket around his shoulders. At least he'd remembered to bring it this time, unlike last week where he'd forgotten it. Not that he could really go off and take a nap, despite thinking that was what he was going to do last week, there weren't enough people in the class - the smart ones had dropped it - to get away with something like that. So, Zennon yawned and listened to yet another lecture. He knew this was going to be a class with a lot of lectures and whilst he did appreciate more hands on learning he supposed he couldn't fault this class. Still, it would have been nice to have a little hands on work. He leaned back and grabbed his quill to write notes as the lecture continued, using his knees to prop up his parchment. He used muggle notebooks something, but found the ink tended to run as they were not well designed for quill and ink. He wasn't even sure why they was still a thing when pens existed and worked well within the magical environment, but, oh well. He wasn't going to be a forebearer and break with traditions. As the class came to an end, Zennon yawned and headed out. Only a little bit longer and he was on Christmas break. He really needed to catch up with Jake at some point too. He missed his best friend.​
 

Diana Holland

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For the first time in a while, Diana was excited about the yule ball that was coming up at the end of the semester. She thought that there was a good chance she would have a date, something she hadn't had since Simon. She really hoped Cole would ask her, and was even somewhat tempted to ask him instead, but she had told herself she would let him come to her, so she was less likely to put herself out there and just get humiliated in return. But it was difficult to be patient.

The girl took her seat in the Astronomy classroom, ready for another lesson on her favorite subject. The lessons were often a bit theoretical, but Diana found she didn't mind so much. She thought learning about space and the stars and other planets was usually really interesting, even if the lectures were sometimes a bit hard to follow. The professor told them they would be studying Nebulae, and told them what Nebulae were. Diana took notes on the lesson, writing down that they were clouds of gast and dust in the vacuum of space. There was a large 3D model of the Orion Nebula, and Dian watched it in fascination. Then she too more notes on the lecture, writing down important details. When the lesson was over, she felt like she had actually learned quite a bit, and she was pretty pleased. She noted down the homework before packing her things and leaving the classroom.
 

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