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Lab Research Report 1: Procedures in the Physical Sciences

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Lab Research Report 1: Procedures in the Physical Sciences
Rhoda H. Jefferson
Professor Cassie Prisco
Introduction to Physical Science
November 2, 2013

The specific challenges to making direct measurements in the fields of astronomy, chemistry, physics, or earth science are measuring global warming and climate changes, measuring how the earth rotates on its axis, and measuring the distance from the earth to the stars. Scientist have had these issues for a number of years but overcome using indirect forms to measure these challenges. For global warming, scientist used a 350-year record of precipitation in California determined by using 52 tree ring chronologies as proxies for precipitation. (www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/11/12/pdf/i1052-5173-11-12-41.pdf) This method was used to determine average annual precipitation, which showed extended dry periods. These methods were not 100% because there were no baselines to compare. In this day and time to obtain a temperature that represents a large area, it requires measurements of multiple locations. Measurements are taken by thermometers, and averaged together, this can aide in determining regional trends. (http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/taking-the-earths-temperature) Another challenge that scientist come up against is measuring how the earth rotates on its axis. When the earth rotates on its axis, it fluctuates in relation to space. This is caused by the gravity from the sun and the moon. The Earth’s rotation on its axis constantly changes due to the earth’s surface. All these elements combined in effect known as the Chandler wobble to create polar motion. Capturing these movements are crucial to create a reliable system that are used in navigation. Locating a point to the exact measurement was an extremely difficult process because the earth is constantly moving 350 meters to the east per second. Before the mid-1990s , scientist used 30 radio telescopes around the globe. Every Monday and Tuesday eight of the twelve telescopes alternately measure the direction between Earth and specific quasars. At the end of the 1990s, scientists came together and created a simpler method. They created a ring laser, similar to ones used in aircraft guidance systems, just more exact. In would also eliminate any systematic errors. This method is still not perfect but scientist but scientist hope that in the future that the ring laser would be in continuous operation so that the earth’s rotation can be monitored in a matter of minutes.

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/taking-the-earths-temperature
http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112445592/first-ever-direct-measurement-of-the-earths-rotation/

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