SS6.2

Catholic Faith Permeation for this outcome:
  • Many have suggested that the exact positioning of the earth from the sun - far enough that water doesn't boil away, but close enough to have liquid water - as well as the presence and movement of the moon - creating tides - and a host of other factors are all signs of the hand of God in Creation, for if any of these were not exactly right, earth could not sustain life. For an excellent classroom activity and booklet - free download -- on astrobiology and life on earth, see http://nai.arc.nasa.gov/library/downloads/Astrobiology-Educator-Guide-2007.pdf
  • The movement of the earth and other planets in space provides the basis for our measurement of secular time as well as the Liturgical Year. For example, Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. (See Appendix C - the Liturgical Year) Have students make a list of the dates for Easter over a 10-year period and compare it to the full moons before Easter for the same time period.
    • The date of Christ's birth is often based on calculations of a lunar eclipse (4 BC) See for example http://www.ewtn.com/library/scriptur/chrdat.txt Note that Christmas, unlike Easter, does not always fall on a Sunday, but rather on December 25th, as January 1st is always the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. The day for Christmas does affect the date for the Feast of Holy Family (Sunday after Christmas, but omitted if Christmas is on a Sunday), Epiphany (12th day of Christmas or January 6th, but moved to the first Sunday after January 2nd in Canada) and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Sunday after Epiphany unless January 6th is on a Sunday in which case it is omitted).
    • A comet is often associated with the Star of Bethlehem (5 BC): ―Astronomical and historical evidence suggests that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet which was visible in 5 BC, and described in ancient Chinese records. A comet uniquely fits the description in Matthew of a star which newly appeared, travelled slowly through the sky against the star background and stood over Bethlehem. It is proposed that a remarkable sequence of three astronomical events stimulated the journey of Magi: the triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in 7 BC; the massing of the three planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in 6 BC; and finally the appearance in 5 BC of the star of Bethlehem, a comet initially in Capricornus.‖ Humphreys, C. J. , University of Cambridge, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1991, vol. 32, no4, pp. 389-407
    • Astrology and divination, (any form of knowledge with the intent to control others based on the stars and planets) is not science, and is also contrary to the Church's teaching. Poor science and the search for thrills can lead to hoaxes like the 2012 doomsday predictions. For an excellent article on the 2012 doomsday hoax by an astrobiologist, see: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/ask-an-astrobiologist/intro/nibiru-and-doomsday-2012-questions-and-answers
See Appendix A: Catechism of the Catholic Church #2116 :
All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church #445
This (first)commandment forbids: ... Superstition which is a departure from the worship due to the true God and which also expresses itself in various forms of divination, magic, sorcery and spiritism.
Faith Permeation Resources:
For a good article on the calculation of time in the Church and in society, see the Catholic Encyclopaedia article:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03168a.htm

For complete unit, click here.

Indicator:
a. Examine how people of different cultures, including First Nations, have recorded (e.g., medicine wheel, Mayan calendar, Stonehenge, pyramids) and used understandings of astronomical phenomena (e.g., positions of the stars and/or planets) to solve practical problems such as the appropriate time to plant and harvest crops, to support navigation on land and water, or to foretell significant events through stories and legends.
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b. Examine ways in which humans have represented understanding of or interest in astronomical phenomena through music, dance, drama, visual art, or stories.
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c. Demonstrate the importance of selecting appropriate processes for investigating scientific questions and solving technological problems by explaining why astronomy is considered a part of science but astrology is not.
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d. Propose personal explanations for the causes of seasons, phases, and eclipses.
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e. Demonstrate how Earth's rotation causes the day and night cycle and how Earth's 23.5° tilt and revolution around the sun causes the yearly cycle of seasons.

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f. Propose explanations for how the yearly cycle of seasons might differ if Earth's axis were not tilted.
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g. Consider alternate models of seasons and explanations for those models (e.g., the six-season model of the Woodland Cree, the rainy and dry seasons of some tropical and subtropical regions).
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h. Model the relative positions of the sun, Earth, and moon to demonstrate moon phases and lunar and solar eclipses.
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i. Propose questions related to astronomical phenomena to investigate using models and simulations, such as "Do other planets exhibit phases?", "How would seasons on Earth differ if Earth were not tilted?", "How would patterns of eclipses change if the sun, Earth, or moon were different diameters or positioned at different locations?".
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