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The Scientific Method

The Scientific Method is a systematic approach to solving a problem or answering a question. One starts with a question, then constructs a hypothesis - a question you can test - that you believe may be the possible reason for your question. Next you must test your hypothesis. This can be done by doing research, conducting experiments, etc. After all of the research and experiments, you must analyze the data and draw conclusions. Finally, you much decide if your results align with your hypothesis or not. If not, that simply means that your hypothesis is not a possible answer and you need to try something else. If so, they you need to communicate your results to your peers, typically in a peer-reviewed venue such as a publication, a talk, or a poster session.


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Theory: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena

Law: a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspect of the world.


The Scientific Method in Action:

Example: Scientist was looking at a nearby star & noticed the star dimming every so often. What could cause a star to dim?

HYPOTHESIS: Dimming of star is due to the transect of a planet across the star. Planets (and other objects) orbit a star in a regular, predictable orbit. Example: Our planet orbits the Sun every 365.256 days.

TEST: Track how often the star dims, then predict when future dimming will occur. But how could an astronomer tell if the star is dimming?


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A transit is the astronomical event that occurs when one celestial body appears to move across the face of another celestial body, hiding a small part of it, as seen by an observer at some particular vantage point (source). When this happens. the body moving across an object like a star will block some of the star's light, making it appear more dim. How much will depend of the size of both objects.


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copyright Sonjia Leyva 2015
 

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