The following are a collection of selected essays and papers written for astronomy courses and other publications. (Only the reasonably good ones — things that were rejected or received poor marks have mysteriously disappeared.)
All these papers are © Copyright Richard McDonald, 2005-2006.
Plagiarism warning: If you’re writing papers on these topics, feel free to read these. I particularly recommend reading the References sections of these and other persons’ works. But don’t copy the work. (1) you will be found out — plagiarism is easy to detect; and (2) you don’t know that what I’ve written here is correct. (Nothing provides better evidence of plagiarism than copying someone else’s mistakes.)
Describes a debate raging in the early 20th century over the true nature of the “spiral nebulae” and the related question of the size of the Universe. Written for an introductory stellar and galactic astronomy course.
An introduction to how Tides work and a survey of their multiple effects throughout the solar system. Written for a Solar System and Planetary Astronomy course.
An introduction to the cause and effects of planetary magnetic fields, and a survey of their attributes on a number of planets and other objects in the solar system. Written for a Solar System and Planetary Astronomy course.
A history of the development of the theory of the nature of Active Galaxies and a unified model based on accretion into a central supermassive black hole that explains the observed behaviour of the many kinds of AGNs. Written for a mid-level galactic astronomy course.
An exploration of the use of statistical techniques to test the hypothesis that all spiral galaxies are perfectly round, and the ellipses we observe are only projection effects from viewing angle. Written for a mid-level galactic astronomy course.