Friday, November 7, 2008

Calculations in Astronomy

For a recent homework assignment in my class on stellar structure and evolution, I was asked to estimate the Prandtl number (the ratio between fluid viscosity and thermal diffusion) in the sun's interior. I came up with an answer of roughly 10^-13. The correct answer to the problem was roughly 10^-8. I still got full credit.

Only in astronomy can one be off by five orders of magnitude and still be close enough to the correct answer to be considered correct.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, that is funny. That was one thing thing I enjoyed when I took the astronomy courses at BYU. Everything was in terms of Log10 since a "good" answer was close in order of magnitude alone.


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