Night sky Paper

For this assignment, you will choose from the following options:

  • Option 1: Observations With Sky Chart or Wheel
  • Option 2: Observations With Computer Program
  • Option 3: Alternative Assignment

Read the instructions in Night Sky Observations and select 1 option to complete the assignment.

Night Sky Observations

Background

Astronomy involves the making and recording of observations of objects and phenomena visible in the night sky. As a course-long project, you are asked to perform night viewing of celestial objects at least once a week for the duration of the workshop and to maintain a log of your observations. Observations may be done individually or with others in the class, but the logs must be prepared by each individual student. 

To complete this assignment, choose 1 of the following methods:

•Observations With Sky Chart or Wheel

oObtain a star chart or star wheel. There are websites where you can download charts representing the night sky on a particular date. Additionally, star charts are available for purchase at many book stores. A star chart will help you locate various constellations. Information regarding the position and best times for viewing planets is also available on the Internet.

•Observations With Computer Program

oDownload and use Stellarium from the Internet to complete your observations. It can be download by clicking here.

•Alternative Assignment

oVisit a planetarium or observatory in your area.  

oWrite a 700- to 1,050-word report describing your experience:

•The name of the facility and its association.

•The type of equipment. Describe the 

the types of telescopes used and discuss their principles of operaration. 

•List celestial objects observed during your visit. Research their location and distance from Earth.

•Other things learned about astronomy

•You can also include the description of any planetarium show or videos you watched during your visit.

Observation Instructions

If you have a pair of binoculars or a camera that can be used at night, feel free to use them to enhance or record your experience.  

At a minimum, you should try to note the following:

1.The Moon and its phase

a.Try to observe at least 3 lunar features such as named craters, lunar maria, phase, and mountainous areas (see Section 7.2 of the text).  

b.Determine the time of moonrise and, if possible, the distance between Earth and the Moon on the particular date of viewing.

2.The North Star (Polaris): along with the associated constellations of Ursa Minor and Ursa Major (also known as the Little Dipper and the Big Dipper).

3.See Figure 2.11(a) in the text. Note the position of the 2 constellations at 2 separate times and draw a chart as shown in Figure 2.11. 

4.Identify at least 4 other constellations.  

a.Note if they are in the Zodiac.

b.Note the time, position (direction), and approximate elevation above the horizon. 

5.Determine whether the Milky Way is visible and, if so, its orientation (see Ch. 2).

6.Identify and observe at least 2 planets and describe their movement over your weeks of observation.  

7.Note any other observed celestial objects or phenomena, such as meteor showers, comets, and satellites. Perform an online search for the calendar of such phenomena and discuss whether your observations are in agreement with expected schedule. 

8.Record meteorological conditions, such as cloud cover, lightning, and light pollution.

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