Night Sky Observations

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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

 

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

 

·         Observations With Sky Chart or Wheel

o    Obtaina 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

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

 

·         Alternative Assignment

 

o    Visit a planetarium or observatory in your area. 

o    Write a 1,050- to 1,400word report describing your experience:

 

·         The name of the facility and its association

·         The type of equipment

·         Showings (celestial objects observed)

·         Other things learned about astronomy  

·         You can also include 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

  1. Try to observe at least three lunar features such as named craters, lunar maria, phase, and mountainous areas (see Section 7.2 of the text). 
  2. 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): 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 text. Note the position of the two constellations at two separate times and draw a chart as shown in Figure 2.11.

4.     Identify at least four other constellations. 

  1. Note if they are in the Zodiac.
  2. 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 two 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.

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

 

Assignment Instructions

 

Create a chart or table for your observations each week. You can use the one below or create your own (the contents in left column came from the information above).

 

Write a 300- to 500-word summary of your findings.

 

Submit the table and summary to your facilitator.

 

Observed item

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

The Moon and its phases

 

 

 

 

 

North Star

 

 

 

 

 

Position of two constellations

 

 

 

 

 

Identify at least four other constellations.

 

 

 

 

 

Milky Way

 

 

 

 

 

Planet movement

 

 

 

 

 

Celestial objects or phenomena

 

 

 

 

 

Meteorological conditions

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of findings (300–500 words):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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