LAB MANUAL FOR ASTRONOMY 102 PCC EAST, FALL 2014

Transcription

LAB MANUAL FOR ASTRONOMY 102 PCC EAST, FALL 2014
LAB MANUAL FOR ASTRONOMY 102
PCC EAST, FALL 2014
Welcome!
2
Assignments
2
Developing your observing skills
4
Materials
6
Observatory Procedures
6
Assessment
7
Lab Instructions
9
NE1: Nightly Motion of Sky
9
NE2: The Moon
10
NE3: Star Counts
12
NE4: Sunset Location
15
NE5: ISS Transit
17
T1: Visual Observing (Sep 15 - Oct 26)
19
T2: Solar Observing (Oct 16-Oct 29)
19
T3: Astrophotography (Nov 12-Nov 25)
19
E1:Total Lunar Eclipse Oct 8th ~3am
19
E2: Partial Solar Eclipse Oct 23rd 2pm
19
E3: Geminid Shower Dec 13th
19
D1: Jupiter’s Moons
19
D2: Solar Rotation
19
D3: Hubble’s Law
19
SP1: Lunar Eclipse Lecture Oct 7th
19
SP2: Solar Eclipse Lecture Oct 23rd
19
SP3: Exoplanets Lecture date TBD
19
SP4: Galaxy Collisions Lecture date TBD
19
Appendix A - Substitute Assignments
20
Appendix B - Grading Rubric
22
Appendix C - Useful Links
22
Appendix D - SkyCharts
23
Appendix E - Calendars
29
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1. Welcome!
Welcome to Astronomy Lab. We’re excited you’re here! This course is designed to get you out at
night, looking at the sky, and perhaps noticing things you hadn’t paid much attention to before.
You will be developing your observational skills - learning how to look at something and pay
attention, noticing details and subtle changes, and keeping faithful records of the things you
observe. Observation is at the heart of all the sciences - if your scientific theory doesn’t match
what you observe, that’s a big problem!
You will be using these observations to make some real estimates about how our planet moves,
how fast satellites orbit, as well as the sizes of exploding stars, and the shape of our very own
Milky Way.
The course consists of 12 assignments, which averages to less than one assignment per week. It is a
1 credit lab course, which for a traditional course means you would be spending 3hours/week in
lab + 2 hours of homework, so count on spending about 5 hours/week on average. You may find
that you need more time for some assignments, and less for others, but the main thing is to start
every assignment as early as possible, so that when life (or clouds) interfere, you have time to
reschedule.
2. Assignments
You will be performing 12 separate assignments for this course:
5 NAKED EYE OBSERVATIONS:
NE1: nightly motion of the sky (10pts)
NE2: moon (30pts)
** NE3: star counts - VERY DARK SKY, NO MOON (10pts)
NE4: sunset location (40pts)
NE5: ISS transit (specific dates after sunset, anywhere)
(10pts)
Total: 100 pts
3 TELESCOPE PROJECTS @ the PCC OBSERVATORY:
T1: visual observing w/ telescope, twinkling plus color (35 pts)
T2: solar observing (30 pts)
T3: astrophotography (35 pts)
Total: 100 pts
2 ASTRONOMICAL EVENT VIEWINGS:
** E1: total lunar eclipse (Oct 8th ~3am, anywhere)
** E2: partial solar eclipse Oct 23rd (thursday, 2pm, anywhere)
** E3: Geminid meteor shower Dec 13th (dark site after midnight)
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Total: 40 pts (pick 2 out of 3, 20 pts each)
1 DATA ANALYSIS PROJECT:
D1: Jupiter’s moons (online or handout)
D2: Solar rotation (online)
D3: Hubble’s Law (online)
Total: 30 pts (pick 1 out of 3, 30pts each)
1 COMMUNITY LECTURE and STAR PARTY:
** Attend one of the astronomy public lectures on campus this fall. Bring
your family and friends and share the knowledge you’ve gained with your
community!
Total 40pts (pick 1 out of 4 events, dates TBD)
NE1-5: The first five assignments are naked eye observations, i.e. observations you can make
without the aid of a telescope or binoculars. These you will make on your own from home. The
point of these assignments is to get you out and looking at the night sky, and starting to become
more familiar with its motions. These assignments are closely tied into the material you’ll be
covering in the lecture, and for that reason, it’s important that you do them at the right time. To
encourage you to do this, your instructor will be doing journal checks regularly to help you keep
on track. See section 3 for more details.
T1-3: We will then do 3 telescope observations at the observatory on campus, which will give you
the chance to use a telescope and see much farther and fainter objects. You will sign up for a
particular timeslot a few weeks in advance, and on that day, you’ll come to the observatory to do
your assignment with the help of your instructor or the observatory support staff.
E1-3: There will be 3 big astronomical events this semester: a total lunar eclipse, a partial solar
eclipse, and a meteor shower. You must observe at least 2 of them for this course.
D1-3: Later on in the semester, you’ll be doing a data analysis project, which will involve looking
at astronomical data and studying it to understand a particular physical phenomenon. There are 3
different options - you only need to do one.
SP1-4: Finally, you need to attend at least one of the star parties/lectures on campus this semester.
For this assignment, all you need to do is show up! Bring your friends and family, and share with
them all you’ve learnt!
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A note on SUBSTITUTIONS:
Assignments with ** require specific conditions/times, which may or may not conflict with
your schedule. If you can’t make these times or locations, you can substitute these with one of the
alternative assignments discussed in appendix A.
After you attend the event, you must write a 2 page report on the experience. You can
include photographs, drawings, and whatever else you think is relevant. You should discuss the
content of the lecture/tour/star party, as well as what you thought of it - along with a couple of
questions you still have about the subject.
This report is due at the same time as the original assignment, so plan ahead. If you
choose to substitute an assignment for which there is a journal check (NE3), you need to tell me
your plan for substitution on journal check day to get the check points, i.e. you need to tell me
where and when you are going.
You can go to more than one lecture and use this substitution multiple times, all others can
be used only once. Note: if you are going to a lecture as a substitute assignment, you need to write
and submit a report. Only the lecture you go to to fulfill your star party assignment is report free!
Oh, and no doubling up! If you go to a lecture on campus as a substitute assignment it won’t count
as your star party assignment - you’ll have to attend another one to get that credit.
A note on WEATHER:
Even though Tucson is one of the best places in the US to observe the sky, we do have
occasional cloudy day spells. If clouds start interfering with the class’s ability to do the assignments
on time, extra time may be given at the discretion of the instructor. Note however that a couple of
cloudy nights in the middle of an otherwise clear week do not constitute enough reason for an
extension. It’s your responsibility to keep track of the weather forecast (using e.g. the links in
appendix C) and to schedule your time accordingly.
3. Developing your observing skills
Observing is a skill. William Herschel noted that “You must not expect to see at sight... Seeing is in
some respects an art which must be learned. Many a night have I been practicing to see, and it
would be strange if one did not acquire a certain dexterity by such constant practice."
You’ll need lots of patience, lots of practice and good record keeping!
Measuring angles on the sky:
To determine the angular size or distance between objects on the sky, you can use the so-called
“fist and finger method”, where you
literally use your fists and fingers to
measure angles. The thing to remember
is to keep your arm outstretched. Then, if
you hold up your pinky, that’s roughly 1
degree across, 3 fingers are 5 degrees, 4
knuckles 10 degrees and your whole
hand from thumb to outstretched pinky is
20 degrees. We’ll practice this in class.
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Location on the Sky: Coordinate Systems:
The coordinate system we’ll be using in this class is called the altitude-azimuth system. This is the
system you would probably use to point out a star to your friend, since it is tied to both the time
and place where you make the observation, i.e. the alt/az coordinates of an object change with
time, and also depend on where you’re observing from. Two people looking at the same star at the
same time from Tucson and Los Angeles will measure different alt/az values. Two people looking at
the same star from the same spot in Tucson, but 2 hours apart will also measure different alt/az
values. On the other hand, If you specify your location, your time, and the alt/az coordinates of an
object, the location of that object is uniquely specified, which is why it is always crucial that you
include the time and date in any observation you make.
Alt/AZ definitions:
The altitude of a star is how many degrees above the horizon it is (anywhere from 0 to 90 degrees,
where 0 is on the horizon, and 90 is zenith, the point directly above your head.). Altitude is always
measured perpendicular to the horizon, i.e. it’s always the shortest distance between the object
and the horizon.
The azimuth of a star is how many
degrees along the horizon it is and
corresponds to the compass
direction: 0 (and 360) degrees in
North, 90 degrees is East, 180
degrees is South, and 270 degrees
is West. The azimuth is measured
along the horizon, so for an object
on the sky, you first draw a line
from the object directly to the
horizon, and then measure the
azimuth at that point on the
horizon. We’ll practice this in class.
There are 360 degrees in a circle,
so the separation between each of
the main cardinal points, NESW, is
90 degrees, and N and S are 180
degrees apart. You’ll always need to
know where North is, since you’ll calculate azimuth relative to North. You can find North with a
compass (most smartphones have these as well) or by finding the north star, Polaris, on the sky. We
can help you do this at the observatory during one of the regular sessions or the help session in the
second week of class.
Practice at home by randomly picking coordinates, e.g. 45degrees altitude, 60 degrees azimuth,
and making sure you know where that is on the sky.
Note: As you can probably already tell, measuring angles in this way is not very precise - for all the
assignments in this lab, I will only hold you to +- 10 degree accuracy, so don’t fret about making it
perfect, but do make the measurements as carefully as possible, so that you get meaningful data.
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4. Materials
Planisphere: You will need a planisphere (a kind of celestial map) for this course. I recommend this
one: 11inch Guide to the Stars by David H Levy (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/
1928771033/skymaps, also available at the Pima bookstore) but if you already have one, you don’t
need to buy a new one. You will learn how to use it during lecture. This is also a good resource:
http://astronomy.sierracollege.edu/courses/astronomy05/planisphere.htm
Observing journal: This should be a large notebook or sketchbook with blank white unruled
pages. Ideally it should be spiral bound so you can lay it flat. You will be using this journal to
record and make sketches of your observations. Every assignment you do for this lab, including the
questions, should be done in the notebook. The one exception is your data analysis project which
should be typed up and handed in separately. Your name and course information (AST102 LAB)
should go on the front cover.
Flashlight: You’ll need a flashlight when you go out at night. I will be providing you with red
cellophane material in class which you can use to cover up your flashlight to reduce glare.
Compass: You’ll need a magnetic compass to determine the cardinal points, especially for your
sunset observation. If you don’t have one at home, you can borrow one from your instructor and
return it at the end of the semester.
Solar Viewers: You’ll also need solar viewers to be able to look at the sun safely during sunset and
during the solar eclipse. These will be handed out in class, and are yours to keep!
5. Observatory Procedures
Labs T1-T3 require you to use the observatory telescopes on Campus. You will have a window of
about 2 weeks in which to do each of the telescope observations. During this time, you must sign
up for one of the days/nights in advance by going to the following links:
T1: 9/15-9/26 sign up for a 1.5 hour timeslot between 7-10pm at tinyurl.com/astlab-t1
T2: 10/16-10/29 sign up for a 1hr timeslot between 10am-2pm at tinyurl.com/astlab-t2
T3: 11/12-11/25 sign up for a 1.5 hour timeslot between 10am-2pm at tinyurl.com/astlab-t3
The observatory can only accommodate 3 students at a time, so once a timeslot is filled it’ll no
longer be selectable. The earlier you sign up the better! Let me know if you have any issues with
scheduling.
The observatory will also be open for a special help session on the evening of 9/3 from
7.30-9.00. If you are having any trouble completing your assignments, using your planisphere,
orienting yourself on the sky, using your compass or measuring distances using the fist and finger
method, come on by and I’ll be happy to help. If you need help but can’t make it to the
observatory at that time, just let me know and we’ll try to find a different time for you.
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6. Assessment
Every lab assignment should be done in your observing journal, including all sketches and
the answers to the questions. I will collect your journals for grading three times over the course of
the semester, on the following dates.
First collection:
10/2
Second collection: 11/3
Third collection: 12/16
T1, NE1-3
T2, E1, E2, NE5
T3,E3, D, NE4 (all 4 sunsets)
The 3rd column shows the assignments that will be graded during that collection.
Journals should be handed in that day during AST102 lecture, or to my office (02-211). If I’m not in
my office, please leave your journal with Linda at the front desk in the O2 building and sign the
sheet saying you’ve handed it in.
A note on LATE submissions:
Except for weather extensions as discussed above, there are no permitted excuses for late
submissions of journals, so please start as early as possible. Every day your assignment is late, you
will lose 25% of the total points available. If you are late, or if you can’t make it to class on a day
when an assignment is due, journals can be dropped off at my office. Again, if you are 4 days late
with your journals and a weather extension has not been pre-approved, you will lose all your
points - and this applies to all the assignments that were to be graded then, which can be more
than a third of your total grade, so please make every effort to get your journals to me on time.
Journal checks:
In addition to the journal collections described above, in the first month of class there will also be
weekly journal checks for assignments NE1-4. These serve multiple purposes. They are mostly
there to encourage you to do the assignments at the time when they will be most useful to you in
terms of understanding the lecture material. They also give me the chance to give you feedback
early on, so that if you are having any trouble doing the assignments you can get help before too
many of them have passed.
Each journal check you complete is an additional 15 pts so that all checks combined are worth
4x15=60pts which is 20% of your total lab grade - so you should really try too do the assignments
before the checks. If you’ve done the observation and answered the questions by journal check
day, you will get the full 15 points, even if the assignment is not done correctly. If that’s the case,
you will be encouraged to redo the assignment before the journals are collected for grading, so
you can improve your grade. Never discard old observations, just re-do them and note on your
journal which you’d like me to grade.
I may reschedule journal checks if weather is interfering with the class’s ability to do the
assignments on time. I will communicate these changes to you during class and also by email.
If you are not coming to lecture on a journal check day, you may email me a picture of your
assignment by 6pm. I will not accept late journal checks after that time. This does NOT apply to
journal collections, which cannot be done electronically.
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Final Grades:
The number of points each assignment is worth is detailed in the previous section - they add up to
a total of 300 pts. You’ll get 60 extra points if you complete all 4 journal checks, for a total of
360pts available.
Your grade will be calculated as follows:
300-360 pts
A
250-300 pts
B
200-250 pts
C
150-200 pts
D
<150 pts
F
I may lower these cutoffs but I will not raise them. In appendix B, you will find a rubric for your
observing assignments, detailing how they will be assessed. The data analysis handout comes with
its own rubric, and for the star party, all you have to do is show up and participate!
Any questions you have about assessment and assignments should be brought up before journal
collections. Remember, the semester goes by fast, and it is your responsibility to make sure that
you know and do what is required of you, by the deadline.
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7. Lab Instructions
NE1: Nightly Motion of Sky
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Purpose: Track the motion of a constellation
over the course of an evening
Duration: Once per hour for 3 hours.
Materials: Compass
Journal Check: 9/2
Journal Collection: 10/2
Number of points: 10
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Instructions:
1. Find your eastern horizon: you can use a compass or just approximate directions for this
assignment. for reference, Speedway goes approximately E-W, and you want to look in the
opposite direction from where the sun just set.
2. Sketch your view (buildings, trees, etc.) along the bottom of a blank page in your journal. The
top of the page should represent the point directly over your head (the “zenith”) - label this.
3. Choose a group of stars (doesn’t have to be a “recognized” constellation) that are distinct
enough that you will be able to find again and that is low on the eastern horizon at the time you
begin.
4. Sketch the group of stars and its location and orientation relative to objects on the horizon.
5. Come back in one hour and sketch again. Repeat each hour, for a total of three hours (4
observations total). Note that you should not make a new sketch each time. You can simply
sketch the horizon once, and redraw the group of stars each time (hint: they will move!).
6. Make sure to note on your drawing, next to each hourly observation:
(a) the time of the observation
(b) your estimate for the altitude of the stars, using the fist and finger technique.
(c) your estimate for the azimuth of the stars, using the compass, if you have one.
Questions:
At the end of your observation, answer the following questions in your journal:
(1)
Which direction did the stars you chose move over the course of your observation? Did
they move up away from the horizon or down toward it? Did they move straight up or
down, or did they also move towards the left or right? Be as specific as possible, and
indicate this motion in your sketch by connecting the observations with a dashed line.
(2)
Based on your altitude and azimuth measurements, roughly how many degrees did the
stars move over the course of your observation? Is this consistent with how much you
would expect them to move over the course of one full day? Why or why not? Be
quantitative.
(3)
Based on how your stars moved with time, why were you asked to choose a constellation
on the Eastern Horizon and not the Western horizon?
In what way did this observation either follow or differ from your expectations?
(4)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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NE2: The Moon
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Purpose: Observe the motion of the moon
over the course of ~1 weeks.
Duration: ~10-30min 3 times in one week.
Materials: Planisphere
Journal Check: 9/9
Journal Collection: 10/2
Number of points: 30
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Requirements: Apart from the fact that the moon must be visible when you make your
observations, and that the observations have to be
done at night, you are free to do them at whatever
time you choose. Note that they should be done
Date
Moon Rise
Moon Set
around the same time each night (within about 15
min), so make sure the moon will be visible at the
9/2
1:22PM
12:08 AM
time you pick throughout the whole week in which
9/3
2:20PM
1:06AM
you’ll do your observations. Each observation
should be separated by about 3 days. See the table
9/4
3:14PM
2:09AM
on the right for rise and set times for the moon for
the week of 9/2 to 9/9, which is the recommended
9/5
4:06PM
3:15AM
week to do this observation. For this week, as long
as you’re making your observations before
9/6
4:55PM
4:24AM
midnight, the moon will always be up. Moonrise
9/7
5:41PM
5:33AM
and set times for other weeks in September are
shown in appendix C, but doing it later in
9/8
6:24PM
6:42AM
September will require you to be up at odder hours,
so plan ahead.
Instructions:
1. Make at least three observations of the moon over the course of a week. Each observation
should be separated by at least 2-3 days, and they should all be done at the same time of night
(within about 15min).
2. Each time you make an observation, sketch the moon’s location, shape and orientation relative
to the horizon. All the observations should be on the same sketch. To facilitate this, make sure
that your first sketch includes the entire southern horizon all the way from east to west along the
bottom of the page. The top of your paper should represent the point directly over your head
(the zenith). Label zenith and the cardinal directions.
3. For each observation, use your planisphere to figure out which constellation the moon is in, and
then mark the moon’s position relative to the stars in the skychart in Appendix D. Cut out the
starchart and attach it to your journal.
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4. Make a table in your journal that lists, for each observation:
- the exact date and time
- the altitude and azimuth of the moon measured using your compass and the fist and
finger method
- the phase of the moon
- the constellation that the moon is in
Questions:
At the end of your observation, answer the following questions in your journal:
(1)
Look at your sketch again. Did the position of the moon relative to the horizon change over
the course of your three observations? Did the moon phase change? Do you think the two
are related? How?
(2)
Now connect the Xs on your skychart so that you trace out the path of the moon over your
observing time period. How would you describe the motion of the moon relative to the
stars? Does it move or not? If so, which direction did the moon move in? Did you know the
position of the moon moves relative to the stars? Why do you think that is?
(3)
Look again at the path the moon took across the skychart. Does it coincide with any
important feature in the skychart? How do you interpret this? (hint: what is it saying about
the orbit of the moon?)
(4)
What fraction of the sky did the moon cross during your observing period? (Remember: the
skychart is only showing you the half of the sky above the horizon. If the moon had moved
across the whole chart, it would’ve only moved across half of the entire sky.) What fraction
did you expect it to cover, given that the moon completes one orbit around the earth every
4 weeks? Do the two numbers agree? If not, why not?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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NE3: Star Counts
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Purpose: Test how your eyes adjust to darkness
with time, and measure light pollution levels
Duration: ~30min
Materials: White flashlight, watch or timer,
assistant or red flashlight, planisphere
Journal Check: 9/18
Journal Collection: 10/2
Number of points: 10
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Requirements:
A dark site, with no bright streetlamps or car headlights, and a clear night with no moon (check
appendix C for moon rise and set times). At the earliest, you can begin one hour after sunset - the
sky should be completely dark. If at all possible, bring an assistant with you - it will be easier and
safer. Or, do this assignment with another student and take turns recording each other’s
observations.
Instructions:
1. Once you arrive at your observing site, locate the summer triangle: it is a triangle made from the
three brightest stars in the sky: Vega,
Deneb and Altair. Use your planisphere if
you need it. Make sure you and your
assistant memorize where it is in the sky,
so that you can find it quickly later.
2. Then, shine a bright white flashlight on a
white page in your journal and stare at it
for ~5 minutes before you begin. This is a
good time to set up a table with three
columns. The first column should be
labeled time, the second column should
be labeled number of stars, and the third
is for other observations. You should draw
in 15 empty rows.
3. When you are ready to observe, turn off
the white flashlight, and immediately start your timer. Look in the direction of the summer
triangle again, and find one of the three bright stars. Once you’ve located one of the stars in the
triangle, make a “finger box” (see diagram above) held out at arm’s length, with the bright star at
the center, then count the number of stars you can see in that box. Have your assistant record
the time on the timer, and the star count in your table. Then, at one minute intervals for 15
minutes total, keep counting the number of stars that you see in the “finger box” around the star,
and shout them out to your assistant, who should also tell you when each minute is up.
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4. In the intervals between counting stars, scan the sky, paying particular attention to the colors of
stars you see. Each time you see a new color, record it in the “other observations” column.
Record the time that you first see the Milky Way as well.
5. When 15 min are up, while your eyes are still adjusted to the dark, remove your finger box and
look at the summer triangle again. Find Deneb and its constellation, Cygnus, and compare what
you see to the magnitude charts on the next page, using your red flashlight. You may need to
turn the paper around to match the orientation of the stars on the sky. Choose the best match in
terms of numbers of visible stars, and record it in your journal. This is a measure of the level of
light pollution at your site.
6. Important notes: make sure that you don’t look at any sources of light while doing this
experiment (except for the stars!). If your assistant needs light to record values in the table, ask
them to use the dim red flashlight and to point it carefully away from you.
7. If you can’t get an assistant, just set a timer for 1 minute, record your number using red light
only and then start the timer again and turn off the flashlight as soon as you’re finished
recording. Red cellophane can be obtained from your instructor, which you can use to cover an
ordinary white flashlight.
Questions:
At the end of your observation, answer the following questions in your journal:
(1)
Create a graph with time along the x-axis and number of stars seen along the y-axis. Make
sure to label your axes and add a title to the graph.
(2)
Can you draw a straight line through your data, or do you need a curve? Does it
“flatten” (stop increasing and stay constant) at some point? What does this tell you about
how your eyes adjust to darkness with time?
(3)
What’s physically happening to your eye as the numbers of stars you see goes up?
(4)
What do you think would happen if you kept going for another 15min. Continue your xaxis out to 30min and draw your prediction as a dashed line.
(5)
Did the number of different star colors you see increase or decrease with time? Do a little
Internet research about the cells that make up your eye (called “rods” and “cones”). Which
are more sensitive to light? Which are more sensitive to color? How do they perform in the
dark? Use what you’ve learnt about the physiology of the eye to explain your observations.
(6)
Optional: If you do your observation between 9/15 and 9/24, you can go to http://
www.globeatnight.org/ and report the level of light pollution you measured. You’ll be part
of an important global initiative to protect our dark skies!
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CYGNUS MAGNITUDE CHARTS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VEGA
DENEB
ALTAIR
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NE4: Sunset Location
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Purpose: Mark the location of sunset on the
horizon and observe any changes in this
location throughout the semester.
Journal Check: 9/25 (first sunset)
Duration: ~10-30min once a month
Number of points: 40
Journal Collection: 12/16
Materials: Solar observing glasses, watch,
compass
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Requirements:
Observations must be done at sunset and from the same exact location each time. Each
observation must be separated by at least 3 weeks. You will be able to borrow solar observing
glasses from your instructor.
Instructions:
DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN without solar observing glasses, which you will be
provided with by your instructor.
1. Find a relatively unobscured view of the Western horizon. Choose your spot carefully so that it
is free of big foreground obstacles (tall buildings, etc.) but has a recognizable background
against which you’ll be able to distinguish the location of sunset. A completely flat, featureless
horizon won’t work, while a mountain ridgeline is ideal. Choose the location where you stand
carefully so that you can come back to the exact same spot when you complete further
observations later in the semester. You will need to be in the same spot to within about 1 foot,
so pick a landmark on the ground where you can put your feet and make a note of it in your
journal so you’ll remember.
2. For the first observation: Head out at least 30minutes before sunset and make a careful sketch of
the horizon for at least 45 degrees on either side of where the sun is located (from SW to NW).
This will be a wide landscape, so rotate your journal so you’re using the widest dimension so
it’ll fit. You will mark the location of sunset several times over the course of the semester on this
sketch, so take the time to draw the horizon carefully this time. Use your compass (or a
smartphone - most have this feature) to determine the exact location of West along your
horizon and label it. Mark along the bottom of your drawing a scale with the number of
degrees from W, using your compass. The edges of your sketch should be at +-45 degrees.
3. For all four observations: When the sun is close to setting, use your solar glasses to observe the
solar disk as it dips below the horizon. As you perform your observations:
a. Mark carefully the location on your sketch where the sun first touched the horizon and label
it with the date and the distance from W in degrees (using your compass).
b. In a table with the date in the first column, record the exact time (to the second) that the sun
first touches the horizon in the second column, and the time that the last bit of the sun
disappears behind the horizon in the third column. In other words, record the start and end
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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time of the sunset for each date. In a fourth column, write down any other notes about the
observation (weather conditions, color of sunset, etc.).
Questions:
After you’ve performed all 4 of your observations, answer the following questions in your journal:
(1)
Did the sun ever set due West? On what day was it closest to due West and why?
(2)
How much (in degrees) did the sun move along the horizon over the course of the
semester? In what direction was it moving? If you kept tracking it into the next semester
would it keep moving in the same way? If not, how would it change?
(3)
Did the time it takes the sun to set (so the time between it touching the horizon and
disappearing completely behind it) change over the course of the semester? Why or why
not?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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NE5: ISS Transit
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Purpose: View and sketch the orbit of the
International Space Station (ISS) as it passes
overhead.
Journal Collection: 11/3
Number of points: 10
Duration: ~15min, at one of the exact time
and dates in the table below
Materials: Skychart (Appendix D)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Instructions:
The ISS will be making very visible passes over Tucson during this semester. Check below for the
exact time and dates, and plan your observations accordingly. The exact timings do sometimes
change, so I will send out confirmation of times closer to these dates. If you are an early riser, you
can catch it just before sunrise in September. If you prefer to see it after sunset, you’ll have to wait
until October to do this observation. Try to pick one of the earlier dates, so that you have a chance
to re-do the assignment on a subsequent night if something goes wrong (weather, timing, etc).
Make sure you understand which direction you should look for it based on the Altitude/Azimuth
coordinates given below. Each passage will only last ~5 minutes, so it’s very important to plan
ahead and be on time.
DATE
Highest
point
Start
Time
Alt
Az
Time
Alt
Az
Sep 12
04:59:05
32°
WSW
05:00:22
56°
Sep 29
05:36:55
10°
NW
05:40:09
49°
Oct 2
04:48:30
78°
NNW
04:48:40
86°
NE
Oct 5
18:55:35
10°
SSW
18:58:44
43°
SE
Oct 7
18:53:05
10°
WSW
18:56:19
49°
NW
Oct 25
18:33:42
10°
NNW
18:36:26
23°
NE
Oct 26
19:19:58
10°
NW
19:22:57
50°
WSW
Oct 27
18:29:59
10°
NW
18:33:16
71°
NE
Oct 29
18:26:51
10°
WNW
18:29:49
31°
SW
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
NW
17/32
1. On the date/time you pick, go out 15 minutes early so that your eyes have time to adjust to the
darkness, and so that you have time to pick out a few familiar constellations in the sky (with the
help of your planisphere).
2. Observe where the ISS first appears, and try to track its motion against the background
constellations. Sketch its orbital path on the relevant chart in the Appendix, carefully labeling
the position and time where you first saw it appear, where it seemed to be brightest, and where
it disappeared from view.
3. The ISS should be very bright. Try to estimate its brightness by comparing it to some of the
brighter stars in the sky (like Vega, Fomalhaut, Altair, etc) or a planet (Jupiter will be up before
dawn). Record your observations - at its peak brightness, was it as bright/less bright/brighter than
Vega, Jupiter?
Questions:
After you’ve performed your observation, cut out the skychart and attach it to your journal. Then
answer the following questions:
(1)
All ISS passages are seen either right before dawn or just after sunset. Can you think of a
reason why? Hint: what makes the ISS shine?
(2)
How did the passage end? Did the ISS dip below the horizon (i.e. did it set?), or did it
disappear in the middle of the sky? Can you think of a reason for this behaviour? A diagram
might help.
(3)
Based on your timing of the passage and the fraction of sky travelled, can you estimate the
orbital period for the ISS? i.e. how long it takes to complete one full orbit around the Earth?
Show your work.
(4)
If the ISS is orbiting about 200 miles above the earth’s surface, how fast
is it going in miles per hour? Hint: First calculate the circumference of
the circular orbit it is in (remember, circumference = 2!R, where R is
the radius of the circle) then divide that by the period you calculated
in question 3 to obtain the speed in miles per hour. You’ll need to
know the radius of the Earth, which is approximately 4000 miles. Is
this speed faster than you expected? Maybe this gives you a better
appreciation of how hard it is to launch a shuttle from the Earth and
dock it gently to the ISS to deliver astronauts & supplies!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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All of the assignments below will be handed out to you or emailed at a later date. Once
you receive them, please add them to the manual.
TELESCOPE OBSERVATIONS @ PIMA OBSERVATORY
T1: Visual Observing (Sep 15 - Oct 26)
T2: Solar Observing (Oct 16-Oct 29)
T3: Astrophotography (Nov 12-Nov 25)
ASTRONOMICAL EVENTS THIS SEMESTER
E1:Total Lunar Eclipse Oct 8th ~3am
E2: Partial Solar Eclipse Oct 23rd 2pm
E3: Geminid Shower Dec 13th
DATA ANALYSIS PROJECTS
D1: Jupiter’s Moons
D2: Solar Rotation
D3: Hubble’s Law
ASTRONOMY LECTURES @ PIMA EAST OBSERVATORY
SP1: Lunar Eclipse Lecture Oct 7th
SP2: Solar Eclipse Lecture Oct 23rd
SP3: Exoplanets Lecture date TBD
SP4: Galaxy Collisions Lecture date TBD
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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Appendix A - Substitute Assignments
(1) Attend a Lecture Outside of Class
Steward Observatory Public Evening Series
Monday evenings 7:30-8:30 pm
DATE
Sep 15
Sep 29
Oct 13
Oct 27
Nov 10
SPEAKER
TOPIC
Dr. Don McCarthy
Alien Images of Earth and
our Place in Space
Dr. Edward Olszewski
The Large and Small
Magellanic Clouds and
Their Interaction with the
Milky Way
Megan Reiter
Growing Pains: the
Tumultuous Youth of Stars
Dr. Kaitlin Kratter
Exploring the Architecture
of Planetary Systems at
Home and Abroad
This is Not Your Parents'
Planetarium Show:! 4K
Fulldome Comes to
Tucson!
Dr. Thomas Fleming
Nov 24
Dr. Karin Sandstrom
Our Dusty Universe
Dec 8
Dr David Levy
A Nightwatchman’s
Journey
See https://www.as.arizona.edu/public-evening-lecture-series for schedule and directions.
I’ve highlighted the talks that I think will be particularly good/relevant to our course.
Sonora Astronomical Society
Second Tuesday of the month 7-9pm with observing on 14” telescope afterwards
La Posada recreation center
http://www.sonoraastronomicalsociety.org/
(2)Attend a “Star Party”
The University of Arizona Astronomy Club
Sporadically throughout the year
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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See http://astroclub.as.arizona.edu for a schedule
Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association
Most TAAA star parties are “private”, but some are public
See their calendar for more details – look for entries that have an “SP” for star party but
don’t say (Private) after them or e-mail them about attending or setting one up yourself
http://www.tucsonastronomy.org/Public-Calendar.htm
(3)Take a Tour
Kitt Peak National Observatory
Open daily 9am -4pm except holidays
Admission to visitor center and self-guided tour of the mountain are free
Guided tours daily at 10am, 11:30am and 1:30pm $7.75
More info at www.noao.edu/outreach/kpvc
Steward Observatory Mirror Lab
Tuesday-Friday weekly at 1:00pm and 3:00pm
Reservation required
$8 for students
http://mirrorlab.as.arizona.edu
(5)Attend a Nightly Observing Program
Kitt Peak National Observatory Nightly Observing Program
Reservation required
$44 for students ($48 otherwise, includes dinner)
more info at www.noao.edu/outreach/nop
Mt. Lemmon Sky Center “Sky Nights”
Reservation required
$48 (includes dinner)
more info at http://skycenter.arizona.edu
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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Appendix B - Grading Rubric
Appendix C - Useful Links
WEATHER RESOURCES:
http://observatories.hodar.com/mtlemmon/
http://cleardarksky.com/c/MtLmmnObAZkey.html
http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/index.php?section=weather
http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/satellite/
OTHER OBSERVING RESOURCES:
http://www.stellarium.org/
http://www.heavens-above.com/
Make skycharts: https://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Yoursky
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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Appendix D - SkyCharts
September,October
~early evening
THE EVENING SKY FOR SEPTEMBER, 2014
NORTH
Early September — 10 p.m.
Mid September — 9 p.m.
Late September — 8 p.m.
LYNX
UR
SA
MAJ
OR
Ca
RIG
AU
A
pell
Po
int
er
s
a
M81
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A
M A ES
CO NIC
RE
E
B
C
LIS
W
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CAMELOPA
Y
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K
Big
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NA NES
TI
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01
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M1
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Ö
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le D
ipper
EUS
le
ub r
Do luste
C
0
M1
3
a
A
M
Y
M2
M30
MICROSCOPIUM
GRU
M55
TA
SAGIT
2
Tea
p
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1
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25
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8
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M6
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9
M
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80
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3
3
j
M1
16
M
17
M 18
M 4
M2
UM
UT
20
M
36
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M
9
M6
M7
A
ON S
CORTRALI
AUS
S
M1
9
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SC
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SC
IL
W
R
TI
An S
tar CO
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IU
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25
729
CAPRICO
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6
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AU PISCI
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LIB
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M1
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2
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US
ž
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j
b
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6
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70
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65
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au
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61
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00
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r
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TA
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M2
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Phases
A
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BOREAL
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Star magnitudes
–1
0
1
2
3
4
5
FIRST
Sept. 2
SOUTH
How To Use This Chart
FULL
Sept. 9
LAST
Sept. 16
NEW
Sept. 24
This chart depicts the evening sky for the times indicated above. The edge represents the horizon; the
chart’s center is the point overhead. Hold a printout of the chart out in front of you so the horizon marked
with the direction you’re facing is down. Then match the stars on the map with the real stars in the sky.
The chart shows the sky as seen from 40° north latitude. When viewing from a lower latitude, stars
in the southern sky will appear higher above the horizon while those in the northern sky will be lower.
When viewing from a latitude higher than 40°, the opposite will be true.
OrionTelescopes.com
Double star
Variable star
Open cluster
Globular cluster
Diffuse nebula
Planetary nebula
Galaxy
3KY HAPPENINGS s !STRONOMY INFORMATION s &ULL PRODUCT LINE
Copyright ©-2000 Orion Telescopes & Binoculars
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
23/32
intentionally left blank
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
24/32
September,October
~early evening
THE EVENING SKY FOR SEPTEMBER, 2014
NORTH
Early September — 10 p.m.
Mid September — 9 p.m.
Late September — 8 p.m.
LYNX
UR
SA
MAJ
OR
Ca
RIG
AU
A
pell
er
s
Po
int
a
M81
VE
A
M A ES
CO NIC
RE
E
B
C
LIS
W
RDA
CAMELOPA
Y
_
M82
Dip
pe
r
K
Big
I L
A
NA NES
TI
CI
M
¡
c
01
URSA
MINOR
M1
S
TE
Polaris
_
CEPH
Ö
BO
Litt
le D
ipper
EUS
le
ub r
Do luste
C
0
M1
3
a
_
A
M
Y
MICROSCOPIUM
M55
TA
SAGIT
2
Tea
p
RIUS
j
M1
ot
8
M2
M6
i
`
23
M
9
M
R
SE CAU
80
W
3
M2
M30
1
M2
25
20
M
9
16
M
17
M 18
M 4
M2
UM
UT
36
M8
M
9
M6
M7
A
ON S
CORTRALI
AUS
S
M1
Y
SC
O
SC
IL
W
R
TI
An S
tar CO
es RP
IU
S
M
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25
3
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R NU S
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L
6
M2
PE
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729
GRU
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M1
M1
4
1
M
LA
AQUI
LIB
RA
I.4
M1
HIU
2
CH
US
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IUS
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ST S
RIN
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M5
5
66
33
66
70
AS
TX
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_
t
j
b
SERP
EN S
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n
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L
VU
Neptune
au
WEST
M13
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eo
mer
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7
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2
M9
l
LYRA
M5
6
r
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ble
ou
le-D
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6871
29
M57
9
Deneb
M
ne
Ke
ysto
61
CY
r
M2
TA
SAGIT
M2
Moon
Phases
A
CORON IS
BOREAL
+
M3
00
70
G
PE
M15
i
Alb
c
alh
Arctur
+
i
2
M5
b
72
43
LA
CE
RTA
US
a
a
Fo
m
us
16
d
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10
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EIA
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PHINUS
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UA
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654
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M3
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PISCES
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752
a
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TO
M
M3
4
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ARIE
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UA
51
Y
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ol
PE
RS
EU
S
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iad
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ts)
L I P plane
EC
un &
of S
Path
a
EAST
EQ
RP
IO
N
62
S
IU
00
20
INDUS
Star magnitudes
–1
0
1
2
3
4
5
FIRST
Sept. 2
SOUTH
How To Use This Chart
FULL
Sept. 9
LAST
Sept. 16
NEW
Sept. 24
This chart depicts the evening sky for the times indicated above. The edge represents the horizon; the
chart’s center is the point overhead. Hold a printout of the chart out in front of you so the horizon marked
with the direction you’re facing is down. Then match the stars on the map with the real stars in the sky.
The chart shows the sky as seen from 40° north latitude. When viewing from a lower latitude, stars
in the southern sky will appear higher above the horizon while those in the northern sky will be lower.
When viewing from a latitude higher than 40°, the opposite will be true.
OrionTelescopes.com
Double star
Variable star
Open cluster
Globular cluster
Diffuse nebula
Planetary nebula
Galaxy
3KY HAPPENINGS s !STRONOMY INFORMATION s &ULL PRODUCT LINE
Copyright ©-2000 Orion Telescopes & Binoculars
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
25/32
intentionally left blank
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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September,October
~before dawn
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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Appendix E - Calendars
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Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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END OF MANUAL
Lab Manual for Astronomy 102, Fall 2014, PCC EAST
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3 separate
nights in a
week
any
(any 4) ~
once a
month
during the
semester
see sheet
9/15-9/26
10/16-10/29
11/12-11/25
Oct 8
Oct 23
Dec 13
any
TBD
NE2: Moon
NE3: Star
Counts
NE4: Sunset/
sunrise
Location
NE5: ISS Transit
T1: Visual
Observing
T2: Solar
Observing
T3:
Astrophotograp
hy
E1: Total Lunar
Eclipse
E2: Total Solar
Eclipse
E3: Geminid
Shower
D: Data
Analysis Project
SP: Community
Star Party
Total = 360 pts
any
DATES
NE1: Nightly
Motion
ASSIGNMENTS
TBD
any
after midnight
1-3pm
1am-5am
7-10pm
(1.5hr slot)
10am-2pm
(1hr slot)
7-10pm
(1.5hr slot)
see sheet
sunset/sunrise
at least 1.5
hours after
sunset/before
sunrise
same time
each night
nighttime
TIMES
300
30
30
40 (pick
2, 20 pts
each)
35
30
35
10
40
(4x10)
10
30
(3x10)
10
PTS
OBSERVATORY
attend one of the 4 star parties on
campus this semester
computer and internet access for two of
the projects
the darker the sky, the more meteors
you will see
somewhere DARK
HOME, ONLINE
solar viewing glasses
At least 2 hours of observing - sketches
every 20min
none
none
none
anywhere, but I will be at
the OBSERVATORY if you
want to join me.
anywhere
OBSERVATORY
OBSERVATORY
OBSERVATORY
anywhere
Transit happens fast - an accurate
watch, planisphere
60 pts
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
9/25 (15pts)
compass, solar viewers, watch (with
seconds)
4 observations separated by at least 3
weeks, from the exact same point, first
observation around sep 23
A good view of WESTERN/
EASTERN HORIZON
9/18 (15pts)
a very dark sky: moon must not be up,
and sky must be fully dark. no light
pollution. red flashlight, an assistant,
planisphere
no
no
no
yes
10/2
11/3
12/16
11/3
yes
no
yes
12/16
12/16
12/16 (deadline)
yes
yes
11/3
11/3
no
yes
no
no
substitution
allowed?
12/16
10/2
10/2
9/9 (15pts)
somewhere DARK
10/2
COLLECTION
9/2 (15pts)
CHECK
3 observations separated by at least 2
days spanning no more than a week.
planisphere, compass
None
REQUIREMENTS
anywhere
anywhere
LOCATION

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