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:


A)   Night Sky Observations


You make observations of the night sky. See Observation Instructions below for the details.  You may use Stellarium I intriduced you in Week One or any other software as well as the sky observation tools  you may have to assist your observations. The software will help you locate various celestial objects in the night sky. You mus go outside to make these observations.


B)   Alternative Assignment

      a. Visit a planetarium or observatory in your area.
      b. Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word report describing your experience.


       Use the following subtitles for each section. You would lose 10 points if you did not use these subtitles.

           i.     The name of the facility and its association
           ii.     The type of equipment
           iii.     Showings (celestial objects observed)
           iv.     Other things learned about astronomy  


           You can also include any planetarium show or videos you watched during your visit.


Make sure to attach the output in html or pdf (not a screenshot) from the Plagiarism Checker if you choose this alternative assignment. You may submit the checker result after the deadline (but no later than Friday) since it might take more time than you expect. Please ask Help Desk if you need assistance for downloading the checker result.


           You do not have to make any night sky observations if you choose this option.


Observation Instructions (Option only)

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. 


You are going to observe the following:


  • The Moon and its phase: 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). 
  • The North Star (Polaris): the associated constellations of Ursa Minor and Ursa Major (also known as the Little Dipper and the Big Dipper).
  • See Figure 2.11(a) in text. Note the position of the two constellations and draw a chart as shown in Figure 2.11 if possible.
  • Identify at least four other constellations. 
    • Note if they are in the Zodiac.
    • Note the time, position (direction), and approximate elevation above the horizon.
  • Determine whether the Milky Way is visible and, if so, its orientation (see Ch. 2).
  • Identify and observe at least two planets.  Note the time, position (direction), and approximate elevation above the horizon.
  • Note any other observed celestial objects, such as meteor showers, comets, and satellites.


Make sure to record meteorological conditions, such as cloud cover, lightning, and light pollution.


When you are done in Week Five write a 300- to 500-word summary of your findings.


You have five weeks to complete all the observations. You might have to drive to a dark region to observe some of them. Record your observations on the answersheet (the contents in the left column came from the information above) which is available from the right column.

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