Monitoring the Rotating Sky

Skynet image of Saturn and moons I took last semester.
Skynet image of Saturn and moons I took last semester.

Our Astronomy Labs at High Point University will begin September 1, and I’ll be introducing the basics of star gazing.  Of course, the labs are scheduled for daylight hours, making real-time actual star-gazing a little difficult, but we’ll be using a nice planetarium program available free online.  If you haven’t seen Stellarium, I recommend you take a look at it.

Later in the semester, students will be analyzing their own astro-images using Stellarium as a guide.  Last semester I introduced the sky using a different planetarium program, but since realized that if we use Stellarium for the introduction, I can both 1.  introduce the sky, and 2.  introduce the program they will be using later.

With Skynet, students will use Stellarium to identify moons of Jupiter in their pictures, as well as identify dwarf planet
s and deep sky objects.  Earl in the semester students will measure the angular size of Jupiter and Saturn.  Later on they will use Stellarium to help determine the mass of a planet.


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