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This presentation l.jpg
This presentation ……

  • Can be used by the public, any school, group, provided credit is given to FSU Planetarium.

  • May be downloaded and copied freely.

  • Is written in Microsoft Power Point so many operating systems can view it. Advance by pressing Enter or the Space Bar or Arrows

  • If you see any need for corrections, please contact Dr. Doyle at rdoyle@frostburg.edu


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Frostburg State Planetarium presents

Jan,Feb,Mar 2010 Sky Sights for Primary Grades & Beginners by Dr. Bob Doyle

Next Version: Early March 2010


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Big Topics Treated

  • Horizon, Finding directions, Sunrise/Sunset

  • How Day Sky Works, Twilight AM & PM

  • Moon basics, Made of what? Lady in moon?

  • Bright points in night? Planets Jan,Feb,Mar’10

  • Best Stars & Star Groups Seen Jan-Mar Even.

  • 3 Built in Mini Quizzes with answers supplied

  • Jan-Mar’10 Moon Schedule, Planet Table, * Table

  • Planetarium Schedule for 2010 School Yr.


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Horizon & Directions

  • When looking at sky, we may view ½ of universe!

  • The Horizon is line between ground and sky.

  • Horizon has 4 directions – North, East, South & West. To learn, say Never Eat Salty Worms!

  • North is direction your shadow points in mid day.

  • Sun rises each morning to the right of East (ESE)

  • South is where sun is highest in sky (in mid day)

  • Sun sets each afternoon to the left of West (WSW)


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Whydoes SunRise & Set?

  • For thousands of years, humans believed that sun & sky objects moved about Earth every day!

  • In the 1500’s, Copernicus proposed that the Earth itself was moving, not the sky objects!

  • Copernicus wrote that the Earth was spinning every day and orbiting the sun every year!

  • It took over a century until most were convinced that Copernicus was correct (thanks to Newton).

  • The Earth turns so sun seems to rise and set.


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Let’s review these ideas

  • What is the line between ground & sky?

  • Is it Ground line? Horizon? Edge of sky?

  • In what direction are shadows in mid day?

  • Is it North? East? South? or West?

  • Why does sun seem to rise and set?

  • Because: Sun is moving? Earth is spinning?

  • Write down your answers for these questions.

  • Answers are: Horizon, North & Earth is spinning


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How Day Sky Works

  • Sun, our day star is so bright that it lights up air, causing it to glow blue on a clear day.

  • As Earth turns, sun seems to rise in morning

  • Due to our turning, sun slowly rolls right.

  • Sun peaks mid day (12 noon for standard time)

  • Sun sets near direction West as we turn.

  • To find North, face where sun goes down and extend your right arm out, points North.


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Twilight or Dusk?

  • When sun disappears from our view, the air overhead is still ‘seeing’ sun and glowing.

  • As we turn more away from sun, only very thin, very high air still lit & sky gets darker.

  • This time is twilight or dusk, lasts an hour.

  • During dusk, bright planets, bright stars show 1st.

  • By end of dusk, easily seen star groups seen.

  • Just as dusk after sunset, dawn before sunrise.


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What about Moon?

  • Our moon is a ball of rock that orbits Earth.

  • Moon ¼ as big as Earth; if Earth a regular globe (1 ft.wide), moon is a tennis ball.

  • If Earth is regular globe, moon is 30 ft.away

  • As moon orbits us, we see day & night sides

  • In evening, lighted side ‘grows’ for 12 days

  • Then moon is full, shining all thru the night

  • Then in morning sky, moon ‘shrinks’ for 12 days

  • Moon seems to change shape, can’t see night side


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Just a little bit more about Moon

  • The moon NOT a big cheese ball! (Sorry!)

  • Man/lady/rabbit at full moon by dark plains

  • Dark plains of hard lava, good to land there

  • Over 40 yrs. ago, 1st men walked on moon

  • Perhaps in 2020’s, more moon landings

  • Current rockets can’t carry people, new rockets needed, U.S., China or Russia to try


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Another review of ideas..

  • As you face sunset, what points North?

  • Back of Head? Right arm (out)? Left ear?

  • If Earth 1 ft. wide, how far away is moon?

  • Is it 10 feet? 30 feet? 100 feet? 300 feet?

  • How long does moon ‘grow’ or ‘shrink’?

  • Is it A week? A dozen days? A month?

  • Write down your answers to above 3 questions.

  • Answers: Right arm (out), 30 feet, Dozen days


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Bright points we see at night?

  • Even the nearest planets appear as * (points) as we see them with our eyes; for even these objects very far away (if moon dist.=1, Venus dist.= 100)

  • To tell a planet from a star, all night stars twinkle and planets usually shine steady.

  • Also satellites (especially Space Station) shine steadily as creep eastward across sky

  • Night stars are distant suns, really, really far away compared to our planet neighbors.

  • If Earth penny size, moon 22” away, sun 730 ft. away (6.3 ft. wide), nearest star is 37,000 mi.away


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Easy Jan-Mar.’10 Planets

  • Evenings thru early February, bright Jupiter in W

  • Moon near Jupiter 1/17, too close to sun Feb.,Mar.

  • First number is month number / 2nd is date

  • Venus seen low in W in March, but not in Febr.

  • Moon near Venus 3/16, Venus to left, moon right

  • Mars mid evening sky in East in Jan., bright yellow, will get higher in Febr. & March, but fade

  • Saturn trailing Mars, in E in late Febr. evening, in March will be seen from mid evening on


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Easy Jan.-Mar’10 Stars & Planets

  • Big Dipper in N Northeast, top * point left to N. *

  • Cassiopeia, in NNW, resembles a tilted “M”

  • Orion with hour glass shape has belt of 3 * in row

  • Belt points left to Sirius, night’s brightest star

  • Belt points right past Aldebaran & 7 Sisters cluster

  • Big Dipper’s pointers point right to Leo’s sickle

  • Planet Mars appears above and to right of sickle

  • Saturn late winter seen below & left of Mars

  • Venus very bright, very low in W. dusk in March






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Let’s review once more…

  • How to tell a planet from a star?

  • Planet always brighter Planet shines steady

  • Brightest Evening , Brightest Midnight planet?

  • (Jupiter PM-Jan., Mars M) (Mars PM, Venus M)

  • Which part of Big Dipper points to N.Star?

  • End of Scoop or Arch of Dipper’s Handle

  • Write down your answers

  • Answers: Pl. steady, Jup. PM, Mars M, Scoop


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Frequently asked questions

  • What are falling stars? (Aka shooting stars)

  • Nearly all are pea sized space grit burning up in our upper atmosphere. Only dust left.

  • Can the planets line up like beads on string?

  • No, orbits are tilted but even if they could, pull is extremely weak, compared to moon.

  • What keeps stars, planets floating in sky?

  • There’s no up/down in space. Earth floats too!


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Jan.-Mar.’10 Moon Schedule

  • Early Jan: Late evening, then into morning sky

  • Mid Jan.: Dawn moon / dusk moon, Jup.1/17

  • Late Jan..: Growing even. ½ full and full on 1/29

  • Early Febr.: Late even., then into morning sky

  • Late Febr.: Growing moon , ½ full & full 2/28

  • Early Mar.: After few days, Moon into morn. sky

  • Mid Mar.: Moon back to W dusk, near Venus 3/16

  • Late Mar.: Mars 3/24-25: Saturn 3/28, Full 3/29


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Jan.-Mar. Bright Planet Table

  • Jan.: Jupiter W Dusk, Mars E. in 9 pm sky.

    Saturn E. in late even., Merc @ dawn, late J.

  • Feb.: Jupiter seen 1st week, Mars seen all night long in E; Saturn in E. mid even. sky

  • Mar: Mars easy, Saturn lower in E even.sky Venus starts to be seen low in W dusk


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Bright Jan.-Mar.*’s & Groups

  • Jan.& Feb. Even: Orion (S) & Sirius (SE)

    Big Dipper in NNE, top * pts. left to N. *

    Top scoop * points right to Sickle of Leo

  • Mar. Even: Dipper’s handle arcs to bright * Arcturus, speed onto bright * Spica

  • Jan.-Mar. Dawn Skies feature summer ev. *


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FSU Planetarium Shows (free)Tawes 302 Sundays, 4 pm ,7 pm

  • “Our Glorious Atmosphere” Jan.10, 17, 24 & 31

  • “Quick Intro to Universe” Feb. 7, 14, 21 & 28

  • “Quick Intro to Stars” March 7, 21 & 28

  • Different Program (last 45 min.) each month

    Tawes Hall near FSU Clock Tower, Lane Center With convenient free parking, hand. access

    Limited free literature: Monthly sky map, bookmark/schedule, beginner’s guide to universe

    Late comers not admitted, come 10 min.early


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Send any additional questions to….

  • Bob Doyle email rdoyle@frostburg.edu

  • Be sure that questions involve basics about sky, moon, planets and stars

  • For questions about 2012, Sun out of order, collisions – visit Planetarium, talk to Dr. Doyle

  • Sunday programs are free on Sundays at 4 p.m.and 7 p.m. starting Sept.6, change monthly at FSU

  • Call (301) 687-7799 request free planetarium bookmark, map, schedule be sent to you thru mail


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Other ways FSU Planetarium serves the Tri-State area

  • Friday Starlab sessions Allegany Cty. Schools

  • Special FSU Planetarium programs for Tri-State schools – free, call (301) 687-7799 and leave message of desired date & time

  • Free Special programs arranged for special groups, clubs, scouts, etc. – call above #

  • Dr. Doyle talks to clubs, groups as well, no fee

  • FSU Planetarium has served area for 40 years


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