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About this presentation
About this presentation….

  • Is free to be used by students, teachers & public. Please acknowledge it is from FSU. It can also be copied and downloaded.

  • Is written in Microsoft Power Point that can be read by a number of computer systems.

  • If you find any needed changes, please contact Dr. Doyle at [email protected]


Frostburg state planetarium presents

Frostburg State Planetarium presents

Nov-Jan. Sky Sights for

Middle School & Intermediates by Dr. Bob Doyle

Next Edition: Early Jan.’10


Big topics treated
Big Topics Treated

  • Horizon, Finding directions, Sunrise/Sunset

  • How Day Sky Works, Twilight AM & PM

  • Moon basics, It’s Origin Why it’s varying shapes?

  • Bright points seen at night? Easy Nov.Jan.Planets

  • Best Stars & Star Groups Seen Nov.Jan. Evenings

  • 3 Built in Mini Quizzes with answers supplied

  • Nov.Jan. Moon Schedule, Planet & Star tables

  • Nov.Jan. Planetarium Schedule & related info


Horizon directions
Horizon & Directions

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

  • Horizon surrounds us, the sky/ground boundary

  • At top of sky is zenith, 90 degrees from horizon

  • From North to right, East, then South and West.

  • Sun rises in ESE, face sunrise, to left is North

  • Noon shadows point N (for E. Standard time)

  • Sun sets in WSW, face sunset, to right is North

  • Can use Big Dipper’s pointers to find N. Star


Sunrise sunsets
Sunrise & Sunsets?

  • Earth’s daily rotation makes it look as if sun rises each morning & sets each afternoon

  • Time of sunrise, sunset varies thru year

  • Earliest sunrise & latest sunset in late June

  • Latest sunrise & earliest sunset in late Dec.

  • Longest days when sun highest, farthest N

  • Shortest days when sun lowest, farthest S

  • Change in sunrise/sunset time less near equator

  • Change in sunrise/sunset time grows near poles


Let s review these ideas
Let’s review these ideas

  • What point in sky is farthest from horizon?

  • Is it Celestial Pole? Zenith? Nadir?

  • Which direction recipe WON’T work?

  • S. Side of tree with moss? Shadow in mid day?

  • Place where biggest changes with seasons?

  • Polar Regions? Mid Latitudes? Equator?

  • Write down your answers for these questions.

  • Answers: Zenith, Mid day shadow, Polar regions


Interesting facts about day sky
Interesting facts about day sky

  • Noon sun million x brighter than full moon

  • Day Sky max. polarization 90 deg. from sun

  • Maximum sunlight energy in early summer

  • Sun peaks mid day (Noon Standard time)

  • Minimum sunlight energy start of winter

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


Twilight or dusk
Twilight or Dusk?

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

  • When sun 6 dg. below horizon, turn on lights

  • When sun 18 dg. below horizon, sky darkest

  • To see faint star groups, sun must be 12 dg. below

  • Arctic Circle cities have no darkness in June

  • Equatorial places have shortest twilights

  • Our twilights last 90 minutes at dusk & at dawn


What about moon
What about Moon?

  • Our moon is 2160 miles across, ¼ Earth’s width

  • Moon ¼ as big as Earth; if Earth a regular globe (1 ft.wide), moon is a tennis ball, 30 ft. away

  • As Earth-moon distance about 30 x Earth’s width.

  • As Earth, Moon lit by sun with day & night halves

  • As Moon orbits Earth, see varying part of day side

  • After line up with sun, moon waxes (grows) 15 d

  • After full moon, moon wanes (shrinks) 15 days

  • Moon phase cycle 29.5 dy, approx. month length


Just a little bit more about moon
Just a little bit more about Moon

  • Moon rocks reveal moon matter from Earth!

  • Moon due to planets colliding, debris hurled

  • Moon formed from ring of orbiting debris

  • Early moon closer, much stronger tides

  • Moon slowly spiraling out, lengthen our day

  • Earth has 1st natural moon from sun, 6th largest moon in solar system


Another review of ideas
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 half month? A month?

  • Write down your answers to above 3 questions.

  • Answers: Right arm (out), 30 feet, A half month


Bright points we see at night
Bright points we see at night?

  • Even the nearest planets appear as * (points) as we see them with our eyes; for even these objects far away, Venus at closest 100x farther than our moon

  • 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


Nov jan planets
Nov.Jan. Planets

  • Evenings, Jupiter very bright steady point

  • Moon near Jupiter 11/23, 12/21 & 1/17

  • First number is month number / 2nd is date

  • Venus very bright at dawn, slowly dropping

  • Moon near Venus 11/15, by Dec. Venus gone

  • As Venus lowers, Mars higher & brighter

  • Mars late evening sky in East in Nov., rises earlier each week, well seen by 9 pm in December, then seen as soon as it gets dark in late January


Nov jan stars groups
Nov.-Jan. Stars & Groups

  • Big Dipper low N, steadily improves each month

  • Rightmost Dipper * point to North Star.

  • Cassiopeia, high in North, resembles a “M”

  • In NE bright star Capella and 7 Sisters star cluster

  • Late Nov. evenings see Orion with 3 star belt

  • Orion better in Dec., resembles tilted hour glass

  • On Jan. even., Orion’s 3 star belt points to Sirius, night’s brightest star that’s also close (9 lt.yrs.)



Summer triangle in west altair deneb vega
Summer Triangle in WestAltair, Deneb & Vega




Let s review once more
Let’s review once more…

  • What planet is now prominent in the evening sky?

  • Is it Venus? Mars? Jupiter? Saturn?

  • When closest, bright planet is lost in sun’s glare?

  • Is it Venus? Mars? Jupiter? Saturn?

  • Which night star is the brightest?

  • Capella or Vega or Sirius

  • Write down your answers

  • Answers: Jupiter, Venus, Sirius


Nov jan moon schedule
Nov.Jan. Moon Schedule

  • Early Nov: Full 11/2, much even. moonlight

  • Mid Nov: Dawn crescent moon

  • Late Nov: Growing evening moon & Jupiter

  • Early Dec: Full on 1st, then drifts into morning

  • Late Dec: Growing even.moon&Jupiter, 12/31 full

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

  • Rest of Jan: Moon in W dusk & Jupiter on 1/17, ½ full on Jan.22 and onto full on Jan. 29

  • Dates change from yr to yr, lunar month = 29.5 d.


Nov jan planet schedule
Nov.Jan. Planet Schedule

  • Nov: Jupiter in SW dusk, Mars in E in late even.

    Venus in Nov. very low in E dawn, Saturn higher

  • Dec: Jupiter low in SW dusk, Mars low in E 9 pm, Mercury seen low in W dusk from mid to late Dec

  • Jan: Jupiter even lower W dusk, Mars in E at nightfall, Saturn rises late PM, at dawn in South

  • Planet schedule changes each year due to all planets having different periods to orbit sun


Nov jan group schedule
Nov.-Jan. Group Schedule

  • Same *’s (stars) & groups come back same time each year as Earth orbits the sun

  • Nov. & Dec.even: Summer Triangle low in W

  • Nov.-Jan. even: Cass (“M”), Capella,7 Sisters high

  • Dec. & Jan. even: Orion (3 star belt), Sirius below

  • Nov.-Jan. Dawn Skies feature spring evening stars


Planetarium schedule services
Planetarium Schedule & Services

  • Free Sunday Public Shows at 4 pm, 7 pm

  • Planetarium=Tawes 302, near Clock Tower

  • Nov.Sunday shows: Telescopic Astronomy (no programs Nov.22, Sunday before Thanksgiving)

  • “Christmas & Seasonal Feasts” Dec.6, 13 & 20

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

  • Come about 10 min.early as no late admissions

  • Call (301) 687-7799 to request bookmark & map


Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions

  • What are shooting or falling stars?

  • Pea sized space grit impacting upper atmosphere and bursting into flame.

  • What if planets aligned (as beads on string)?

  • They can’t as orbits are not in 1 plane. But even if they could, their pull very weak next to our moon.

  • Why study other worlds? won’t ease our problems

  • By understanding other worlds, better know Earth

  • Your questions are welcome at our public programs.


Send any questions to
Send any questions to….

  • Bob Doyle email [email protected]

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

  • For questions about 2012, Pluto, Asteroids, Comets – 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

    To arrange program for special group, club, call below number and state your date and hour.

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


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