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Frostburg State Planetarium presents Nov.-Jan. Sky Sights for Primary Grades & Beginners by Dr. Bob Doyle Next Version: Early Febr.2010
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 seen at night? Planets Nov.-Jan. • Best Stars & Star Groups Seen Nov.-Jan. Even. • 3 Built in Mini Quizzes with answers supplied • Nov.-Jan. Moon Schedule, Planet Table, * Table • Planetarium Public Shows for Nov., Dec. & Jan.
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 (at Noon) • Sun sets each afternoon to the left of West (WSW)
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.
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
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, it points North.
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.
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 sky, 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
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
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
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
Easy Nov.-Jan. Planets • Evenings, Jupiter very bright steady point • Moon near Jupiter 11/23, 12/21 & 1/17/10 • First number is month number / 2nd is date • Venus seen low in eastern dawn in Nov.only • Moon near Venus 11/15, late Nov, Venus gone • Mars late evening sky in East in Nov., seen earlier each week, well seen by 9 pm in Dec., seen as it gets dark in late January, when brightest
Easy Nov.-Jan.Stars & Groups • Big Dipper low in N, slowly improves • Rightmost Dipper * point to North Star. • Cassiopeia, high in N, resembles a “M” • NE Bright golden star Capella & 7 Sisters • Late Nov. even. see Orion with 3 star belt in E • Orion better Dec., see as tilted hour glass • On Jan. even., Orion’s belt points left to Sirius, the night’s brightest star that’s close (9 lt.yrs.)
Let’s review once more… • How to tell a planet from a star? • Planet always brighter Planet shines steady • Brightest Evening , Brightest Midnight planet? • (Mars PM, Jupiter M) (Jupiter PM, Mars 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
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!
Nov.-Jan. Moon Schedule • Early Nov: much even. moonlight, full 11/2 • Mid Nov.: Dawn sky moon, near Venus 11/15 • Late Nov.: Growing even. Moon & Jupiter • Early Dec.: Full on 1st • Late Dec: Growing even. Moon & Jupiter and a 2nd full moon on Dec.31st (called a Blue Moon) • Early Jan.: After few days, Moon into morn. sky • Mid Jan.: Moon returns to western dusk, seen near Jupiter Jan.17, ½ full on Jan.22 & full on Jan.29
Nov.-Jan. Bright Planet Table • Nov: Jupiter SW Dusk, Mars E. late even. Venus very low in SE Dawn, Saturn higher • Dec: Jupiter low in SW, Mars low in E in mid evening (9 pm), Mercury seen low in W dusk from mid Dec. & next 12 days • Jan: Jupiter even lower W dusk, Mars E as it gets dark, Saturn rises late pm, dawn best
Bright Nov.-Jan.*’s & Groups • Nov. & Dec. even: Summer Triangle low in W • Nov.-Jan. even: Cassiopeia high in North • Nov.-Jan. even: Capella & 7 Sisters easily seen • Dec. & Jan. even: Orion (3 star belt), Sirius below Nov.-Jan Dawn Skies feature spring evening stars
FSU Planetarium Shows (free)Tawes 302 Sundays, 4 pm ,7 pm • “Telescopic Sky Exploring” Nov. 1, 8, 15, 29 • “Christmas & Seasonal Feasts” Dec. 6, 13, 20 • “Our Glorious Atmosphere” Jan. 10, 17, 24,31 • 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
Send any additional questions to…. • Bob Doyle email email@example.com • 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
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