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this presentation
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
frostburg state planetarium presents

Frostburg State Planetarium presents

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

Next Version: Early March 2010

big topics treated
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.
horizon directions
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)
why does sun rise set
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
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
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.
twilight or dusk
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
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
just a little bit more about moon
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
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
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 jan mar 10 planets
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
easy jan mar 10 stars planets
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
let s review once more
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
frequently asked questions
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!
jan mar 10 moon schedule
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
jan mar bright planet table
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
bright jan mar s groups
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. *
fsu planetarium shows free tawes 302 sundays 4 pm 7 pm
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

send any additional questions to
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
other ways fsu planetarium serves the tri state area
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