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  1. 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

  2. Frostburg State Planetarium presents Jan,Feb,Mar 2010 Sky Sights for Primary Grades & Beginners by Dr. Bob Doyle Next Version: Early March 2010

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Big Dipper, N. Star as Year ends

  16. Finding Big Dipper, Leo’s sickle and Mars

  17. Cassiopeia, Capella & 7 Sisters

  18. Orion/Sirius in South

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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

  22. 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 Venus starts to be seen low in W dusk

  23. 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. *

  24. 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

  25. Send any additional questions to…. • Bob Doyle email • 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

  26. 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