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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 [email protected]

Frostburg state planetarium presents

Frostburg State Planetarium presents

Fall 2011 Sky Sights for Primary Grades & Beginners by Dr. Bob Doyle

Next Version: January 2012

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 at night? Fall 2011 Planets

  • Best Stars & Groups Seen on Fall Evenings

  • 3 Built in Mini Quizzes with answers supplied

  • Fall ‘11 Moon Schedule, Planet & * Table

  • Planetarium Schedule for Sept.-Dec. 2011

Horizon directions
Horizon & Directions

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

  • The Horizon is line between ground and sky.

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

  • North is direction your shadow points in mid day.

  • East is about where sun rises each morning.

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

  • West is about where sun sets in late afternoon.

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 spins so the 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 1 pm in October, Noon in Nov. & Dec.

  • 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, stars show 1st.

  • By end of dusk, bright 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’s lighted shapes change as we see its lighted side; its dark side blends in with the night sky

Half full moon shows craters

near its straight edge where

sun there is rising or setting.

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 in moon due to dark plains

  • Dark plains of hard lava, good to land there

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

  • Perhaps in 2020’s, manned fly arounds

  • 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 steady points at night
Bright steady points at night?

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

  • 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 fall 2011 planets
Easy Fall 2011 Planets

  • From October on, bright Jupiter in East in Even.

  • Moon and Jupiter close 10/13, 11/10 & 12/6

  • First number is month number / 2nd is date

  • Late Fall, Brilliant Venus seen low in SW dusk

  • Crescent Moon & Venus near on 11/26 & 12/26

  • Planet Mars seen low in East in late even. in Dec.

  • Planet Mercury low in SE dawn in late Dec.

Best planets to see in Fall 2011

Venus in SW dusk starting in

late fall

Jupiter in East in evening sky



Jupiter as seen

From spaceprobe with Great Red Spot shown by brackets

Easy fall stars groups
Easy Fall Stars & Groups

  • Evening: Big Dipper below North Star

  • 2 right Dipper stars point upward to N. Star

  • Vega is brightest evening star in the West

  • In Northeast is bright golden star Capella

  • Right of Capella, 7 Sisters & * Aldeberan

Summer triangle as seen in fall western evening sky
Summer Triangle as seen inFall Western evening sky




Capella 7 sisters aldebaran in the east on fall evenings
Capella, 7 Sisters & Aldebaranin the East on Fall Evenings


7 Sisters


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

  • How to tell a planet from a star?

  • Planet always brighter Planet shines steady

  • Best Evening Planet this fall?

  • Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn

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

  • End of Scoop or Arch of Dipper’s Handle

  • Write down your answers

  • Answers: Planet shines steady, Jupiter, 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 our moon.

  • What keeps stars, planets floating in sky?

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

Fall 2011 moon schedule
Fall 2011 Moon Schedule

  • Early October: ½ even.moon 10/3 (craters)

  • Full moon 10/11; shrinks & goes into morn.

  • Early Nov.: ½ even. moon 11/2 (craters)

  • Full Moon 11/10; shrinks & seen in morn.

  • Early Dec.: ½ even. moon 12/2 (craters)

  • Full Moon 12/10 (highest 2011 full moon)

When evening moon looks like a ‘D’,

the sun is rising along left edge,

lighting up the crater rims and mountains.

This ‘D’ moon allows you to see craters

& mountains with binoculars held steadily

or with a small telescope on tripod (better).

A week after the moon is full, you can see it

In the morning day sky, as a backwards ‘D’.

Even during the morning hours, you can see

the craters & mountains on moon with binocular

or a small telescope. Never look at SUN!

Fsu planetarium shows free tawes 302 sundays 4 pm 7 pm
FSU Planetarium Shows (free)Tawes 302 Sundays, 4 pm ,7 pm

  • September “Moons’ Curiosities” starting 9/11

  • October “Planets’ Pecularities” – each Sunday

  • November “Star Mysteries” No 11/27 shows

    Different Program (last 45 min.) each month

    Tawes Hall near Compton, Frampton 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 [email protected]

  • 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. in Sept. thru Dec. 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

  • Fall Friday Starlab sessions Allegany 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