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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 rdoyle@frostburg.edu
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.)
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 rdoyle@frostburg.edu
  • 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