Autumn Star Observation

This observation of particular stars is to be done in the early parts of fall, between September and late November. You can do this observation at anytime during the course, and it will be helpful for you to use a pair of binoculars in your observing. You will need the sky map to help you find some of the things on this list. The project itself is not too difficult at all, and you really do not need binoculars to find the colors of stars. But, if you have a pair of binoculars, then you will be able to see a lot more.

Your Name:

E-mail Address (Required):

Directions: On a nice dark evening, go outside with the star map that you can download and print out. Then take the map outside and look at some stars. .

Time of observation. Start: Finish:
Location (be specific): ie., what city, and what address or exact place were you?
Sky Conditions: ie., was it cloudy, polluted by city lights, etc
Type of visual aid (if used): ie., did you use binoculars or a telescope?

1) What color is Vega ... the brightest star in the constellation Lyra. It is relatively straight up around 9:00 pm, and toward the west.

2) What color is Arcturus ... the brightest star in Bootes, that is off the handle of the Big Dipper, and away from the bowl. In other words, find the Big Dipper. Then "star hop" to the handle and keep going in an arc in an "extension" of the tail until you find the bright star Arcturus. What color is this star?

3) What do you see when you look closely at Mizar. If you have any binoculars, it will be a bit more exciting to look at this star. It is the second star in the handle of the Big Dipper.

4) What do you notice about the stars near Vega. If you have binoculars, take a close look at the stars near Vega. There are at least two "double stars" there. Can you see them?

5) If the sky is dark enough, could you spot the Andromeda galaxy? What did it look like to you? This might take a little work to find it, but if you have a pair of binoculars, you can actually find this galaxy. It is listed on the skymap as M31, and is in the constellation Andromeda, to the east of Pegasus.

6. There are a few other things I would like you to try.

The Summer Triangle looks like this in Early October at 9:00, except without the labels and yellow lines :)

a) Did you find the Summer Triangle?

b) What color was the star Deneb?

c) If you have binoculars, try to find M13. It is a pretty faint cluster of stars, but it is sort of cool. It looks small in binoculars and fuzzy, like a little ball. Up close, it is a huge cluster of stars called a "globular cluster" because it is a collection of over 1 million stars in a small group that orbits the Milky Way like a planet orbits the Sun. Were you able to find it? It is in the constellation Hercules. A picture is found below, and then your response box is below that.

d) There is a beautiful and colorful cluster of stars near Cassiopea. It looks pretty good in binoculars.

Tell me if you were able to find it? The picture is above. What did you see?

7. What frustrations did you experience while you were doing this assignment? What went well, and what went poorly?

This assignment is more about looking for the color of stars, so if you have any extra time, see if you can find any other stars whose color you can identify



Remember ... if you do not press the "submit" button, nothing will be sent and therefore received and your efforts will have been in vain. After doing this observation, please go b ack to Getting Your Own Telescope, or return to Introduction to Light and Telescopes Page, the Syllabus, or the Home page.

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