This study unit will help you explore the appearance of the Moon, planets, bright stars and constellations in the night sky from a chosen point on the Earth at any time. It uses software enabling a virtual planetarium on the desktop.
Software and Websites
Stellarium is available for download for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux operating systems by clicking on this link:
http://www.stellarium.org/ Stellarium - A free planetarium for your computer
We have installed it on the lab computers. If you prefer to use your laptop, or follow up later at home, the installation is fast and simple. Follow the instructions that are provided on the site. This is beautiful "award winning" software useful throughout the semester, and worth the effort to have available if it will run on your own computer.
Other web sites that are useful for this activity are
http://www.heavens-above.com/ Heaven's Above - The sky tonight on the web
http://www.iau.org/public_press/themes/constellations/ Constellations - Maps of the constellations
http://www.google.com/sky/Google Sky - An interactive map of the sky, the Moon, and Mars