Watch the Sky
Each lab class will have a session scheduled in the Rauch Planetarium to help you learn how the sky changes hour by hour and with the seasons. It will help if you work on this with a star chart of your own, such as you might find in an astronomy book, or in one of these free resources:
If want to pursue this and learn the night sky well, you should consider getting a plani-sphere starfinder. This is a rotating map of the sky that will show you how it appears on any date and time. Inexpensive ones may be available from a bookstore or the Planetarium. Stellarium is a desktop planetarium that displays the sky in a photo-realistic view. It is not a static map, but a dynamic moving picture of the sky as the Earth's rotation brings an ever changing view past you. It is a very good way to prepare for this lab, or to use after your lab to learn more.
In the planetarium session you will see
- How the Sun's path changes with seasons
- Where is the Moon in the sky a few days after New Moon
- Where is the Moon in the sky at First Quarter
- When does the Full Moon rise?
- When does the Last Quarter Moon rise?
- Where are the bright planets at this time?
- How to find the Big Dipper and the North Star
- How to find the Summer Triangle
- How to find Orion in the winter sky