Summer SAVY 2018: Session 3, Day 1 – Observational Astronomy (Rising 3rd/4th)
Everyone observes in Observational Astronomy!
We started out the day with introductions of each other – it’s great to learn what people have in common and to learn about something new.
Then we talked about our celestial sphere and how to find coordinates on it. We’ll be studying more about that tomorrow. Besides the celestial sphere coordinates, there is also another set of coordinates that are related to a particular time of day –altitude and azimuth. To measure altitude, one uses a quadrant (which we all made today) and to measure azimuth, one uses a directional compass. While we practiced with both a little bit today, we will practice much more using them later in the week (and the students will get to take their quadrant home!).
In keeping with the “Everyone observes!” plan, we also constructed some small telescopes (Galileoscopes) and put them on tripods to use them more easily. This afternoon, we went outside to figure out how to use them and to collect some data on how they work. Later in the week we’ll analyze the data we collected and make some predictions (as scientists generally do) and work with them again.
I encourage you to talk to your student about measurement (especially why partners doing the same thing might get different answers) and also about the frustration of working with a sometimes finicky set of equipment. There were several frustrated students today so talking about how they overcame their frustration or how they could do so in the future would likely be very useful!
– Dr. G 🙂