Tag Archive | Stellarium

Day 19: Retrograde Motion of Mars

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Astronomy: First we used Stellarium to keep track of Mars’s location in the zodiac each month for a whole year.

Then we used stoppers to model the motion of the Mars against the constellations as seen from Earth (animated GIF above).

Handouts: Planetary Motions Star Chart and Retrograde Mars Model.

NGSS Science and Engineering Practice #2: Developing and Using Models

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Day 7: Tracking the Sun’s Path

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Astronomy: Clouds today prevented us from tracking the actual path of the sun outside. So we fired up Stellarium to track the azimuth and altitude of the sun. Each group was assigned a different month during which to track the sun on the 15th of that month. Groups had to find the time for sunrise on that day, and then track the sun for each hour after sunrise until the sunset. Tomorrow, we’ll graph our data in Desmos and look for similarities and differences between each group’s graph.

NGSS Science and Engineering Practice 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations.

Day 2: Exploring Stellarium

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Astronomy: Students got their lab notebooks and took Stellarium (free for desktops, paid apps for mobile) for a test drive today:

  1. 15 minutes of free exploration. In your notebook, make a list of things you can do using Stellarium.
  2. (a) What’s visible at 9 PM (21:00) tonight? Which planets? Which direction should you look?
    (b) The Moon? Which direction? What phase?
    (c) The Big Dipper and Polaris?
  3. Describe/Draw how the stars move during the night when facing N, S, E, and W.
  4. Repeat #3 at the North Pole, the Equator, and the South Pole.

Tomorrow, I’ll have students cut and paste a quick reference guide for Stellarium onto the inside front cover of their lab notebooks. I made the guide with help from here and here.

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