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This presentation …… Can be used by the public, any school, group, provided credit is given to FSU Planetarium. May be downloaded and copied freely. Is written in Microsoft Power Point so many operating systems can view it. Advance by pressing Enter or the Space Bar or Arrows If you see any need for corrections, please contact Dr. Doyle at
Frostburg State Planetarium presents Fall 2014 Sky Sights for Primary Grades & Beginners by Dr. Bob Doyle Next Version: January 2015
Big Topics Treated Horizon, Finding directions, Sunrise/Sunset How Day Sky Works, Twilight AM & PM Moon basics, Made of what? Lady in moon? Bright points at night? Fall 2014 Planets Best Stars & Groups Seen on Fall Evenings 3 Built in Mini Quizzes with answers supplied Fall ‘14 Moon Schedule, Planet & * Table
Horizon & Directions When looking at sky, we may view ½ of universe ! The Horizon is line between ground and sky. 4 directions along horizon – North, East, South & West. To learn, say Never Eat Slimy Worms! North is direction your shadow points in mid day. East is about where sun rises each morning. South is where sun is highest in sky (in mid day) West is about where sun sets in late afternoon.
Why does Sun Rise & Set? For thousands of years, humans believed that sun & sky objects moved about Earth every day! In the 1500’s, Copernicus proposed that the Earth itself was moving, not the sky objects! Copernicus wrote that the Earth was spinning every day and orbiting the sun every year! It took over a century until most were convinced that Copernicus was correct (thanks to Newton). The Earth spins so the sun seems to rise and set.
Let’s review these ideas What is the line between ground & sky? Is it Ground line? Horizon? Edge of sky? In what direction do shadows point in mid day? Is it North? East? South? or West? Why does sun seem to rise and set? Because Sun is moving? Earth is spinning? Write down your answers for these questions. Answers are: Horizon, North & Earth is spinning
How Day Sky Works Sun, our day star is so bright that it lights up air, causing it to glow blue on a clear day. As Earth turns, sun seems to rise in morning Due to our turning, sun slowly rolls right. Sun peaks 1 pm in October, Noon in Nov. & Dec. Sun sets near direction West as we turn. To find North, face where sun goes down and extend your right arm out, points North.
Twilight or Dusk? When sun disappears from our view, the air overhead is still ‘seeing’ sun and glowing. As we turn more away from sun, only very thin, very high air still lit & sky gets darker. This time is twilight or dusk, lasts an hour. During dusk, bright planets, stars show 1 st. By end of dusk, bright star groups seen. Just as dusk after sunset, dawn before sunrise.
What about Moon? Our moon is a ball of rock that orbits Earth. Moon ¼ as big as Earth; if Earth a regular globe (1 ft.wide), moon is a tennis ball. If Earth is regular globe, moon is 30 ft.away As moon orbits us, we see day & night sides In evening, lighted side ‘grows’ for 12 days Then moon is full, shining all thru the night Then in morning sky, moon ‘shrinks’ for 12 days Moon’s lighted shapes change as we see its lighted side; its dark side blends in with the night sky
Half full moon shows craters near its straight edge where sun there is rising or setting.
Just a little bit more about Moon The moon NOT a big cheese ball! (Sorry!) Man/lady/rabbit in moon due to dark plains Dark plains of hard lava, good to land there Over 40 yrs. ago, 1 st men walked on moon Perhaps in 2020’s, manned fly arounds Current rockets can’t carry people, new rockets needed, U.S., China or Russia to try
Another review of ideas.. As you face sunset, what points North? Back of Head? Right arm (out)? Left ear? If Earth 1 ft. wide, how far away is moon? Is it 10 feet? 30 feet? 100 feet? 300 feet? How long does moon ‘grow’ or ‘shrink’? Is it A week? A dozen days? A month? Write down your answers to above 3 questions. Answers: Right arm (out), 30 feet, Dozen days
Bright steady points at night? Even the nearest planets appear as * (points) as we see them with our eyes; for even these objects very far away (moon=1 unit). Venus 100x farther. To tell a planet from a star, all night stars twinkle and planets usually shine steady. Also satellites (especially Space Station) shine steadily as creep eastward across sky Night stars are distant suns, really, really far away compared to our planet neighbors. If Earth penny size, moon 22” away, sun 730 ft. away (6.3 ft. wide), nearest star is 37,000 mi.away
Fall 2014 Planets Tell planet from bright * by planet’s steady light First number is month number / 2 nd is date All Fall, dim Mars seen low in Western dusk Bright Jupiter seen at dawn all thru the Fall In late December, Jupiter in late even. E sky
Best planet to see in Fall 2014 E Jupiter seen in in predawn sky East Jupiter seen in Late evening sky In Dec.
Jupiter as seen From spaceprobe with Great Red Spot shown by brackets
Easy Fall Stars & Groups Evening: Big Dipper below North Star 2 right Dipper stars point upward to N. Star Vega is brightest evening star in the West In Northeast is bright golden star Capella Right of Capella, 7 Sisters & * Aldeberan
B. Dipper & N. * on Fall Evenings North Star Pointers
Summer Triangle as seen in Fall Western evening sky Vega Deneb Altair
Capella, 7 Sisters & Aldebaran in the East on Fall Evenings 7 Sisters Aldebaran Capella
Let’s review once more… How to tell a planet from a star? Planet always brighter Planet shines steady Best Evening Planet this fall? Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Which part of Big Dipper points to N.Star? End of Scoop or Arch of Dipper’s Handle Write down your answers Answers: Planet shines steady, Venus, Scoop
Frequently asked questions What are falling stars? (Aka shooting stars) Nearly all are pea sized space grit burning up in our upper atmosphere. Only dust left. Can the planets line up like beads on string? No, orbits are tilted but even if they could, pull is extremely weak, compared to our moon. What keeps stars, planets floating in sky? There’s no up/down in space. Earth floats too!
Fall 2014 Moon Schedule Full Moon 10/8 (Dawn Lunar Eclipse) Mid Oct. ½ Morn. Moon (craters) 10/15 Late Oct. ½ Even. Moon (craters) 10/31 Full moon 11/6; then shrinks, seen in morn. Mid Nov. ½ Morn. Moon (craters) 11/14 Late Nov. ½ Even. Moon (craters) 11/29 Full Moon 12/6: then shrinks, seen in morn. Mid Dec. ½ Morn. Moon (craters) 12/14
When evening moon looks like a ‘D’, the sun is rising along left edge, lighting up the crater rims and mountains. This ‘D’ moon allows you to see craters & mountains with binoculars held steadily or with a small telescope on tripod (better). A week after the moon is full, you can see it In the morning day sky, as a backwards ‘D’. Even during the morning hours, you can see the craters & mountains on moon with binocular or a small telescope. Never look at SUN!
Send any sky questions to…. Bob Doyle Be sure that questions involve basics about sky, moon, planets and stars