When you wish upon a star, wouldn’t it be good to know which star it is and what constellation it lies in? Objects in the night sky can be pinpointed with a little understanding of the celestial sphere and its coordinates. Hands-on activities using star charts will serve to bring the point home.
Purpose: This class is based on an appreciation and understanding of the night sky and how to locate objects within it. To accomplish this aim, concepts are developed with reference to circles and angular distances within and across constellation boundaries around the earth.
Teaching Method: Screen sharing using an MS PowerPoint slides with incredible images and exciting video clips. Clarifying questions can be asked through live interaction, and time for addressing in depth questions submitted via the chat box will be given at the end of the slides.
Materials: The provided PDF packet must be printed BEFORE the class. It includes a Daily Observation Log with instructions for the student to record their own observations of the night sky in their back yard or a nearby park or schoolyard as a homework assignment. It also includes some STEM hands-on activities described by topic below. Students will need a pen or pencil to write and draw with.
• Celestial sphere and angular measurements
• Celestial coordinates of right ascension and declination
• Using star charts
• Sidereal motion
• Messier objects
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Using an orrery and other digitally graphic mechanical models of the solar system, galaxy and universe, positions and motions according to the heliocentric model are represented.
The Universe and Its Stars
Stellar birth, evolution, death, size, brightness, color, number and distribution are illustrated in a variety of ways, including their distances and patterns formed in the sky with asterisms and constellations.