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SkyGazer 1: Days and Seasons


Name: ________________ Barry Spurlock Date: ________________ 1/23/2013

Watch the SkyGazer Introductory Video (its located in the Introductory Module) and setup SkyGazer for your viewing location.

Launch SkyGazer.

DAILY MOTION. In this section, you will see how the sky changes through the day. 1. Select the Display Menu and then click on Sky and Horizon. Put a check in the box next to Cardinal Points. This will turn on markers for compass headings on your screen. 2. Use the time panel to set the time of day to around 3:00 p.m. on todays date. One way you can do this is by setting the step value to 5 minutes and then clicking the > or < buttons to move forward or backward in time. Use the mouse (left-click and hold) to pan around and find the Sun in the sky. Once you have found the Sun, cause time to move forward until the Sun sets. Do this by setting the time step to 5 minutes or less and clicking on the > button. (the buttons with the bar l> and <l move forward and backward one step per click) As the Sun moves, you may have to use the mouse to pan around to keep it in the view. Stop the movie at about sunset. Describe the location on the horizon where the Sun sets- (due west, north of west, south of west, etc.) ________________________ In between Southwest and West 3. The exact time of sunsets is defined as the time when the upper edge of the Sun just disappears below the horizon. What time does the Sun set? Be as accurate as possible. Sunset:_________________ about 5:55 pm

4. Use the time panel to move back in time until the Sun is in view. Center the crosshairs on the Sun and click on the Sun. The info panel should pop up. Click on the visibility tab of the info panel and check the time of sunset with your value. Does off by about 4 mins it agree with your original estimate? _____________ 5. Continue the movie (forward in time) until the sky is real dark, and then stop it. This is the sky you can see outside tonight. Do you recognize any constellations? Probably not, unless you know the sky well. You can identify the constellations by clicking the Display menu at the top of the screen, select Constellations and click Show Modern Outlines. Click on Display menu again, select Labels, then click on Constellations. If the Show Labels doesnt have a check mark by it, click on it to turn on the labels.


Name 3 or 4 constellations in the western sky. Lacerta Pisces ______________________ ________________________ Andromeda ______________________ ________________________ Pegasus

IDENTIFYING STARS 7. Start the movie again and watch the western sky until the sky brightens tomorrow morning. When morning comes, stop the movie. Describe the stars motions in the western sky during the night. (Run it again if you need to.) ____________________________________________________________________ The stars seem to be moving down to the right. The stars set the same way the ____________________________________________________________________
sun does, when it comes to motion.

8. To learn what some of the brightest objects are, move the crosshairs over an object in the night sky and click it. Click on some of the brighter objects and record the names of five of them in the column at left. Notice whether any of them are planets. ___________________________ Sirius Capella ___________________________ ___________________________ Procyon ___________________________ Moon Elnath ___________________________

Canis Major _________________________ Auriga _________________________ _________________________ Canis Minor Orion _________________________ Taurus _________________________

9. For each of the bright objects you identified at left, use the column at right above to list the constellation that it is in.. (You may have a tough time deciding what constellation a planet is in if it seems to be between two of them. Well come back to this problem later. For now, make an estimate of which constellation the object is in.) SUNRISE AND SUNSET POSITIONS 10. Use the mouse to pan around and find tomorrows sunrise. Describe the location of sunrise (due east, south of due east, north of due east). (You may have to move time forward or backwards to put the Sun right on the horizon.) _____________________________________________________ South of Due East 11. The sunrise time is defined as when the edge of the Sun first appears. What time will the Sun rise tomorrow? ___________________________________________. about 7:15 am Check it another way. 7:46 ___________. am 12. Figure out what constellation the Sun is in by clicking on the Display menu and clicking on Natural Sky. This turns off the effect of our atmosphere. Without the atmosphere, the daytime sky would appear black and the stars would be visible even during the day. Next, go back to the Display menu, select Constellations, and then click on Show Official Boundaries. What constellation is the Sun in? ________________________________________



After determining where the Sun is, turn the boundaries off. While you are in that window, however, turn off the stick figures and turn on Mythological Figures. Neat huh? Before going to the next step, reset the constellations to stick figures and go back to the Display menu and turn on Natural Sky.

THE SUN AT ASTRONOMICAL NOON 13. Use the mouse to pan around to follow the Sun as you advance time until you reach astronomical noon. This the time when the Sun is directly south, straight above the southern horizon. To help you determine where directly south is, click the Display menu, select Reference Markers. If there is not a check mark by Show Reference Markers click it. Once Show Reference Markers is checked, come back and select Meridian. Turn off all other reference markers. Use the Time Panel to move forward in time until the Sun is centered on the Meridian. It may be easier to get it centered if you change the time step to 1 minute once you are close. Notice that the Sun does not cross this line at 12:00 PM. At what clock time does astronomical noon occur tomorrow? _____________________________ 12:50 To confirm your value, click on the Sun and go to the Visibility Tab. The transit time in the info panel is the time the Sun crosses the meridian, which is astronomical noon.

1 min off Does it agree with your estimate? _________________

Why do you think astronomical noon does not occur exactly at 12 PM for us? I'd imagine it has something to do with the ______________________________________________________________ 14. Determine the Suns altitude at noon today. (From now on, noon means astronomical noon). The altitude at noon is also shown in the info panel by Transit. What is the exact altitude listed? ___________________ +33 15' 23.8 15. Now well look at how the Suns noon-time altitude changes through the year. In the time window, set the time period for 1 month. Click the advance single step button to advance time by 1 month. (It is the button which looks like |> ) The Sun might move slightly away from directly south. That is ok: it wont change our results much. (This is not a program error-the real Sun does that.) Keep advancing 30 days at a time until the Sun reaches its greatest altitude. Once you have gotten to that point, change the time step to 1 day and start changing the day until you determine as accurately as possible when the Sun reaches maximum altitude at noon. What date is this? _____________________________ June 22nd, 2013 16. Do the same for when the Sun has the least altitude at noon. December ________________ 20th, 2013

orbit and how its not a perfect circle???

SUNRISE AND SUNSET THROUGH THE SEASONS 17. Really accurate answers to the previous two questions will tell you the first day of summer and the first day of winter (but if you are a few days off, it wont matter here). Well investigate what happens on these days. Set the day to what you have determined as the first day of summer, when the Sun has its greatest astronomical noontime altitude. Set the time to around 3 AM. Now look eastward and make time advance until sunrise. Record the location and time of sunrise (north of east, due east, south of east). Sunrise Location: _______________________ North of due east am Time: 6:15 _________________________

18. Find the location and time of sunset that same day. Sunset Location: _______________________ North of due west 9:02 pm Time:__________________________

19. Finally, determine how much time passes from sunrise to sunset on this first day of summer and the Suns highest altitude on this day. Hours from Sunrise to Sunset: __________________________________________ around 15 hours Suns highest altitude: _______________________________________________ +75 41' 40.6" 20. Repeat steps 18 and 19 for the first day of winter.
South of due east Sunrise location: _________________ Sunset location: South __________________ of due west 7:48 am Time: __________________ Time: __________________ 5:21 pm

about 9 hours and 33 mins Time between sunrise and sunset: __________________

Suns highest altitude: _______________ _______________________________ +28 51' 47.1"

21. Step 15-16, and then steps 18-20, showed you the two reasons that summer is hotter than winter. State these two reasons. #1. __________________________________________________________________ According to my observations it seems that the sun is out longer during the summer time, therefore more __________________________________________________________________ light and heat from the sun throughout the days. __________________________________________________________________ #2. __________________________________________________________________ Also my observations show that the altitude between summer and winter has a very significant difference. Since the sun rises closer to the north does __________________________________________________________________ that perhaps mean that that the sun is directly over our hemisphere? __________________________________________________________________

22. There are two more special solar days during the year. On these days the Sun rises directly east. Find those days. (Intelligent guessing will make this easier.) For each of these days, record the time of sunrise. Also on each of these days, determine where the Sun sets and what time it sets. For accurate timing, I hope that you have discovered how to make single-step changes (|> and <| ). Finally, calculate the length of the daylight periods - sunrise to sunset - on each of these days. Month and Day Sunrise time Sunset time Sunset location Length of day
Sept 21 7:24 am 7:35 pm west about 12 hrs March 20th 7:40 am 7:49 pm west about 12 hrs

You made some estimates above when you determined sunrise times and sunset times. In addition, you may not have chosen exactly the correct day when the Sun rises due east. The correct day would have been the first day of spring and the first day of fall. 23. Determine which planets are visible tonight. Set the time for 9 pm. Click Labels under the Display menu, then Planets. List the planets visible tonight and where in the sky they appear (east, south, west). Jupiter is in the east. Uranus __________________________________________________________________ is southwest. I can't seem to __________________________________________________________________ find any others. __________________________________________________________________ 24. Is the Moon visible at 9 pm tonight? If so where is it? _______________________ South of due east What time did it rise today? _________________________ 3:30 pm