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Natural Science - Year I

Unit 28 Lab: Lunar craters and Sunspot observations

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Lab for Unit 28


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Natural Science Unit 28 Laboratory Activity: More of Galileo's Observations

Goal: Repeat some of Galileo's observations of the surface of the Moon and sunspots.

Materials and Equipment:

  1. Binoculars or a 4" telescope with magnification of at least 8X
  2. Sky and Telescope, planetarium program, or website for planning observation
  3. Sketch paper

Procedure:

Observing the Moon
  1. Using Sky and Telescope, or another source, identifie with the Moon will be near first quarter (half the lunar surface will be in shadow, half in sunlight, and the shadows from craters will be maximized across the greatest surface.
  2. Carefully observe the limb of the moon (the edge against the background sky), and the terminator (edge of the sun's light). Can you identify areas where craters extend above the normal surface, to "prove" that mountains exist on the moon?
Observing Sunspots
  1. This is trickier.

    NEVER OBSERVE THE SUN DIRECTLY THROUGH ANY TELESCOPE OR BINOCULARS *UNLESS* YOU HAVE A PROPERLY RATED SOLAR FILTER FOR THE EYEPIECE.

  2. Using your binoculars or telescope, let the sun shine directly down the tube and out the eyepiece. Position the telescope or binoculars so that the light coming out the eyepiece will fall on a piece of paper.
  3. Draw the edge of the sun and locate sunspots; map any solar "imperfections".
  4. Repeat your observations over several days. Can you identify the same sunspot cluster over time? How does it change position on the surface of the sun?

Report