ASTR-110 Astronomy Laboratory

ASTR-110 Astronomy Laboratory

Credit: 1 credit hour
4 Jun - 25 Jul 2007, Sun (Sa), 09:00 - 17:30h 10+17 JUN + 8+15 JUL
Updated 09-Apr-07 23:43h

LECTURER: Dr. Jiri Brezina
phone/-fax (civilian): 06223-7014/-3421
e-mail: jb@grano.de
Heidelberger Str. 68, Waldhilsbach
69151 Neckargemünd
business homepage: http://www.grano.de
GPS: N 49° 22’ 40.3687” = 49.377880205°; E 8° 46’ 08.5719” = 8.769047770°

GENERAL INFORMATION

The purpose of the lab is to complement the material presented in the lecture part of the class, ASTR-100, and the lecture is a pre-requisite or co-requisite for the lab. The lab provides the student with an opportunity to apply the principles discussed in the lecture part of the class.

The nature of the lab is such that students are encouraged to work in pairs or in groups if they choose, except for tests. Tests are strictly individual projects. Academic dishonesty on any quiz will earn a grade of F(a) for the lab.

Grading

Letter grades % of total possible points
A 90-100 %
B 80-89 %
C 70-79 %
D 60-69 %
F(a) 59% or fewer
F(n) failure for non-attendance
W withdrawal
I incomplete*

Quizzes are essentially open book tests where a student may use any resources except fellow students.

READING ASSIGNMENT

Date Ch. In/Out page Topics
5 Jun 1
I

II

III

IV
In 1
1
1
2
2
3
3
3
4
4
4
5
5
Introduction to Astronomical Telescopes

Types (lenses & mirrors: see chapter 9, p. 55 - 60):
Refracting
Reflecting
Combinations


Mountings
Altazimuth mtg (no polar axis available)
Equatorial (German) mtg
Fork mtg
Equatorial (English) mtg
Yoke mtg


Accessories Eyepieces, Camera, Finder telescope, Clock drive, Slow motion controls, Setting circles, Solar observing screen, Filters, Photometers, Spectroscopes, Polarimeters, Filar Micrometers, Image Tubes.

Telescope Performance Terms: Light gathering power, Resolving power, Magnification, Scale, Focal length, Focal (F) ratio (image brightness)
Homework 1: compare two types of telescopes (advantages/disadvantages); explain the advantage of mountings with available polar axis.
6 Jun 2
I
II
III
IV
V
Out 7
7
7
7
7
7
8
8
8
8
9
9
10
10
11
Constellations & the Celestial Sphere

Definitions: Celestial sphere
Zenith, Horizon
Altitude, Azimuth
Latitude, Longitude
Celestial poles, Celestial equator
Magnitude vs. brightness


Motion of the Stars
On the sky, all stars move due to the Earth’s rotation, on the northern hemisphere except Polaris

Polaris & the Observer’s Latitude
Find Polaris by Big Dipper’s pointers, Cassiopeia & Little Dipper’s handle

Limiting Magnitude Estimate the magnitude by comparing with those of known values in distinct constellations (use map)

Constellation Study
Browse through the sky
Quiz 1
11 Jun 3
I
II
III
IV
In 13
13
14
14
14
15
15
16
Experimental Measurements

Significant Figures Significant figures are important for reasonable rounding of numbers (different in addition/subtraction vs. multiplication/division).

Scientific Notation
Scientific notation is the standard in expressing numerical data. It takes the form of a decimal number from 1 to 10 that is multiplied by a factor consisting of the number ten raised to an integer power.

The Calculator
Exercise various operations with your calculator.

The Normal Curve of Errors
Repeating a measurement can decrease the errors and thus increase the data accuracy when all slightly changing results are properly processed: they show a Gaussian (normal) distribution around the average. Standard deviation (sigma) describes the spread of the variations. It is the square root of the average squared differences between the experimental values and their mean. Numerically, standard deviation is the variable’s value difference (interval), which limits 68% data around the mean; graphically, it is the half difference between the inflection points of the bell shaped curve.
13 Jun 5
I
II
III
IV
V
In 19
19
19
20
22
23
23
Interplanetary Travel

Planetary Orbits & Periods
Use Kepler’s third law to relate orbital period to the average distance of a planet from the Sun.

(Hohmann) Transfer Orbits (of a spacecraft).
See: http://www.nasa.gov/basics/bsf4-1.html. The spacecraft’s orbit is an ellipse with the Sun in one focus, the Earth’s orbit as perihelion, and the planet’s orbit as aphelion. The opportunity to launch a spacecraft on a transfer orbit to Mars occurs about every 25 months.

Velocities
Communicating with Earth
Return
Quiz 2
18 Jun 6
I
II
In 25
25
25
28
The Seasons
Sunshine at Summer & Winter Solstices Sun’s altitude depends on your latitude, the date, and daytime Questions You Can Answer with the Help of the Celestial Globe
20 Jun 6
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
In 31
31
31
32
33
34
36
The Temperature of the Earth
Introduction
Solar Luminosity
The Solar Energy Absorbed by the Earth
The Earth as a Black Body
The Atmosphere’s Influence: The Greenhouse Effect
Venus & Mars: Contrasting Extremes of the Greenhouse Effect
Quiz 3
23 Jun 7 FIELD TRIP 1: Earth around Pirmasens (compared with Mars)
25 Jun 8
I
II
III
IV
Out 39
40
41
41
42
Astronomical Systems of Time
Sidereal Time (ST)
Local Solar Time
Standard or Zone Time
Discussion
27 Jun 8
I
II
III
IV
V
Out 45
45
46
46
47
47
Observing with the Telescope,
Part I: Locating Celestial Objects
Star Charts & Setting Circles
Star Names & Designations
Sky Coordinates
Sidereal Time
Locating a Celestial Object
9 Jul 9
I
II
10
In

Out
55
55
59
61
61
62
63
64
Optics in Astronomy
Lenses
Mirrors

Observing with the Telescope, Part II: The Limitations of the Telescope
I Light-Gathering Power
II Resolving Power
III Focal Length & Magnification
IV Atmospheric Seeing.
11 Jul 11
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
In 67
68
68
70
71
72
74
74
75
The Moon
Gross Lunar Features
Types of Lunar Features
Properties of Maria
Relative Ages of Overlying Lunar Features
Heights of Lunar Features
Rilles
Relative Crater Ages
Crater Counting & the Highlands
14 Jul FIELD TRIP 2 (the date and sites are tentative): we'll meet at McDonald's, Heidelberg, Hebel Str. 4 klick on http://mail.map24.com/field_trip_hd. From there, we'll drive to (klick): Heidelberg: Max-Planck-Institute for Planetology and to Heidelberg Astronomical Observatory.
16 Jul 12
I
II
III
Out 97
97
98
98
Observing with the Telescope, Part III: Visual Observations of the Moon
Introduction
Full Moon
Partial Phases
18 Jul 13
I
II
III

14 I
II
III
In

Out
101
101
103
104
125
126
126
127
The Planets, Part I: Analysis of Observations
The Terrestrial Planets
The Jovian Planets
The General Properties of the Solar System
The Planets, Part II: Observations with the Telescope
Locating the Planets
Angular Sizes of the Planets
Visual Observations
23 Jul 15
I
II
III

16
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
Out
Out
129
129
130
132
137
137
137
138
139
141
141
Observing with the Telescope, Part IV: Visual Observations of the Sun
Solar Features
Solar Rotation
The Solar Spectrum
Measurement of Astronomical Distances
Introduction
Parallax
Survey Techniques
Triangulation in Astronomy
Measurements of Heliocentric Parallax
Laboratory Procedure
25 Jul FIELD TRIP 2

In the case of cloudy sky, and, depending on available equipment, we'll have to substitute the Out-of the class meetings by In-class exercises, and to choose from the following subjects:

Date Ch. In/Out Page Topics
17 In 153 Kepler’s Third Law & Masses in Astronomy
153
154
156
157
159
I Kepler’s Third Law
II The Mass of Jupiter
III Masses of Binary Stars
IV The Mass of the Milky Way Galaxy
V The Dark Matter Problem
18. Out 163 Photoelectric Photometry
163
165
166
166
I Introduction
II Multicolor Photometry
III Instrumental Magnitudes
IV Observations
19. In/Out 175 Spectroscopy in Astronomy
175
176
176
180
I The Spectroscope
II Kinds of Spectra
III Physical Observations
IV Astronomical Observations
20. In 181 Spectral Classification
181
182
184
187
I Astronomical Use
II Visual Classification
III Classification of Spectrograms
IV Examination of Other Spectra
21. In 205 The Hertzsprung – Russell Diagram
205
205
207
208
209
210
I Introduction
II The Nearest Stars
III Stars in Orion
IV Nearest versus Brightest Stars
V The Pleiades
VI Optional
22. Out 229 Telescopic Observing with Equatorial Mounting, Clock Drive, Setting Circles, and Slow Motion Controls
229
229
230
231
I Introduction
II Using the Telescope
III Finding a Celestial Object with an Equatorial Telescope
IV Star Hopping
23. In 233 Pulsars
233
233
235
I Introduction
II Characteristics of Pulsation
III Positions & Brightnesses of Pulsars
IV Pulsar Puzzlers (Optional)
24. In 245 Galactic Spiral Structure
245
246
250
I Introduction
II Optical Spiral Structure
III Optical – Radio Comparison
25. In 255 Astronomical Image Processing
255
256
I Introduction to Astronomical Images
II Computer Software Techniques
26. Out 263 CCD Photography at the Telescope
263
263
265
266
267
I Astronomical CCD Photography
II First Principles: Pixel Size & Resolution
III Setting Up Your CCD Equipment
IV Making the Exposure
V Image Processing
27. In 269 Classification of Galaxies
269
270
271
I Introduction
II Classifying from Photographs
III The Large Magellanic Cloud
28. In 295 Radial Velocity & the Hubble Law
295
297
298
I Radial Velocities from Spectral Line Measurements
II Distances of Galaxies
III The Hubble Law
FINAL EXAM
305 Appendix A: Fall Observing List
OUT 309 Appendix B: Finding List for October Celestial Objects
311 Appendix C: Spring Observing List
Out 315 Appendix D: Field Observing in March
325 – 326 Appendix E: Aligning a Telescope Axis