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SkyGazer Observing Exercises, Term Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 742

Term Paper

Question 1

  1. On January 31, 1997, the Sun rose at 8:14 a.m., SE at azimuth 117.0 degrees and set at 5:26 p.m., SW at azimuth 243.2 degrees. On September 24, 1997, the sun rose at 7:26 a.m., E at azimuth 89.9 degrees and set at 7:29 p.m., W at azimuth 269.7 degrees.
  2. The rise and set times in the info panel agreed with the rise and set times in the time panel.

Question 2

  1. I was born March 18, 1986. On that day the sun rose at 6:43:47 a.m. and set at 6:46:02 p.m.
  2. On this day the moon rose at 10:00:55 a.m. and set at 03:09:18 a.m.
  3. The moon phase angle was at 85.4 degrees and the lunar phase was waxing gibbous
  4. The illumination percentage of the moon when it crossed the meridian was 60.4 percent and the lunar phase was waxing gibbous

Question 3

  1. By using the appropriate time step I found that at 08:34:23 a.m. on December 25, 2000 there was a solar eclipse
  2. The eclipse ended at roughly 10:37:23 a.m.
  3. The eclipse started at roughly 6:24 a.m. and at 114° 05’ 00.0” W, 51° 03’ 00.0” N
  4. The extremum occurred at roughly 09:39:23 a.m.
  5. In Anchorage, Alaska, this eclipse ended at roughly 08:31:23 a.m.
  6. From this same location, the eclipse started at 06:46:23 a.m. and at 149° 53’ 00.0”W, 61° 10’ 00.0” N
  7. From this location, the extremum occurred at roughly 07:35:23 a.m.
  8. In Phoenix, Arizona, the eclipse ended at roughly 10:16:23 a.m.
  9. From this same location the eclipse started at roughly 08:59:23 a.m. and at 112° 04’ 00.0”W, 33°28’00.0”N
  10. From this location, the extremum occurred at roughly 09:32:23 a.m.
  11. From the information gathered it would seem that viewing this eclipse from Calgary would be the best location. In addition to being relatively close to the horizon, the eclipse appears to have happened more fully. In other words, the moon covered a larger area of the sun from the perspective of Calgary, than any of the other two locations.
  12. Solar eclipses are rare because it only happens during a new moon and no more than two eclipses during a one-year period can be total eclipses. Up to five solar eclipses occur annually but only along the earth’s surface which is traced by the moon’s umbra.

Question 4

  1. The moon and all the planets are moving in an anti-clockwise direction while the stars appear to be standing still. This is because the movement of the moon and the planets are viewed from the perspective of earth, which is moving anti-clockwise.
  2. The planet acting strange is identified as Mars. While all the other planets were moving in an anti-clockwise direction, Mars was moving in a clockwise direction. This movement was first noticed on October 27, 2005. This can be attributed to what astronomers call ‘opposition’ and happens when the sun, earth, and mars form a straight line.
  3. As the months progressed from July 2005 to October 2005, Mars’ illumination increased. The planet was brightest in October 2005, which is also the time it was the biggest (20.2 arc seconds). This makes sense because at that point Mars was closest to the earth then.

Question 5

  1. The moon and Saturn come as close to one another as possible at approximately 07:47:00 a.m. on September 10, 2001
  2. At the time when the moon and Saturn are closest together, the size of the moon is 31.7 arc minutes and Saturn is not visible. However, at 6 a.m. Saturn is NW from the moon and the distance between them, measured with a ruler, is approximately two inches
  3. North from Calgary, the moon and Saturn do not seem to meet at any one point. South of Calgary the two remain separated by a great distance. From the information gathered it seems that Calgary would be the ideal place to witness the occultation. Occultation is the largest at an altitude of +59 degrees, which is at 6:51 a.m. It starts at 6:42 a.m. and ends at roughly 7 a.m.

Question 6

  1. Press the ‘chart’ button and make sure the location is set to Calgary, Canada. Then set the date to September 10, 2011 at 6 a.m. On the bottom left corner of the screen, adjust the screen size to zoom in at 60 degrees. Find the moon and click on the center of it. The ‘info’ screen will come up. Click ‘center’ on the ‘info’ screen, then press ‘lock’. In the info box, under ‘transits’, it says ‘no transits today’. What does this mean? Now, move forward in time at a pace of one day at a time. See if that message changes. If so, why?
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