The Observing Program in the DRL Observatory
The night sky may be a familiar sight to you, but
you will probably gaze at it from a different perspective once
you complete this course. To this end, we have developed an observing
program intended to be as fun as it is instructive. You will have
the opportunity to observe gems of the night including the Moon,
Jupiter, and the Andromeda Galaxy, while at the same time you will learn where
they loom above you and how to recognize them. Flexible and convenient,
the program invites you to choose from a selection of observing
projects that suit your interests and to choose what night you
wish to observe. So, go boldly!
- One roof-top projects: self-scheduled during observing
hours. Hour long observing sessions are held during the day and
at night for your convenience. Optionally, you can do a second project,
and your grade will then be the best of the two.
Choose from the following
- The Sun--view sunspots and prominences
- Our Moon --identify a mystery region on the Moon
- Andromeda -- our neighbor galaxy
- Cygnus --see Galactic clusters of stars
- Jupiter --observe the stormy planet and the Galilean satellites
- Saturn --observe the ring planet
- Uranus and Neptune --see the distant planets
Procedure for observing projects
- Plan ahead now; set
aside a few evenings and afternoons in your schedule for possible observing.
Your project will only take an hour to complete, but the weather
is notoriously unreliable. Be sure to leave more than one
"rain-date" open early in the semester.
- Make a reservation
at the Astro 7 website (click on
Observatory Reservations ).
- You will not be admitted to the observatory without a reservation.
- You must cancel in advance any reservation for sessions you are
unable to attend. You do not need to cancel reservations for sessions which
are cancelled due to bad weather.
- If you do not show up for a reserved time, you will not
be admitted to later sessions.
- On the day you plan to observe, check the
weather out your window. Chances are, if you think it looks
miserable, the observatory will be closed. Then, cancel that reservation
and sign up for another night. If in doubt, check the
If the weather looks promising, and you haven't yet reserved a
space, you may do so at the last minute. However, please understand that space
is limited (space on the roof, that is); only 15 students can
be accommodated in the observatory at a time. If you wait until
the last minute, all spaces may be filled.
- Get to the observatory on time
floor of DRL). Once you arrive, pick up a project worksheet.
Only one project will be available to you on a given night. Details
for each project will be explained to you at the beginning of
the observing session, so please arrive promptly.
- After you complete your telescope observations,
you will be instructed to move to another location, if necessary,
to complete the worksheet. Take a pencil and calculator
- Please turn in the project and worksheet
to your instructor by the stamped due date (one week from the
actual date of the observations).
The rooftop project counts as 5% of your semester grade.
The long-term observing project counts as 10% of your semester grade.