For homework, students will observe the night time sky in much they same way as they did during the day.
- Writing utensils
- Magnetic compass
- Recording device from Activity 2
- Flashlight which has been prepared for night time viewing
Students should review techniques for night-time observation before starting this activity.
The needle of a magnetic compass will not point exactly to the North Pole. This is because the needle point to the north pole of the Earth's magnetic field. This north pole is different from the geographical North Pole at the top of the Earth. Although the needle will not point to the North Pole that was determined in previous activities, its okay to use it in this activity.
This activity is meant to be done as homework.
- Instruct your students to use a magnetic compass to locate north on their horizon.
- Have the students use the recording device they constructed in Activity 2 to record what they see in the night sky by drawing what they see every fifteen degrees until they reach the zenith.
- Instruct your students to staple their drawings into their journals.
Ask your students to use their drawing to answer the following questions.
- Did you recognize any stars that you knew?
- Did you see the moon?
- Did you observe alone or did someone help you? Could you observe alone?
Students should answer the following questions in their journals and be prepared to discuss their answers in class.
- Why was locating due North important?
- Why did you need a magnetic compass?
- How did the recording device help you?
Star charts are maps to the night sky for a particular date and location. (Due to the Earth's rotation around the sun, the stars appear to move across the sky.) By drawing what they see in the sky, students have created their own star charts for their location on that particular date. In future lessons, they will use prepared star charts to locate specific stars and constellations.
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