Astronomy (and other Space Sciences)

Note: Suggested word counts are for guidelines only. Do not be afraid to pass in less of high quality work, or more if you feel it is necessary. in an attractive 8.5 x 11 format. In major assignments, appearance counts! your bibliography if your project includes a written component. This assignment is to be handed in to me directly. Do not put it into the minor assignment drop box. Choose one of the following options, or contact me to discuss a possible additional project. 1) Use the Burke Gaffney Observatory (BGO) to locate and sketch one of the brighter deep space objects currently visible. The telescope operator will have a list of suggestions. Download a few images of this object from the Internet. Compare the two images, and research more information about the type of object youve captured. Write a short paper (500 words or so) answering such questions as what is it, how did it form, how long will it last, is it visibly changing in any way in an observable time frame? Finally, describe for me what it might be like to see this object from a very close distance. Try to be scientifically accurate in your description. 2) Sketch a detailed map of the moon through a telescope operating at a magnification of 50 times or higher. Note: The Moon is not visible every evening some planning is needed here! This could be the BGO, or a telescope you own or borrow. Your sketch should show the major features visible, and some detail. Take your time, and use a soft pencil. This task is more difficult than it sounds, but the results can be quite satisfying. Include with your drawing a short (200 words) note about when, where, what instrument used the sky conditions and your feelings about the effort. I suspect you will never look at the moon in the same way again. 3) Use the robotic observing capabilities of the Burke-Gaffney Observatory (BGO) is to gain some experience in using an optical telescope for imaging and interpretation of the images produced. You are to obtain images of at least two different types of objects. Telescopic images will not usually record the same information that is provided in textbook or internet-sourced images, so the project is in part a learning exercise as to what exactly can be detected with a small telescope from a light- polluted city. Detailed information about using the observatorys robotic interface is here: http://www.ap.smu.ca/pr/bgo-useme/howto You can interact with it by email or Twitter. The first thing you need to do is to request access. Do this right away. In the request be sure to include your full name and the course number. That will get you increased priority compared to non-student users. Do not delay starting this project to near the end of the term. There are a limited number of clear nights available! Submit your observation by no later than November 1 to ensure that it will be done in time. Choose at least two objects of different types (cluster, galaxy, nebula, etc.). These objects have to be suitable for the location of the observatory, the season, and other parameters. Use this FAQ to help choose suitable objects: http://www.ap.smu.ca/pr/bgo-useme/faq#faq1 Submit the chosen objects to the telescopes queue. The default exposure and filter settings should be ok for most objects. You can have no more than 3 observation requests in the queue at a time. You can monitor the queue and access completed observations here (you are also tweeted or emailed when your observations have been done): http://www.ap.smu.ca/pr/bgo-useme/queues The completed observations are provided in jpeg format and in raw fits format upon request. The jpeg image is processed to make a nice recognizable image. If you wish to try adjusting the image in an image editor, it may be best to start with the fits image (but you will need to find a converter or fits image viewer program). Write-Up: You should provide supplementary information about each object along with each image. Include the unique request ID of the image, date of exposure, exposure time and filter used. Describe some of the general properties of the type of object you observed, and compare your image with any existing photographs that are available of the object, either in your textbook or from online sources. Explain what useful scientific function could be gained from imaging the two (or more) objects you studied. Be specific. A long, drawn-out description of the specific type of object observed, as can be found in any textbook for example, is not what is wanted. Rather, your description should address the nature of the individual object of observation, and what purpose is served, or can be served, by imaging that object. What can be learned about the object through imaging, and how is such information of use to astronomers?Write-Up: You should provide supplementary information about each object along with each image. Include the unique request ID of the image, date of exposure, exposure time and filter used. Describe some of the general properties of the type of object you observed, and compare your image with any existing photographs that are available of the object, either in your textbook or from online sources. Explain what useful scientific function could be gained from imaging the two (or more) objects you studied. Be specific. A long, drawn-out description of the specific type of object observed, as can be found in any textbook for example, is not what is wanted. Rather, your description should address the nature of the individual object of observation, and what purpose is served, or can be served, by imaging that object. What can be learned about the object through imaging, and how is such information of use to astronomers? 4) Obtain an all sky chart for the current month from the observatory, or from me, or from www.ap.smu.ca/pr/images/observatory/bgocharts.pdf. Find a nice dark place to observe the evening sky. Using the sky chart, orientate yourself with the brighter stars in the sky and use the chart to get your bearings. Now, lay back, and watch for satellites. When you see one, note on the chart where it was when you first sighted it, and then follow the satellite as long as you can, and note the spot where it disappears. Draw a line connecting the two points, thus plotting the satellites track in the sky on your star chart. Watch for an hour, and write up a short note describing the experience, the conditions, the weather and so on. Check online to see if you can identify which satellite you have observed. Comment on the amount of objects you see and the implications for low Earth orbiting space flight. 5) From a specific location, (i.e., your bedroom window, or whatever) sketch or photograph the exact sunrise point for a bunch of different dates. Show how the sun moves further north as the year progresses. Include a short (300 words or so) write up explaining in your own words what causes this seasonal movement of the sunrise point back and forth along the eastern horizon.Study and sketch one of the major constellations in the night sky. Locate one of the brighter constellations, and sketch all the stars in it that are visible from a location inside the urban area of Halifax, Include all of the constellations area. Now travel to a dark sky location, at least 20 kilometers away from any urban light pollution, and fatten the same sketch by adding the additional stars that are now visible Use a different symbol for each of the new faint stars that you can now see. Write a short note (500 words or so) about light pollution. 7) Choose a specific object from the following list of types of objects. 1) nebulae 2) open cluster 3) globular cluster 4) dark nebulae 5) super nova remnant 6) galaxyThen: Use internet research (include your list of URLs) to write a 1000-1200 word paper about your chosen object. Please include graphics where applicable. The types of questions you should answer might include the following: How big is it? How long has it been there. Describe its basic characteristics. What is its composition? Can we observe it? How? How long will it last. Could there be life there? Is it beautiful? Exactly how did it form