Day 17: Planet Watch

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Students in IS II took a big metric quiz (biggest compliment complaint was, “Mr. Whiteley, you’re making me think!”). Astronomy class got checked out on their Stellarium skills and took a look at that they will be able to see this weekend on Saturday night at 8 pm in the west from our location. Pretty cool to take a look at it ahead of time.

Day 7: First Day in Planetarium

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My one elective class is astronomy with 15 students in grades 9-12. So far they have been the hardest working astronomy class I have had. After a couple of days in the classroom (using Stellarium and discussing seasons) we had class in the planetarium for the first time. We covered Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, and Draco. The students learned how to find Polaris and were surprised (as always) to learn it is not a particularly bright star. Our planetarium was built in 1970 and houses a 30′ dome and a Spitz A4 projector.

Day 5: Stellarium

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I can’t tell you in words how much I love Stellarium. My astronomy (elective) students begin the year figuring out the maximum sun angle, compass direction of sunrise and sunset, and length of day on the equinoxes and the solstices. We are able to chat about the seasons and what causes them. For those who finish early I have them investigate the total solar eclipse of 8/21/2017 by setting Stellarium to that date and a location in the path of totality.