ASTR 403 Homework 4 : Stellarium activity

1. First, install Stellarium from - there are downloads for both Mac and PC (and Linux). Write here the version you installed (e.g. 0.10.6 : ______). Does it start up as fisheye, or horizon? ______

2. (2 pt) Notice the popouts at the left and at the bottom. The top one on the left sets your location. Use -93 degrees longitude, and 30N latitude, or use your own GPS to set it more accurately. Does it give you a bright sky or a dark sky? (it should use your computer's clock to give it the time of day). If you are in daylight, select "a" to get rid of the atmosphere. Move the time forwards (by pressing "L" repeatedly, each time you press it goes faster, then "K" to return to sidereal time. To go backwards, press "J" repeatedly and then again K to stop. Stop when the Sun is in your field of view, facing south, around local noon. (use your right and left arrows to face south). Click on the Sun to center it. You can zoom in a bit by pressing "Page up". Are the Planets labeled? If not, press "p". Which planets are to the right of the Sun? Which planets are to the left of the Sun? Think... which ones (left or right) will be morning planets? which ones evening planets? Which one(s) are too close to the Sun to see right now?

3. Move the days ahead by one day at at time by pressing "+" or back by pressing "-". Go forward a (solar) week at a time by pressing "]" or back by pressing "[". Watch how the planets move relative to the Sun. Which planet will be in conjunction with the Sun next (the same direction as the Sun)? ____________ When will that occur? _______

4. Mercury doesn't stray very far from the Sun. What day will it be farthest from the Sun, on the left of the Sun? _________ roughly how many degrees away? _______ What day will it next be farthest from the Sun, on the right side of the Sun?________ Roughly how many degrees away? ______

5. Hit "n" to turn on nebulas. What nebulas will be visible on Feb 26 when we are observing? What is the apparent magnitude of the Andromeda Galaxy? ______ the Orion Nebula? _____ (use the "find" to find them and then look at their data in the upper left).

6. How far away does Stellarium say Betelgeuse is? _______ What does it give for its apparent _____and absolute magnitude_____?

7. What does Stellarium say is the apparent _____ and absolute magnitude _______ for Rigel? So how far away is it? (Calculate!)

8. Set the time to your next birthday. When is that? __________ What constellation is the Sun REALLY in on your birthday? _______ What is the closest planet to the Sun on that day? ___________

Last updated 2/28/2011