One nighttime observing project is required in this semester's AST 111:

Revolution of the moons of Uranus, Neptune and Jupiter, Kepler’s third law, and Newton’s law of gravity

Jupiter and the Galilean moons, at 02:00 24 April 2002 UT, by the students of AST 142, using the Mees 24" telescope. Left to right: Ganymede, Callisto, Jupiter, Io, Europa.

The project involves a lot of data, taken over a time span of a month or more, so the entire class -- working in teams of 2-4 at a time -- will participate in the observations and data reduction. We will be using a CCD camera on the 24” telescope at Mees Observatory. The observations will commence in early September and go until the winter weather shuts us down, toward mid-October. Naturally, this will all take place outside of class time, and needs for the sky to be clear (preferably cloudless and moonless), so a good deal of schedule flexibility and spontaneity will be demanded.

Though everyone will share the data, each student will carry out his or her own analysis, and independently write his or her own project report. Please read the article on report format, to see what the expectations are for these reports, and to see the level of detail and analysis that should be recorded and carried out for the project. The Excel spreadsheet jupiter.xls may also be helpful in the analysis. Reports will be due on 3 November, in class.

The C.E.K. Mees Observatory is located near Bristol Springs, about an hour’s drive south of campus. We will carpool to get there.

Click here to go to the AST 111 Wiki, to fetch your raw data and to post your results.