Astronomy assignment

I need a help with my Astronomy Assignment, please!


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A.              Observations

Collect 5 observations of the moon.  You may not list more than one observation for a particular day.  Observations can be made in the daytime or at night.  Observations can be made all at the same location, or at different locations — you can work on this project while traveling, if you wish.


Each observation will consist of the following information:

(1) Local Date and local time.  Please include your time zone.

(2) Time in Universal Coordinated Time (see below)

(3) Location.  Give latitude and longitude of your location within 5 degrees. (see below)

(4) If the moon is visible, give the approximate direction (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, or NW) and the approximate elevation of the moon in degrees.  (see below)

(5) Is the moon crescent (less than half lit), half-lit, gibbous (more than half-lit) or full?  (You may find pages 30 and 31 in your book to be helpful.)  You don’t need to identify waxing vs waning.


Example observation:

(1) Local Date and Time: June  5, 2009, 6:00 AM GMT+12 time zone

(2) UTC: January 4, 2007, 1800 hours UTC

(3) Location: 10 deg North, 165 deg East

(4) Direction: SE;   Elevation: 20 degrees

(5) Moon shape: Crescent


Universal Coordinated Time


Universal coordinated time (UTC or UT) is the way astronomers refer to the time of a particular event or observation.  It helps people who are scattered all over the world (like our class) to have a common time to refer to, so that time zones and conversions between them don’t confuse everyone.


UTC is also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  The military uses the term Zulu time for UTC or GMT.


UTC is the local time at 0 degrees longitude (Greenwich, England) without any daylight savings time or similar alterations.


You can get the current GMT time by exploring some of the websites in the Webiolography.


Finding Your Location


If you have access to a good atlas, that is a good way to find your latitude and longitude.  Otherwise, check out  It has information usable to people world wide.


Measuring Elevation


Hold a closed fist at arm’s length.  That’s about 10 degrees.  Stretch out your hand, and hold at arm’s length.  That’s about 20 degrees.  Use your hand to measure the distance between the moon and the horizon. 


B.     Quantitative reasoning

a.       If a quasar is 100 times more luminous than a bright galaxy (absolute magnitude about -21), what is the absolute magnitude of the quasar?   If this quasar was located at the center of the our galaxy, what would it’s apparent magnitude be?  How does that compare to other objects in the Earth’s sky?

b.      If the RR Lyrae stars in a globular cluster have an apparent magnitude of 15, how far away is the cluster?


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