Observing Form (MSWord)

Project Instructions – Please Read Thoroughly!
For this assignment, you must attend an Observing Night at the Campus Teaching Observatory
(http://www.astro.ufl.edu/outreach/publicnight.html), and then answer the questions on this form
(attached after this instruction page) about the celestial objects you viewed during your visit. This
Observing Project Report is worth 20% of your final course grade.
The Observing Nights occur every Friday night during term (except holidays), plus one Tuesday
per month, from 8:30-10:00 PM, weather permitting. To complete this assignment, you must go
to one of the Observing Nights, sign your name in the sign-in book, observe at least two objects,
receive a token from the person running the observing, and then submit this report along with the
token. Take this assignment handout with you to sketch your observations and take notes on
what you saw at the telescope! To receive the token, you must be able to view a minimum of
two astronomical objects during your visit. If the weather is cloudy, and you do not observe at
least two objects, you will not receive the token, and you will have to return for another visit
during better weather to complete this assignment. So do not wait until the last possible date to go
to the Observatory (see schedule below) - if it is cloudy, you may find yourself out of luck.
Your report will be given a grade out of 100 points based on both its content and the writing
quality. This means I expect the report to be spell-checked, readable, and written with good
grammar and paragraph structure. The completed form should be submitted to me in class as a
hard copy, with the observing token stapled. Reports with handwritten answers (aside from the
required sketch) will not be accepted. For your convenience, you can download a MS word copy
from the class webpage. Do not change the 12-point font size or the 1.5-line spacing (do not use
double-space), and do not adjust the document margins. For the online research that will most
likely be needed, Wikipedia may be used as a starting point only and may not be cited as a source.
To keep the Observatory from being too crowded on any particular night, and to ensure everyone
does not wait until the last week of term to complete this assignment, I am dividing the class
alphabetically by last name and assigning Observing Nights and due dates as follows. Each
student has four opportunities to attend an Observing Night – three Fridays and one Tuesday –
prior to the assignment due date. To ensure that everyone has equal knowledge of their grades
during the course, your score for this assignment will not be posted until the due date for the last
group has passed. Please note that if you are in one of the later groups, you may attend an
earlier observing night – you do not have to wait until the specified dates.
First Letter of Your
Last Name
A to J
K to T
U to Z
Observing Nights Available (three
Fridays and one Tuesday (T)
15 Jan, 19 Jan (T), 22 Jan, 29 Jan
5 Feb, 9 Feb (T), 12 Feb, 19 Feb
11 Mar, 15 Mar (T), 18 Mar, 25 March
Due Date
22 Feb
14 Mar
11 Apr
If you have a conflict (religious or work-related) such that you are unable to attend any Friday or
Tuesday night during term, please contact me by email or in person no later than the end of
January so that alternative arrangements can be made. If you do not identify yourself as having a
conflict by then, I will assume you are able to potentially attend two evening sessions (to account
for the possibility of poor weather) and will complete the assignment as scheduled and on time.
Observatory Report
Attach Token Here:
Name: _________________________________
Date of observation: _____________
You must obtain a token from
the observatory staff during
your visit to the observatory.
Time of observation: _____________
1. Make a sketch of both objects you observe at the Campus Teaching Observatory (choose any
two if you observed more than two). Include the type of object (e.g. planet), name (e.g. Jupiter)
and approximate distance of each object from Earth (you may look for this information in your
textbook or online but give a reference for your number). Incorporate details in your sketch as
appropriate for the object, for example, object color, and/or relative positions and brightness (if
you see multiple objects simultaneously through the eyepiece). Sketch only what you see through
the telescope, NOT what you think it should look like or what it looks like in pictures.
Object Name:
Object Type:
Object Distance:
Object Type:
Object Distance:
Object Name:
2. Describe what you observed through the telescope. Try to be as detailed and specific as
possible. For example, describe the color, shape, or brightness of each object. Describe only what
you saw through the telescope, NOT what you think it should look like or what it looks like in
pictures. If the view through the telescope varied much from your expectations, please describe
how and explain why you think the objects look different.
3. Explain the nature (type of object) and astronomical significance (e.g., why it is important for
astronomers to study this object or type of objects) of both of the objects you observed. Look for
this information in your textbook or online. Provide references (NOT Wikipedia!) for where you
found your information.
4. Choose one of your objects. Find a news article written about this object or class of objects
published in the last 5 years (e.g. from a newspaper/magazine or online news site). Briefly
summarize the article. Describe how this article relates to information you have learned in class.
Did it present new information about the object(s) that you did not already know? Based upon
your knowledge from class, do you find the reporting in this article to be accurate? Please explain.
Please reference your article. The format of the reference is at your discretion, but should contain
sufficient information to find the original article.
5. Choose one of your objects (it can be the same one used in #4). Think about a question you
have about this object or type of object, and how you would go about finding the answer. Write
down (a) the question you would like to investigate; (b) what you think the answer may be – your
hypothesis – based on what you have learned in class and during this observing project; and (c) a
detailed description of how you would test your hypothesis and attempt to answer your question.
Example issues to consider: Would you need the biggest telescopes on Earth, or could smaller
ones be used; and/or would you need a space-based telescope or mission? What wavelengths of
light would be best for your observations? Do you need images, spectra, and/or computer
simulations? Would you need to observe the object several different times or just once?