Moon Project NATS 1740 (Online)

Moon Project NATS 1740 (Online)
• To gain insight into the moon’s changing appearance and location in the sky over a sufficient
period of time to see most of a lunar cycle, by recording observations at regular times and
• To experience directly the role of consistent observations as a starting point for scientific inquiry.
Tasks in this Project:
• Initial prediction (‘hunch’) about Moon’s shape and motion
• Observations of the Moon (no telescope required!)
• Recordings of the observations on a landscape and observing logs
• Answers to questions based on observations
Important Dates:
Hunch Quiz Availability June 8 – 16
Observing Cycle 1 June 17 – July 15
Project Due Date July 19
How to Submit:
• Hunch Quiz: completed in Moodle (from the course home page) [Part 1]
• Observations:
o two photo landscapes, with a sequence of 4 Moon observations on each landscape,
are to be scanned in and uploaded as digital files. (files should be named
LandscapeTTN and LandscapeNTN); [Parts 3A and 4A]
o observing logs are to be completed in the tables provided in the original Word
document, and uploaded as separate Word files. (files should be named LogTTN
and LogNTN each) [Parts 3B and 4B]
• Typed Responses: completed in the provided Word file, and uploaded as separate files. (files
should be named QuestionsTTN, QuestionsNTN, QuestionsConclusion) [Parts 3C, 4C, 5]
Moon Project NATS 1740 (Online)
A note on drawing landscapes:
The diagram at right shows a horizon and
moon location typical of almost anywhere in
mid northern latitudes. It shows the Moon with
a given shape and position in the sky, on some
date and time. Note that for landscapes such as
these, cardinal directions (East, West, South,
North) are always shown along the
horizon/ground, to represent a curved, 3-
dimensional space around us (the domed sky)
as projected onto a flat 2-dimensional picture.
Your observations will also be drawn on a
landscape with these directions, but with a
different landscape filled in, to match your individual local observing site.
Part 1: What’s Your Hunch?
Your Task(s):
Before proceeding with the observations, complete the following task in Moodle.
1. Moon Project Hunch quiz (on the course home page in Moodle), consisting of four questions, asking
you to predict how both the shape and position of the Moon would (or would not) change if it were
observed 2 days before and 2 days after the observation shown in this image, at exactly the same time
of day. (Note that your hunch will not be graded for accuracy of answers, but simply for completion.)
Moon Project NATS 1740 (Online)
Part 2: Instructions for Observing, Recording and Reporting
Plan, plan, plan ahead!
This project will depend not only on you doing your work, but also on two other
variables outside of your control: weather and phases of the Moon. For these reasons, it
will be CRITICAL for you to plan your observing sessions ahead, and to take advantage
of every single clear night/morning/day available for observations, as soon as possible.
You will make two sets of observations, called through-the-night (TTN) and night-to-night (NTN),
recorded on two separate landscape drawings and described in two separate observing logs.
What you will need:
• Location to observe the moon from, such that you can come back to it for all of your
observations. (home, work, school – anywhere!) Observations must be done from the same
observing site, with a view toward the south, without too many obstructions along the horizon.
• Schedule your time such that you can see the moon from the same location at the same time
over several nights (or mornings or days, depending on the current phase of the Moon), to
complete your night-to-night observing sequence.
• Photos of your landscape, with you included in this photo-landscape (taken during the day).
Take two or three photos of your landscape, spanning directions from east to west, and stitch
them together into a single panoramic view, glued or pasted over a bigger sheet of paper. You
will later draw in your moon observations on top of your landscape, on the blank paper above the
photos. (Or, this ‘stitching’ can also be done digitally with a photo-editing software.)
• Accurately labeled directions (east-south-west), to faithfully represent the local directions at
your observing site, for each observing sequence. You can use a compass to map the local
directions, or study maps of your local address to figure out which way is east-west, south-north.
• Measuring tool to estimate, as accurately as possible, the change in position of the Moon. A
variety of tools – with different degrees of accuracy – can be used, such as the human finger and
hand at extended arm’s length (see textbook), ruler at extended arm’s length, compass, etc.
• Knowledge of when the Moon will be ‘up’ (above horizon) during the different parts of the
current lunar cycle, so that your observations can be made successfully (provided that the
weather is clear enough to see the Moon.) I will provide suggested ‘best times’ for moon
observations for each week of a single lunar cycle, in the general ‘Moon Project’ discussion
Tip: Remember that a single observation takes no more than a few minutes to complete, so do not delay making
observations – take advantage of each clear night/morning/afternoon as early as possible! The rest of the project
requires observations to be completed first, so this should be your first priority as soon as the project is released.
(Clear nights/mornings/afternoons can be hard to come by sometimes!)
Moon Project NATS 1740 (Online)
2A: Through The Night (TTN) Observations of the Moon
The TTN Journal is for recording observations of the moon through the night, evening,
or a morning, over a single 3-hour period. The complete TTN observing sequence needs
to be done only once for full credit (but extras are always encouraged!).
Your Task(s):
Complete and record four (4) observations of the moon, spanning at least 3 hours (from start to finish),
separated by 1 hour each, over the course of one night (or morning or afternoon).
For example: on a particular night (say Monday), you observe the moon at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm to
complete the TTN journal, and record all these observations on the same single TTN landscape.
2B: Night to Night (NTN) Observations of the Moon
The NTN Journal is for recording observations of the moon made from night to night, at the same
time of night (or morning or afternoon, depending on the current phase of the moon), within the same
lunar (observing) cycle. There are two possible ways to complete the NTN Journal.
Your Task(s):
Option 1: Complete and record one sequence of four (4) observations of the moon, on 4 separate nights
(or mornings or afternoons), at the same time of day for all observations (within 5-10 minutes of each
For example: you observe the moon at 8pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to complete
the NTN journal, and record all these observations on the same single NTN landscape.
Option 2: Complete and record two sequences (A and B) of 3 observations each, taken on 6 separate
nights (or mornings or afternoons), such that the 3 observations in sequence A are all done at the same
time, and the 3 observations in sequence B are all also done at the same time, but the time of
observations between sequence A and B can be different.
For example: you observe the moon at 9pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (sequence A), and then in
a later part of its cycle at 7am on Wednesday, Friday, Sunday (sequence B); record all these
observations on the same single NTN landscape.
Important Note for NTN observations: