Fall Semester Winter Observing at Anderson Mesa

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Coconino Community College Astronomy – PHYS 180
Name: __________________

Telescope No. ____________

Fall Semester - Winter Observing at Anderson Mesa
Weather permitting, at Anderson Mesa we should be able to view a number of different constellations and a few bright Deep Sky Objects.
Additional Observing Materials:

  • Evening Sky Chart 1 – The Winter Sky - The evening sky facing to the east.

  • “Night Watch – A Practical Guide to the Universe” – Charts 15 – 18 (pages 114 – 117)

  • Planisphere

Observing Date: ____________________

Time: ____________________
Viewing Conditions

Cloud Cover: 1 2 3 4

Seeing: 1 2 3 4 (Air Shakiness)

Transparency: 1 2 3 4 (Air Haziness)

(1 is bad, 2 is Fair, 3 is Good, 4 is Excellent)

Lunar Phase

Identify (circle) the phase of the current Moon – Note that

this is as seen with the unaided eye

Part I: Constellations and Stars
1. Some of the more common Constellations in the Winter Sky form a large hexagon-like shape with their brightest stars. This shape is sometimes known as the ‘Winter G’, and is one of many asterisms (easily identifiable star patterns that are not official constellations.)
Look on Charts 15 – 18 in “Night Watch”, to identify the star names. Write them on your evening Sky Chart and in the table below.

(Note: they are identified on the sky chart with an or a in the constellation, next to the star):


Star Name

Star Name




Canis Major


Canis Minor









Beginning with Taurus, then Auriga, and continuing counter clock-wise on the chart, lightly connect in pencil, or hi-lighter, all the bright stars listed above, ending with Orion. What letter have you drawn? ___________________________________________________________

Part II: Stars and Visual Star Colors
1. Note the constellation Gemini. The two brightest stars represent the heads of the twins. Which of the stars is brighter, or ? _________ Stars were named (alphabetically, Greek Alphabet) from Brightest to dimmest within constellations. Is there a discrepancy here? If so, why do you think there is one? __________________________________________________________________________________



2. Observe the constellation Orion. Compare the appearance and color of the top left star (Orion’s right shoulder) with the bottom right star (his left knee.) In the boxes below enter the star names, magnitudes, and observed color.

Designation Star Name Magnitude Color Stellar Class Avg. Temp.

Notes: ____________________________________________________________________________

3. As has been discussed, stellar color is an indication of the temperature of a star’s atmosphere. Based on your observed color for the two stars and the chart below, include what you perceive to be the Stellar Class, and the Average Temperature of the two stars in Orion.

Note any differences between the two stars, or their designations. ____________________________


Part III: Telescope Objects to Observe
Find each of the objects below on the chart and observe them through your team’s telescope.

Object Constellation


(and/or Designation)



Optimum (best) Magnification


Great Nebula (M 42, NGC 1976)



Pleiades, Subaru(M45)

Open Star Cluster


Crab Nebula (M1, NGC 1952)


Draw a quick sketch of the Pleiades in the box provided below.

Orion Nebula


Crab Nebula

1. Orion Nebula – Describe the appearance of this object as viewed in the telescope.



2. Pleiades – The Pleiades is an open cluster, a group of stars all gravitationally bound. Its Messier number is M45. Pleiades is the Greek name for the ‘Seven Sisters’ (daughters of Atlas), although different cultures count different numbers of stars. The Japanese give the group, the name Subaru. How many bright stars does Japanese culture designate for this grouping of stars? ______________ Hint: Look at the logo of a car with the same name.
Describe the appearance of the Pleiades as viewed in the telescope.




3. Crab Nebula – Describe the appearance of this object as viewed in the telescope.




4. Using a reference source (book, Internet, etc.) find the distances for the following objects:
Orion Nebula: _________________________

Pleiades: ____________________________

Crab Nebula: _________________________
5. During the fall semester, we have not been able to view the most recognizable group of stars in the sky, the ‘Big Dipper’. Is the ‘Big Dipper’ a constellation or an asterism? _________________________ You may use the Internet to check this.

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