Assignment 1: Observing the Moon, Jupiter & Venus

Part 1. Multiple Observations of the Moon in a Single Night (or Day)
In this section of the assignment, you are to observe the Moon at least 4 times in one night (or during
the day), separated by approximately 20 minute intervals.
You will record your observations on a Location Diagram.
A Location Diagram is a sketch of your local surroundings. To make your Location Diagram, draw
the horizon features of your chosen observing location on a piece of paper. Include such things as
hydro poles, buildings, trees, hills, etc. and leave plenty of room for the sky. For each observation of
the Moon that you make, sketch its position on your location diagram, and label the time of your
observation (am or pm). Make sure your drawing includes the phase and orientation of the Moon.
No consideration is given for artistic quality, so keep it simple. Following your observations, answer
the Part 1 questions posed in the TEMPLATE file. You can draw and scan your Location Diagram
for Part 1, and embed it in the TEMPLATE file.

2

Example of how to do a location diagram: note how directions are indicated along bottom – you should
be facing approximately south, with east on your left and west on your right
– draw your local landscape
– place multiple observations of the Moon for Part 1 on the same Location Diagram
– you will have separate Location Diagrams for Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4
Part 2: Observations of the Moon at the same time and location, several
nights in a row
You will need to create a separate Location Diagram for these observations, as well as a table with
information about your observations, called your Record of Observations.
For Part 2, observe the Moon over a 4-5 night (or daytime) period, where you observe the Moon at
the same time each night from the same location, paying careful attention to the size, shape (i.e.
phase) and location of the Moon.
Record the location of the Moon for each observation on your Part 2 Location Diagram. In addition,
fill out the appropriate information in your Record of Observations (given in the TEMPLATE file). You
will note the date, time (am or pm) and phase of the Moon in your Record of Observations. Label your
observation of the Moon on your Location Diagram with the same observation number in the Record
of Observations. Make sure you stand in the same place each night when you make your observation,
so you can compare the position of the Moon on various nights. try to make your observations at the
same time each night (within 10-15 minutes). If it is cloudy and you miss 1 night – that is ok. If 3 nights
or more are cloudy, you will need to make a new set of observations.
Note that the Moon does rise and set at different times daily. If you are having difficulty locating
the Moon, check online or a newspaper for the Moon’s rise and set time for that day. A very useful
website is: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance
as well as: https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/canada/toronto

Note:
Most of
your
diagram
should be
of the sky,
rather than
buildings,
etc.

3

You must log your observations with hand drawn sketches, but you may supplement the drawings
with photographs if you choose. Following your observations, answer the Part 2 questions posed
in the TEMPLATE file.
Note that the professor will also be observing the Moon and keeping a record of weather conditions.
Falsification of data and/or plagiarism of any sort will be severely punished, according to the
York University Senate Policy on Academic Honesty.

Part 3: Observation of the Moon in the daytime sky
For Part 3, observe the Moon at least once in the morning sky (between 6am and 12 noon).
Create another Location Diagram for Part 3, and note the date, time, phase and orientation (or tilt)
of the Moon on your Location Diagram.

Following your observations, answer the Part 3 questions posed in the TEMPLATE file.
Part 4: Observation of Moon throughout its phases
For Part 4 of this assignment, you are to observe the Moon nightly/daily (at any time), on as many
nights as possible.
Create another Location Diagram, and record the location of the Moon for each observation on your
Part 4 Location Diagram. In addition, fill out the appropriate information in your Part 4 Record of
Observations (given in the TEMPLATE file). You will note the date, time (am or pm) and phase of the
Moon in your Record of Observations. Label your observation of the Moon on your Location Diagram
with the same observation number in the Record of Observations. If you are not in the same place
each night when you make your observation (e.g. at work and at home), you can have more than one
Location Diagram. You can make your observations at any time of night or day.
Do not use apps, programs or calendars of any sort to report what you
‘think’ you should see. Only report what you actually see. You will be
charged with falsification of data (a form of plagiarism) if you make up
your observations or get them from an app or website.

Note: These images of
the Moon show varying
orientations or tilts

4

Aim for 18 observations for Part 4. You may use 1 of your observations for Part 1, and all of your
observations for Parts 2 and 3 to be included in the Part 4 observations. Make sure to copy the
observational details into your Part 4 Record of Observations and Location Diagram.
Following your observations, answer the Part 4 questions posed in the TEMPLATE file.
Part 5: Observation of Jupiter and the Moon
Jupiter will appear as the brightest object in the east just after sunset. Jupiter is located close to the
Moon twice this Fall. A conjunction is when two objects appear close together in the sky. The dates
for conjunctions of Jupiter and the Moon are Sept 18, and Oct 15. Observe the Moon and Jupiter on
or near these dates (+/- 3 days – depending on the weather). You can take a photograph of your
observation, or make a drawing on a Location Diagram. Insert your photograph or drawing in Part 5
of the TEMPLATE file, along with the date and time of your observation.
Part 6: Observations of Venus
Venus will appear as the brightest object near the Sun in the west, just after sunset. On a separate
Location Diagram, make at least 3 observations of Venus. Answer the Part 6 questions about
Venus in the TEMPLATE file. Note: a conjunction of the Moon and Venus occurs on Oct 9.
A good site to help you find Jupiter & Venus is here:
https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/night/
You can enter your city, choose an object, and you will get a view of the sky. You can choose your
observation time by sliding along the bar at the bottom.

Answer

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