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The NAAP Rotating Sky Lab – Pedagogical Objectives

Horizon Coordinate System

  • Student will be able to visualize the formation of the horizon system as a tangent plane to the observer's location on earth and understand that the observer sees half the celestial sphere.
  • Student will understand the definition, notation, and ranges of altitude and azimuth and identify the coordinate of an object on a finite projection of the sky.
  • Student will be able to define, identify and name horizon coordinate features – zenith, nadir, horizon, cardinal points, vertical circle.
  • Student will be able to specify the altitude of the north or south pole for a given latitude and the angle of intersection of the celestial equator with the horizon.

Paths of the Stars

  • Student will understand that all celestial objects rotate in parallel circles defined by the rotational axis of the earth and apply this understanding in terms of “star trails”
  • Student will be able to identify approximate latitude or orientation of observer given a picture of star trails and orientation or approximate latitude of the observer.
  • Student will be able to give the declination ranges for rise and set, circumpolar, and never-rise stars for a given latitude.
  • Student will understand that the sun, moon, and planets lie in a plane near the ecliptic and how that effects where those objects will be visible in the sky.