Choose only one project. Each project is worth a maximum of 10.0 points, to be done anytime during the semester, and is due by the last lab of the semester. Work submitted after this due date is considered late with a 50% penalty. No work will be accepted more than one week late.
A project should be written in a report format (typed, double-spaced), which should include:
You should focus on turning in a project report that is "not any longer than it has to be," and strive technically and creatively to that end.
- Specific research question.
- Step-by-step procedure to collect evidence.
- Data table and/or results.
- Evidence-based conclusion statement.
- Reflection (comment on difficult or interesting aspects of your project for future Astronomy 210L students).
- Light Pollution Survey
Consider the following claim: "There is much less man-made light pollution at a relatively remote, but car-accessible site in San Luis Obispo county, compared to observing from one of Cuesta College's campus locations (either North County campus, at the Telescope Shelter; or San Luis Obispo campus, atop or near the 2400 building)." Pursue evidence, collect data, and create an evidence-based conclusion about this claim. (Using a GPS-enabled smartphone or similar device, or by using an online map browser site, provide the latitude/longitude coordinates of your "remote" site for an ongoing SLO county light-pollution survey.)
- Being Galileo
For this project you will need to purchase and assemble a Project STAR refracting telescope kit (*.html) from the Cuesta College bookstore, a model of the type of telescope used by Galileo Galilei and other Renaissance astronomers in the early 17th century. With a comparable telescope, Galileo made the following key observations to disprove the geocentric model of planetary motion and/or prove the heliocentric model:
Consider the following claim: "Verifying Galileo's telescope observations would be possible, but very frustrating for an enthusiastic but unexperienced scientist in the 17th century." Pursue evidence, collect data, and create an evidence-based conclusion about this claim. (Attempt to recreate a minimum of two of Galileo's observations listed above; not all observations may be possible this semester given current positions of stars/planets.)
- Lunar geography: mountains and rough crater features;
- Phases of Venus (caution--do not attempt if very near the sun!);
- Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto orbiting Jupiter;
- Rings of Saturn;
- Additional stars not visible to the naked eye in the Pleiades star cluster.