Cuesta College :: Astronomy 210L :: Fall 2017
Calendar Policies Projects Grades
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Projects 
     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:
  1. Specific research question.
  2. Step-by-step procedure to collect evidence.
  3. Data table and/or results.
  4. Evidence-based conclusion statement.
  5. Reflection (comment on difficult or interesting aspects of your project for future Astronomy 210L students).
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.
  1. 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.)
  2. 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:
    • 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.
    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.)

Enrichment 
CCAS Meetings
     This assignment is worth a maximum of 5.0 points, to be done during any one scheduled Central Coast Astronomical Society meeting during this semester, and is due by the end of the next lab after a meeting.  Work submitted after this due date is considered late with a 50% penalty.  No work will be accepted more than one week late.
     The Central Coast Astronomical Society hosts monthly meetings open to the public; review their calendar, and driving and parking instructions from their website (*.html).  
     Your report should be at least one page in length, whether hand-written (single-spaced), or typed (doublespaced), but may be longer if necessary.  Include the following information:
  1. Identify the main speaker, his/her area of expertise, and the topic of his/her presentation. (Report on comparable information if a multimedia presentation, or a variety of topics is the focus of the meeting.) The topic summary should not just be the rephrasing of the title.
  2. Discuss the most interesting aspect of the talk, and explain why this was personally interesting for you.
  3. Discuss the most confusing part of the talk, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
  4. Record one question that you were able to ask the speaker, and summarize the answer/explanation given by the speaker. (If you weren't able to ask this question to the speaker and/or get an answer, write your question down, and explain why you wanted to ask this question.)
Report format adapted from "Improving Student Engagement at Public Lectures: Assigning a Writing Task," Tim Slater and Gina Brissenden, Center for Astronomy Education, Teaching Strategies, January 2006 (*.html).