General Task: Naked-Eye Observations:

Sub Tasks:

  1. Before observing click on Sky Maps by Ordinal Date, scroll down to today's date (see Date & Time) or any date you want, and click on Sky map, white background.

    The sky map is set to 9:00 pm for the Pacific time zone (PST/PDT).

    If you are NOT in Las Vegas, Nevada or want a different Date & Time, you will have to update control panel fields below the sky map and then click on the Update button just below the sky map:

    1. For location, update control panel fields for your local geographic coordinates (i.e., latitude and longitude).

    2. For Date & Time, update the control panel field for Universal Time (UT).

      If you need help getting the Universal Time (UT), click on Conversion from Universal Time to Local Time and Vice Versa.

  2. If you have a printer, then go to the top of the sky map and right click on the N, click "view image" to view the printable image, and print the printable image.

    If you have NO printer, you will have to sketch the sky map. Sketch and label the major constellations, the named stars (e.g., Vega (α LYR) in the summer night sky and Betelgeuse (α ORI) in the winter night sky) and Polaris (α UMi) (which is just α UMi on the sky map), the planets, and, if in the sky, the Moon.

    The planets are labeled on the sky map by the planet symbols: Mercury ☿, Venus ♀, Earth ⊕, Mars ♂, Jupiter ♃, Saturn ♄, Uranus ↑☉,♅, Neptune ♆, ex-planet Pluto ♇.

    To use the sky map outside, you will probably need a flashlight or cell phone.

  3. You can also use Google Sky to help find astronomical objects.

  4. Note there is NO uniquely good way to project a curved surface on a flat one. So flat maps of the celestial sphere are always distorted in some way. Celestial globes depicting the celestial sphere have NO distortions, but like globes are mostly decorations.

  5. Go outside about half an hour after sunset and observe the sky long enough identify some astronomical objects. If you out early enough, you can watch the stars to come out---it's fun---trust me.

    You will often have to just stare at the night sky for awhile to dark adjust your vision (i.e., achieve scotopic vision) and also just get used to noticing dim stars.

  6. In fact, light pollution is terrible in Las Vegas, Nevada or any big city. So constellations (except for the brightest ones) can usually only be found by locating 1 or 2 of their brightest named stars. However, you can usually make out Big Dipper (actually part of constellation Ursa Major) and Cassiopeia (the Big W with constellation lines) at any time of the year in mid-northern latitudes. These constellations NEVER set for mid-northern latitudes because they are circumpolar constellations in those locations.

    In the summer night sky, you should be able to see the Summer Triangle consisting of the bright named stars Altair (α AQL), Deneb (α CYG), and Vega (α LYR). The Summer Triangle is also just an asterism.

    In the winter night sky, you should be able to see Orion (which is a recognized IAU 88 constellation).

    Of course, if you are clouded out, there's nothing to see.

  7. List the astronomical objects you were able to identify.

    My Answer: I'd guess I'd identify lots. On 2020 Jun10, I should be able to see Mercury ☿ at about 8:30 pm about a spread hand above the horizon. One has to stare for awhile to see it leap out of the dim twilight.


Local file: local link: 000_task_naked_eye_observation.html.
File: Labs file: 000_task_naked_eye_observation.html.