Astronomy 1L (Lab Class) Information
Mars Observation Project
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(assigned during a semester when Mars and Saturn were up in the evening)
What You Should See (and Do)
     For the rest of the semester we will observe the position of Mars relative to whatever stars you can see near it, to follow its (eastward) motion among the stars. On class nights that are clear the observation will be done on the roof, in class; but if we miss a week's observation for any reason, you are expected to do a similar observation on your own, as close to the night that we would have done the in-class observation as possible.
     In addition, if you can see a noticeable motion of Mars from week to week you can do additional observations for extra credit about halfway between class-day observations.
     Each observation should list the date and time of the observation, and show as many of the stars near Mars as are needed to accurately determine its position. There is no need to observe the altitude and azimuth of Mars or any other information unrelated to its position relative to the background stars.

Turning in Your Report
     Either the night of the Final or the week before you should turn in all of your individual observations, plus a map of the sky (photocopied or hand-drawn) showing all the positions you observed for Mars on a single starry background, with some indication of the date of each observation next to the dot representing the position of Mars on that date.

Value of the Project
     Observations done once a week, whether in class or not, if of reasonable quality, should be worth 8 to 10 points, as an in-class required project. Additional observations, or observations of higher than average quality, may increase this to 12 to 15 points.

Additional Extra Credit
     Aside from doing extra observations of Mars between classes, you can observe the position of Saturn, relative to the stars near it, over the course of the semester. Saturn moves about 15 times slower than Mars relative to the stellar background, so observations every other week or so are about the closest together you should bother with; and you may not see any change during the entire semester if your observations aren't very accurate. But since these observations of Saturn would be an extra-credit project, any points you get from them are better than none at all.