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ESS141 Introduction to Astronomy YCP Spring 1999 Laboratory Activity No. 10 and 11: Night Sky Observing Introduction and Objectives: Each person is required TWO NIGHT TIME visits to an astronomical observatory. Astronomical Observatory at John Rudy County Park provides an opportunity to view objects through a telescope and is located near-by in East York. Radio Astronomy is also conducted at the John Rudy County Park Astronomical Observatory. The visits will be for observing and taking notes. Types of objects that can be observed in a dark sky include: the moon, planets, star clusters, multiple star systems, nebulae, galaxies, and whatever else York County Astronomical Society members operating the reflective telescopes select. The York County Astronomical Society cooperatively operate the observatory with the York County Park System. Dates and times are posted on the schedule attached and in our laboratory room. Again, you are free to do your two observing labs when you wish based on the operating schedule, and there is a clear sky. The basic rule of thumb is if 50% or more of the sky is cloudy; no observing. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE NIGHTS WITH CLEAR SKIES EARLY IN THE SEMESTER. Observing clouds is not a very interesting way to spend an evening, except if you are a meteorologist. Attached is an observing checklist for your reference. Sketches of nighttime observations are encouraged but not required. Each student must keep a log: (1) listing the dates of the observations; (2) astronomical objects observed (check list for reference); (3) the quality of the sky (haze, partial clouds, wind, temperature, light pollution, etc.); (4) what you saw at the observatory; (5) you need to sign the guest book when you visit, behind your name put YCP (York College of Pennsylvania); (6) also, an astronomical observation form must be completed and signed by one of the “astronomers” on duty that evening, (forms attached). There is no way to observe all the objects listed on the observatory forms in a few visits to an observatory. These are general lists used by many astronomers and provide guidelines for searching the nighttime sky. In addition to the John Rudy Park Observatory, other observatories can be visited to fulfill this laboratory requirement. The Harrisburg Area Astronomical Observatory in Lewisberry, northern York County, Gettysburg College’s Astronomical Observatory, and Franklin and Marshall College’s Astronomical Observatory are in this regional area and welcome the public to viewing sessions. There is no admission charge to any of these observatories. If in your home area an astronomical observatory exists, it may be possible to observe the night sky there. Check with your instructor to be sure. Also periodically a branch of the American Astronomical Foundation sets a viewing night and temporary observatory at Sam Lewis State Park near Wrightsville in Eastern York County. As information becomes available you will be notified. Paragraph three requirements must be met for all observation sessions. Good luck and have fun! Remember astronomy is a science over your head! If you want to learn about any constellations, just ask about them on your observing visits. Constellations will be discussed in class, but you may enjoy identifying a few in the night sky. You must complete two visits before May 1st 1999.