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This page is the specific presentation with tie-ins to the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. The workshop is listed in the conference schedule as:
Take a FREE Ride into Deep Space: Stellarium Curriculum Integration
12:30 pm - 1:25 pm Thursday, February 3, 2011
Ben Davis

Presentation Outline:


Objectives

  • Participants of this workshop will have a basic understanding of the features and navigation of the software, but more importantly a vision for how it can be integrated into the Florida curriculum.

Download the Program for yourself FREE! - Available for WINDOWS, MAC & LINUX

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And now thanks to Mrs. Miller who was with us at FETC and found "there is an app for that"

Go to the app store and search for stellarium.

Activity 1: The Celestial Sphere

(taken from the Stellarium Users Guide(PDF), p. 70)
When the ancients looked up into the heavens they saw a sky full of light. The lights of the sky seemed to be "stuck" on a great sphere far away that rotated through the night and from year to year. This sphere was called the Celestial Sphere. If you can imagine what it would be like to be inside a ball and look up at the curved backside of the ball's surface, you could understand what the ancient peoples considered the skies to be. Their observations led them to believe that we (EARTH) were at the center of the sphere and everything revolved around us. This was known as the GEOCENTRIC theory. We know today that it is not a spherical ball, but a complicated universe of objects that are near and far. We are a mere spec revolving around an ordinary star, midway to the edge of an ordinary galaxy, in a position of no particular importance within the universe. But to see the "Celestial Sphere" in action follow these steps.
  1. On the left panel tool bar select the location tool. Set the location to be somewhere
    in mid-Northern latitudes. The United Kingdom is an ideal location for this
    demonstration.
  2. Turn off atmospheric rendering and ensure cardinal points are turned on. This will
    keep the sky dark so the Sun doesn’t prevent us from seeing the motion of the stars
    when it is above the horizon.
  3. Pan round to point North, and make sure the field of view is about 90◦.
  4. Pan up so the ‘N’ cardinal point on the horizon is at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Now increase the time rate. Press L, L, L, L - this should set the time rate so the
    stars can be seen to rotate around a point in the sky about once every ten seconds If
    you watch Stellarium’s clock you’ll see this is the time it takes for one day to pass at
    this accelerated rate.
  6. Click the current time tool to slow down the sky to real time.
  7. Select The SKY and VIEWING OPTIONS WINDOW from the panel on the left. In the Labels and Markers box - slide the stars slider until you see the name of the star that the sky seems to turn around (POLARIS - The North Star).

SUNSHINE STATE STANDARDS:
SC.1.E.5.1: Observe and discuss that there are more stars in the sky than anyone can easily count and that they are not scattered evenly in the sky.
SC.4.E.5.1: Observe that the patterns of stars in the sky stay the same although they appear to shift across the sky nightly, and different stars can be seen in different seasons.
SC.4.E.5.2: Describe the changes in the observable shape of the moon over the course of about a month.
SC.4.E.5.3: Recognize that Earth revolves around the Sun in a year and rotates on its axis in a 24-hour day.
SC.4.E.5.4: Relate that the rotation of Earth (day and night) and apparent movements of the Sun, Moon, and stars are connected.
SC.8.E.5.8: Compare various historical models of the Solar System, including geocentric and heliocentric.

Activity 2: Constellations & Ancient Cultures & the path of the sun

Throughout history, men have assigned shapes and images to the patterns of the stars. We call these CONSTELLATIONS. Stellarium offers a wonderful way to explore these imaginary drawings. For this activity we will begin with the familiar that will lead us into the next activity.
  1. Continuing where we left off, looking at POLARIS, select the constellation outlines, names and then constellation art from the bottom tool tray.
  2. Note the Big and Little Dipper are actually Ursa Major and Minor (big and little bear).
  3. Use the time advance to watch other known constellations cross the sky.
  4. Why are some of the constellations names so familiar to us? To answer this lets look at the PATH OF THE SUN.
  5. Because the earth revolves around the sun, the stars we see behind the sun change from month to month. This can be demonstrated by picking one student to be the sun standing at the center of the room. Then walk in a circle around the student and ask them to name the kids they can see behind you. Ask what the other students in the room represent?
  6. In Stellarium, use the bottom tool panel to turn off the atmosphere and ground. Then use the search tool to search for the sun. Press the space bar to center it in the screen and then set the zoom so the sun is fairly small in the screen.
  7. Now use the date and time tool on the left side panel. Starting at any date or time, advance by one day at a time and hold it down to make it go fast. Watch the sun pass through constellations and note their names. ( I had constellation names, outlines and art turned on for this part. I also asked students working on their own computer to write down or record the name of each constellation the sun passes through.)
  8. You should end up with a list of names that make the traditional zodiac symbols.
  9. Encourage student exploration and observation, a couple of interesting observations are:
    1. It takes one year for the sun to go completely around - this is that the earth takes one year to go around the sun.
    2. The sun always passes through the same constellations year after year
  10. This path of the sun has a special name: The Ecliptic to see it outlined go the the left tool panel and select SKY AND VIEWING OPTIONS.
  11. Then select the MARKINGS tab along the top.
  12. Click the check box for ECLIPTIC - a red line will appear that traces the apparent path of the sun over the year.

Stellarium defaults to the Western Star Lore. These constellations are based upon those from the ancient Greek Astronomers. Today, the astronomical union has adopted them (with modifications). Parallel to the Greek astronomers, the ancient Chinese were studying the skies on their own. They saw the pattern of the stars according to their historical traditions. Again on the SKY AND VIEWING OPTIONS window select STAR LORE - check out the constellations of other cultures to see how other cultures viewed the sky.
  1. Be sure to try turning off the ground as well as the atmosphere to see constellations in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere that you may not normally be able to see from your location.
  2. Finally back with Western Lore selected turn on the CONSTELLATION ART. This will give you an artists' idea of what the constellations were meant to be. NOTE: some of the other sky cultures have art work as well.

SUNSHINE STATE STANDARDS:
SC.1.E.5.1: Observe and discuss that there are more stars in the sky than anyone can easily count and that they are not scattered evenly in the sky.


SC.4.E.5.1: Observe that the patterns of stars in the sky stay the same although they appear to shift across the sky nightly, and different stars can be seen in different seasons.

SC.4.E.5.2: Describe the changes in the observable shape of the moon over the course of about a month.

SC.4.E.5.3: Recognize that Earth revolves around the Sun in a year and rotates on its axis in a 24-hour day.

SC.4.E.5.4: Relate that the rotation of Earth (day and night) and apparent movements of the Sun, Moon, and stars are connected.



Activity 3: Lunar Phases & Eclipses


  1. Use the search tool on the left side tool panel to search for the moon.
  2. Turn the atmosphere and ground off using the tools on the bottom toolbar.
  3. zoom in so you can see the moon at a good scale.
  4. Using the date and time tool from the left hand tool panel, advance the days one day at a time and watch the moon go through its phases.
  5. Have students try and predict where the sun, moon and earth would be in relation to each other for each phase. Have whole group discussions as needed.
For a Lunar Eclipse we can dial up the eclipse from the winter solstice in 2010.
  1. Use the date and time tool to set the date to 12/21/2010 and the time to 1:30:0
  2. Then using either the minutes on the time tool or the fast forward on the bottom toolbar advance the time at an increased rate to see the lunar eclipse.
For a solar eclipse it is more difficult to pinpoint since the full eclipse only happens for a specific band of locations around the globe.
  1. A good place to locate data from solar eclipses is NASA's eclipse web site : http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/solar.html
  2. On July 11, 2010 there was a total solar eclipse. It was mainly only visible from locations across the south pacific ocean. One place that was directly in the ribbon like path was the famous Easter Island.
  3. To view the Easter Island total eclipse in stellarium we will use the LOCATION tool on the left hand tool panel. With the assistance of the web site: http://cddis.nasa.gov/site_cat/east.html we can set the longitude and latitude settings to:
        • S 27° 8' 53.55"
        • W 109° 22' 59.88"
  4. Then using the time tool (again from the left tool panel) set the date and time to:
        • 2010 / 7 / 11 14 : 35 : 0
  5. If you have not already done so use the search tool to search for the sun and press the space bar to keep it centered in the screen. Zoom to a level that is comfortable to see the sun but shows a bit of sky as well. Make sure the atmosphere and ground are turned on to simulate daytime conditions.
  6. Use the minute setting on the date and time toolbox to advance the time minute by minute and watch the NEW MOON cover the sun. Notice how the daytime sky turns to night and the stars come out. This lasts for about 4 minutes in stellarium, the length of totality can vary depending on the distance of the moon to the earth.
  7. The Florida Sunshine standards point to a wonderful resource from NOVA. A video of the 1991 eclipse that covered Hawaii: http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_vid_eclipse1991/
  8. If you have access to discovery streaming, there is another great video with good footage: The Spacefiles: The Inner Solar System Eclipses and Auroras


SUNSHINE STATE STANDARDS:
SC.3.E.5.1: Explain that stars can be different; some are smaller, some are larger, and some appear brighter than others; all except the Sun are so far away that they look like points of light.

SC.3.E.5.2: Identify the Sun as a star that emits energy; some of it in the form of light.

SC.3.E.5.3: Recognize that the Sun appears large and bright because it is the closest star to Earth.

SC.3.E.5.5: Investigate that the number of stars that can be seen through telescopes is dramatically greater than those seen by the unaided eye.

SC.4.E.5.1: Observe that the patterns of stars in the sky stay the same although they appear to shift across the sky nightly, and different stars can be seen in different seasons.

SC.4.E.5.2: Describe the changes in the observable shape of the moon over the course of about a month.

SC.4.E.5.3: Recognize that Earth revolves around the Sun in a year and rotates on its axis in a 24-hour day.

SC.4.E.5.4: Relate that the rotation of Earth (day and night) and apparent movements of the Sun, Moon, and stars are connected.

SC.8.E.5.9: Explain the impact of objects in space on each other including:
1. the Sun on the Earth including seasons and gravitational attraction
2. the Moon on the Earth, including phases, tides, and eclipses, and the relative position of each body.


Activity 4: Tour of the Solar System

Thanks to many years of space probes, we now have beautiful pictures of many of the objects in our solar system. A good starting point would be to have students use the search tool to investigate the planets of our solar system. But don't stop there, Stellarium has many other solar system objects as well. A moon tour would be appropriate for fifth graders especially.
  1. In addition to the planets themselves try looking for some of the planetary moons.
    1. Mars - DEIMOS & PHOBOS
    2. Jupiter - CALLISTO , EUROPA, GANYMEDE, IO
    3. Saturn - TITAN, DIONE, ENCELADUS
    4. Uranus - TITANIA, ARIEL
    5. Neptune - (no moons visible in stellarium)
    6. Pluto? - CHARON - (while no longer listed as a planet, it is important to note its moon for the debate)
      1. For many more moons visit: http://www.windows2universe.org/our_solar_system/moons_table.html

  2. Continue the journey looking at the travelers of the solar system, Asteroids and Comets
    1. Ceres - asteroid
    2. Pallas - asteroid
    3. Vesta - asteroid
    4. Juno - asteroid
    5. McNaught - comet



SUNSHINE STATE STANDARDS:
SC.5.E.5.1: Recognize that a galaxy consists of gas, dust, and many stars, including any objects orbiting the stars. Identify our home galaxy as the Milky Way.

SC.5.E.5.2: Recognize the major common characteristics of all planets and compare/contrast the properties of inner and outer planets.

SC.5.E.5.3: Distinguish among the following objects of the Solar System -- Sun, planets, moons, asteroids, comets -- and identify Earth's position in it.


Activity 5: Stars, Galaxies & Nebula


  1. The star catalog is enormous. Click on any star to see pertinent details such as:
    Picture_2.png










  2. Try having your students find a star cluster (M6-Butterfly Cluster) and investigate the spectral type of stars within the cluster. Compare clusters from around the room and research the ages of the stars in the clusters.
  3. With a large database of deep sky objects that expands at every program update, stellarium provides you with your own virtual observatory in the visible spectrum.
  4. Some ideas for lessons would be to assign students to locate a series of galaxies in stellarium that represent the types of galaxies out there, here is a short list to get started
    1. M31: The Andromeda Galaxy - Spiral
    2. M91 - Barred Spiral
    3. M87: Virgo A, the central galaxy in the Virgo cluster - Elliptical
    4. M82: The Cigar Galaxy - Irregular
And Finally, my personal favorite, Nebula. What happens to the matter in the universe that does not form into a galaxy or a star? Here again is a short list of nebula to visit with imagery.
  1. M42: The Orion Nebula & M43: de Mairan's Nebula - The Great Orion Nebula
  2. M16: The Eagle or Star Queen Nebula - made famous by the hubble telescope image "the pillars of creation" http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/pr1995044a/
  3. M20: The Trifid Nebula
  4. M27: The Dumbbell Nebula
  5. M57: The Ring Nebula
  6. M1: The Crab Nebula


My favorite web site for finding these objects: http://seds.org/messier/

SUNSHINE STATE STANDARDS:__
SC.3.E.5.1: Explain that stars can be different; some are smaller, some are larger, and some appear brighter than others; all except the Sun are so far away that they look like points of light.
SC.3.E.5.5: Investigate that the number of stars that can be seen through telescopes is dramatically greater than those seen by the unaided eye.
SC.5.E.5.1: Recognize that a galaxy consists of gas, dust, and many stars, including any objects orbiting the stars. Identify our home galaxy as the Milky Way.
SC.8.E.5.1: Recognize that there are enormous distances between objects in space and apply our knowledge of light and space travel to understand this distance.
SC.8.E.5.2: Recognize that the universe contains many billions of galaxies and that each galaxy contains many billions of stars.
SC.8.E.5.3: Distinguish the hierarchical relationships between planets and other astronomical bodies relative to solar system, galaxy, and universe, including distance, size, and composition.
SC.8.E.5.4: Explore the Law of Universal Gravitation by explaining the role that gravity plays in the formation of planets, stars, and solar systems and in determining their motions.
SC.8.E.5.5: Describe and classify specific physical properties of stars: apparent magnitude (brightness), temperature (color), size, and luminosity (absolute brightness).
SC.8.E.5.11: Identify and compare characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum such as wavelength, frequency, use, and hazards and recognize its application to an understanding of planetary images and satellite photographs.
SC.912.E.5.3: Describe and predict how the initial mass of a star determines its evolution.
SC.912.E.5.10: Describe and apply the coordinate system used to locate objects in the sky.
SC.912.E.5.1: Cite evidence used to develop and verify the scientific theory of the Big Bang (also known as the Big Bang Theory) of the origin of the universe.
SC.912.E.5.2: Identify patterns in the organization and distribution of matter in the universe and the forces that determine them.