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Find That Planet!
This activity has students use internet resources to learn about celestial coordinates, and how to use an emphemeris to locate planets on a horizon sky map. The sky maps are then used for outdoor observing. A more advanced application has students draw maps in celestial coordinates. They first learn about the celestial coordinate system astronomers use and then they generate a position, or ephemeris, for a planet at a certain time on a certain night and plot that position on an appropriate sky map. While engaged in this activity, students will learn to use star maps for finding a planet, plot a planet path on star maps with coordinate grids, and be able to find out when a planet is visible.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
Subject:
  • Space science
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 2001 The Regents of the University of California. We encourage individual users, teachers, and students to make classroom-based, not-for-profit use of the materials available through the University of California Berkeley Center for Science Education at Space Sciences Laboratory and its website. All our materials are copyright of the University of California Regents with the exception of data and images from NASA and other sources which may be in the public domain or subject to their own copyright restrictions. You may make a hyperlink to any of our resources for use in a classroom or school-based educational setting. You may make single copies of the available resources, or use excerpts, for classroom use or for research. Multiple copies may be made for classroom use provided that they are not distributed for profit, publication purposes, or commercial advantage, and that the copies bear a UC Regent copyright notice, i.e. Copyright 2001 UC Regents. All rights reserved.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-005-958
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth in the solar system
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Science as a human endeavor
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Science as a human endeavor
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: University of California Berkeley Center for Science Education