COSMOS in the Classroom | July 2013

Annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in San Jose, California.

Poster presentation by T. Sato

Title: Imaging the Moon II: Webcam CCD Observations & Analysis (a two-week lab for non-majors)

Abstract: Presented is a particularly successful two-week series of labs involving real sky observations of the Moon, in which students make telescopic observations and analyze their own images. Originally developed around the 35 mm film camera as a common household object adapted for astronomical work, the year 2009 saw a move to another recording device as film photography evolved into an obscure specialty technology and increasing numbers of students had little familiarity with it. The new household object of choice is the webcam from which the CCD chip mounted on a printed circuit board can be harvested. Mounted on a tube, the unit fits onto the eyepiece holder of 8” telescopes. Students also work through the logistical steps of telescope time assignment and scheduling, keeping to schedule and working with uncertainties of weather,  in ways paralleling research observations. Because there is no need for a campus observatory, this lab can be replicated at a wide variety of institutions.