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“We are a way for the

cosmos to know itself.”
-Carl Sagan

Mr. Daniel Peluso

BUILDING A MAP TO THE UNIVERSE
Agenda:
• Very, extra brief, history of the universe
• Spaceship Earth
• Light pollution
• Naked eye astronomy and constellations
• Star Wheels—your map to the universe
• Tour the cosmos with your maps using the
“Galaxy Guide”

POP QUIZ!

What is the brightest star in the night
sky?
A.) Vega
B.) Sirius
C.) North Star (a.k.a Polaris)
D.) Arcturus

What is the brightest star in the night
sky?
A.) Vega
B.) Sirius
C.) North Star (a.k.a Polaris)
D.) Arcturus

What is the brightest object on this list?
A.) Jupiter
B.) Sirius
C.) Mars
D.) Venus

What is the brightest object on this list?
A.) Jupiter
B.) Sirius
C.) Mars
D.) Venus

The planets can be found by looking in
the direction of this imaginary
coordinate line?
A.) The ecliptic
B.) The celestial equator
C.) The Zodiac
D.) The meridian

The planets can be found by looking in
the direction of this imaginary
coordinate line?
A.) The ecliptic
B.) The celestial equator
C.) The Zodiac
D.) The meridian

THE BIG BANG

~13.8 billion years ago

~13.5 billion years ago

MILKY WAY GALAXY FORMS

~13.5 billion years ago

~5-6 billion years ago

~4.6 billion years ago

OUR SUN IS BORN

~4.6 billion years ago

~4.5 billion years ago

EARTH & MOON ARE BORN

~4.5 billion years ago

~3 billion years ago

SPACESHIP EARTH
•Where is space?
•How far away is it?

LIGHT POLLUTION
• “Light pollution wastes billions of
dollars annually to illuminate—as
one way to put it—the bellies of
birds and low-flying aircraft.”
(Timothy Ferris, 2003)

• 80% never see MW
• 1990s, L.A., 911

The Celestial Sphere

The Celestial Sphere

http://astro.unl.edu/classaction/animations/coordsmotion/celhorcomp.html

Latitude and Longitude

f

http://astro.unl.edu/classaction/animations/coordsmotion/longlat.html

ASTERISM = STAR PICTURE

Dratini

88 official
constellations

N

Polaris

a.k.a. The North Star
a.k.a. the “pole” star

N

Polaris

a.k.a. The North Star
a.k.a. the “pole” star

N

Latitude, Longitude
32.7˚ N, 117.2˚ W
San Diego, CA
13 August 2016
10:00 pm, pst

Star Wheels/Maps to the Universe

Polaris

a.k.a. The North Star
a.k.a. the “pole” star

N

Star Wheels/Maps to the Universe
Directions:
1.) Cut out star wheel outer sleeve along solid black line (do not
cut out bottom blank rectangle!). Also, cut out inner oval.
2.) Cut out the circular sky map
3.) Fold up bottom rectangle on outer sleeve. Staple rectangle
to the front at locations marked by short white lines on both
sides of the bottom.
4.) Slip in the circular sky map so it shows through the inner
oval.
While you construct Star Wheels:
• Talk to your neighbor about what you know about
constellations, astronomy, space, etc.
• How do you think constellations are used in modern
astronomy?

Star Wheels/Maps to the Universe
• Entire night sky squeezed in a circle
• Edge is horizon
• Center is straight up (zenith)
• Just spin outer wheel to local date/time
• Face direction and turn entire Star Wheel so direction text is right
side up
• Better versions available for purchase (e.g. ~$10-$15 on Amazon)
• Number deep space objects and planets using your galaxy guide

Star Wheels/Maps to the Universe
Polaris

a.k.a. The North Star
a.k.a. the “pole” star
a.k.a. Alpha Ursae Minoris

Now for our first deep space
object!

M42, NGC 1976, “Orion Nebula”
• Stellar nebula, a.k.a. “star factory”
• ~1300 lys away
• Mass roughly 2000 times our Sun!
• Hubble and other telescopes have
directly observed stars forming,
protoplanetary disks, brown
dwarfs, and turbulent motions of
gas

1.

1.

RESET TO NORTH

M13
• Globular cluster
• Halo of MW
• Over 300,000 stars
• ~25,000 ly away
Arecibo message
• 1974 – Arecibo radio telescope (Puerto Rico)
• Francis Drake & Carl Sagan
• Encoded: DNA, atomic numbers, Earth’s
position

2.

Exoplanet?
3.

Kepler Spacecraft
• Launched in 2009
• 1284 new exoplanets, 3199 candidates
All Methods
• 3518 exoplanets confirmed since 1992 (most in
past decade)
• 1/5 sun-like stars have Earth-sized planet in
habitable zone
• Assuming 200 billion MW stars
• 11 billion potentially habitable Earth-sized
planets in MW alone
• Proxima Centauri
• 4.2 ly
• Red dwarf
• ESO
• Proxima Centauri b: 1.27 of Earth mass

3.
Artist interpretation

4.
Andromeda Galaxy (M31)
• 2.5 million ly away
• Largest of local group
• 4 billion yrs collision
• Most distant object with
naked eye (really hard
though)

RESET TO NORTH

?
5.

Sagittarius A*





Supermassive black hole
4 million solar masses
Singularity = physics fails
Time = SLOW
Spaghettification
Lots of other cool stuff, no
time, need black hole

5.

Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

5.

Planets
• Planet = wanderer in Greek
• They won’t always be in these constellations!
• Don’t twinkle as much

7.

Mars
Venus

6.
Saturn

M31, Andromeda Galaxy

NGC 869 & NGC 884

M27, Dumbbell Planetary Nebula

M42, Orion Nebula

M13

Credits:
Astronomy Simulations – Astronomy Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Earth Black Marble image – Courtesy of NASA
Dark Sky Maps – www.darksitefinder.com
Ferris, Timothy. Seeing in the Dark: How Amateur Astronomers Are Discovering the
Wonders of the Universe. Simon & Schuster (2003).
San Diego Skyline – Ted Ross 2007
Star fields taken from Stellarium, GNU General Public License
Star trails video – taken by Larry W. Brown, (2014, YouTube).
Supermassive Black Hole. Written by Mathew Bellamy. Performed by Muse. Warner
Bros. Records (2006).

“All our science, measured against reality, is
primitive and childlike—and yet it is the
most precious thing we have.”
ALBERT EINSTEIN
(1879 – 1955)