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ASTRONOMY 352K
HOMEWORK SET #1
How to maximize your marks on the homework: • Show all steps in the calculations. That way, if you make an arithmetic error on a question, it still may be possible for us to assign partial credit. • Showing all steps does not mean naming an applet on the web. • Be legible! We can’t give a grade to something we can’t read. • Cleanly labeled diagrams are almost always helpful and, sometimes are required for a complete explanation. • You may talk among yourselves about these questions in order to gain insight. However, all final work must be your own. • Yes, ask questions of me, but in return please start on the homework set before the evening of September 19.

DUE: September 20, 2010

THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING IS INSIGHT, NOT NUMBERS
1. Derive expressions for the following using diagrams, equations, and explanatory sentences: (a) For an observer at latitude φ, what is the altitude of the point where the Celestial Equator crosses the local celestial meridian? What is the declination of an object at the zenith? (b) Consider a star that is barely circumpolar, such that it just touches the horizon at lower transit of the local meridian. How can you use observations of this star to measure its declination, and how is this quantity related to the latitude of the observer? (c) Solve the above for the specific case of HD 122563. 2. The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET), located at McDonald Observatory, is permanently tipped by 35o with respect to the vertical, but the tracker mechanism extends its range by about ±6o . It can be set to any azimuth. Which of the following objects can or cannot be observed with the HET at some time of the year? Explain your reasoning (quantitatively!) and use a diagram. (a) α Ursa Majoris; (b) BD+17 3248; (c) 47 Tucanae; (d) the SMC; and (e) Vega. Finally, a telescope permanently crippled in elevation angle? Huh? Explain how it (and the “SALT”) tracks objects, and why one might construct such a telescope. 3. Suppose that you want to observe Messier 1 (M1) with one of the Gemini telescopes, either the north one or the south one. The telescopes are equivalent, so your choice is determined by how easily the star can be observed from their respective sites. Assume that you want to observe the star only when it is above 60o altitude. Derive an expression for the hour angle corresponding to this altitude, and calculate then how long you can continuously observe M1 in a single night. So which telescope to you want to get time on? Why is M1 of any astrophysical interest (I need more than one sentence here)? 4. Do exercises 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 in the text, except P LEASE express your answer to 1.5 in parsecs (we don’t speak light years in this course). Note the red herring in 1.4.

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