Introduction to the Planets/Activity 1

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Activity 1[edit]

The following activity is for people with little experience of lunar observing and should be completed whenever you are able.

Follow the link below and print out the map of the moon:

Moon Map

If you don't own any binoculars for this activity try to beg, borrow or... well, just beg or borrow some (or a telescope if you have access to one). If you can't get any, pick a clear night and try this with unaided vision anyway - don't worry if the moon isn't full. Try to pick out the different feature of the moon. Once you have familiarised yourself with it, try to match the labels from the moon map to the features you can see.

If you want to continue observing the moon regularly and recording your observations you could use the following observing log:

Moon Observation Log Sheet

NB You don’t need a big fancy telescope to do real astronomy, a half-decent pair of binoculars are an excellent tool, and so portable they can go everywhere with you if you wish. In an ideal world you need a good pair of 10x50 (or 7x50 or 12x50) binoculars to do any serious astronomical observing (anything less than x50 is better than nothing, but doesn't gather as much light, so doesn't show as much detail; anything much more than 10x will magnify too much for someone of average strength to hold still enough for any length of time – the image will tremble. A good pair of 15x70 binoculars will give very good results if you can rest your arms on a high wall or similar to stop the worst of the tremble - even better with 15x70s or bigger would be attaching them to a camera tripod). If you are thinking of getting into astronomy it is sensible to buy yourself a pair of binoculars first (10x50s are more than adequate), as they are a fraction of the cost of a telescope, and if, after 2 or 3 months you are still keen (and can afford one), then it is time to think about buying a telescope.