Observing Report

A small part of the course will involve carrying out an observing project and writing a short report. The report can be at most 1 page of text using 10-12pt font, single-spaced. Additional pages are allowed for pictures or diagrams. Two different options for observing topics are listed below. Choose one. IMPORTANT – For both projects detailed below, the minimum spacing of successive observations is two days, such that each observation must have two days without another observation in between that observation and the next observation to count towards the minimum number of 8 observations. You may make successive observations, but they do not count to the minimum number of 8. Day 1 – Observation 1 Day 2 – No Observation Day 3 – No Observation Day 4 – Observation 2 Project 1 – The Setting Sun: The goal for this project is to observe the changing position of the setting Sun over the course of (at least) 4 weeks. First, you will need to find a location where you have a reasonably clear view of the western horizon so that you can see the sunset. This can be a little tricky from the UCI campus since there are build- ings and hills in the way, but find a place where you can at least see the Sun setting over the hills without any buildings in the way. If you can go down to the beach or a place with an unobstructed ocean view that would be even better, but it is not necessary. You will need to return to the exact same spot for each observation. You will need to make at least 8 separate observations of the sunset spanning a period of at least 4 weeks. You should not make 8 consecutive days of observations, because the position of the setting Sun will not change very much over that time: the goal is to spread your observations over a month (or more, if you want to). For each observation, make a sketch of the location of the setting Sun relative to some visible landmarks on the horizon, so you can track how the location of the sunset changes over time. Also, record the time of the sunset (and be sure to keep track of whether it’s Standard time or Daylight Savings time). If it is too cloudy to see the sunset, then you do not count that day as one of your 8 observations. You can do more than 8 observations if you would like, but 8 is the minimum number you should do. For your report, describe the location you chose for your observations, how the position of the sunset on the horizon changed over time (giving a diagram or picture), and how the time of the sunset changed. Explain the physical reason for these changes in terms of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun and any other relevant information. Important – DO NOT look at the Sun directly: this can damage your eyes! Wait until the Sun has mostly set so that the Sun is at least 3/4 behind the horizon before looking toward the sunset and wear

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