University of Michigan - Department of Astronomy

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Observatories and the Night Sky in Ann Arbor

Overview


Introduction

The purpose of this activity is for you to gain a better understanding of the astronomical facilities here at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. You should learn about the different types of telescopes astronomers use and about the early science and history of Michigan astronomy. Before you start, please read the following resources on the Detroit Observatory: http://bentley.umich.edu/observatory/ and http://www.umich.edu/~lowbrows/reflections/1998/dsnyder.13.html You will also want to read Chapter 6 (about Telescopes) in your book.

Worksheet

  1. There are two common types of telescopes: reflecting and refracting. Describe the difference between the two. List two advantages and disadvantages for each.





  2. There are two common types of mounts for telescopes: Alt/Az and Equatorial. Describe the difference between the two. List two advantages and disadvantages for each.
  3. The Fitz 12.6 inch telescope currently housed in the Detroit Observatory dome. Briefly describe this telescope (it's size, type, mount, construction, etc).






  4. A MeridianTransit Telescope can be used to measure the local sidereal time using star catalogs. Explain how this is done (see here for hints: http://aquillam.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/meridian-telescope-harp/)





  5. Astronomers at the University of Michigan now use world-class telescopes at locations in Tuscon, AZ (The MDM Observatory), Mt WIlson in CA (the CHARA Array) and in Chile (The Curtis-Schmidt Telescope on Cerro Tololo and the Magellan Telescopes on Las Campanas). Discuss the differences between these modern facilities and the Detroit Observatory (types and sizes of telescopes, the locations, the weather, etc.)

Last updated: 10/31/12 by SAM

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