Astronomy Projects

This page is provided as refrence and resource for all introductory astronomy classes. Students should check with their instructors for the requirements for their class(s), and availablity of projects.

List all the projects

Filter the projects:

by Tier:

  • Tier 1
    • take less than 1 hour, are only one step, no cost, and don't require anything you probably don't own or can't get on campus.
  • Tier 2
    • projects that require something else, such as special equipment (like a camera), travel to a location that isn't home or campus, multiple steps or observations, or more than one hour to complete.

by TYPE:

  • Observing
    • make some sort of observation. These may involve sketching what you see or planning in advance.
  • Planetarium
    • Most must be done in the Angell Hall planetarium, except for the visit to another planetarium. Check with your instructor about the availability of these projects.
  • Computer
    • These were designed to use the Starry Night College software available in the Angell Hall Astronomy computer labs. Many of these can be done using other softare you may have or can get for free. Check your textbook -it may come with a basic version of Starry Night, or with the Voyager Sky Gazer software. Stellarium is open source software that you can use for most of the projects. Be aware that help documentation and support is only for Starry Night on the lab computers.
  • Photography
    • If you have a camera, there are several photography projects. Some require only a cell phone camera, but others require fairly special equipment, so read the descriptions carefully, and check with your GSI.
  • Other projects
    • Things that don't fit into any of the above categories.


  • Campus Observatory
    • Check with your instructor about the availability of the Angell Hall or the Detroit Observatory.
  • Angell Hall Planetarium
    • Check with your instructor about the availability of the planetarium.
  • Angell Hall Astronomy Computer Labs.
    • Starry Night is available here. There is usually someone who knows how to use the software avaialable when the labs are open.
  • Dark sky,
    • These require a car to get to. Check the schedule for Peach Mountain ➚ or check these projects if you are heading out of town for a break.
  • Home
    • These can be done at home or any other convenient location (like the Arb) with a clear view of some part of the sky.
  • Visit
    • These require you to go someplace either off campus, or someplace that charges admission, like the planetarium in the UM Museum of Natural History or an observatory at another university.