Astronomy Activities

The list of all activities currently or recently in use is in the table below. You can also view older or less often used activites, or new activities.

You might also want the Astronomy Projects Page with all the observing projects as well as planetarium and Starry Night (or other computer planetarium software) projects, meant to be done outside of class time.

101 students may want the Resources for Challenges page.

Some other useful information:

Activity Title
(In alphabetical order. Explorer and Observing Series at bottom)


The Age of the Universe
Brightness and Surface Brightness (Planetarium)
Cepheid Variables
You will need the introduction and the appropriate worksheet and graphs.
Characterizing the diversity of galaxies with Galaxy Zoo
Comets -- Make Your Own
Constellation Activities (planetarium or outdoors)
Coordinate Systems (planetarium, observatory, classroom or computer)
You will need the introduction no matter which version you are doing. Check with your GSI for which other parts you will need.
Daytime Observing at Angell Hall
Drake Equation
Evolutionary Biology Scavenger Hunt at the U-M Museum of Natural History
Geologic Age
You will need the intro. Check with your GSI for the other parts. The 6 images for the relative dating part are easier to view online and are linked within the activity
Kepler Exoplanets
The Milky Way Disk (planetarium)
Motion (Newton's laws)
Motions of the planets (planetarium)
You will need the map for both versions.
Phases of the Moon in the Planetarium (planetarium)
Phases of Venus
Precession (planetarium)
Rotation of Spiral Galaxies (Tully-Fisher Relation)
Seasons (planetarium, computer)

You will need one of the introductions, and one of the worksheets.

Size of the Solar System

If you are doing an outside version, you also need to get the Map

Searching for Life
Solar Observing (observatory)
Spectral Classification and The Pleiades
Note there are 3 versions: one using Luminosity and flux, one using magnitudes and one for discussion sections. Ask your instructor for clarification if needed.
Note: There are two versions of this lab, a long one for lab sections and a shorter one for discussion sections. Be sure to download the correct version. Ask your instructor for clarification if needed.
Stellar Structure
Structure of the Milky Way Galaxy (planetarium)
Timekeeping and Telescopes at the Detroit Observatory (observatory)
Radio Telescope Observations
Note: This is a users manual with observing exercises in PDF format.