You may certainly undertake the observations with a friend. If you feel unsafe doing the nighttime observations, by all means go out with someone else. There is nothing wrong with consulting with others to make sure you are measuring the right thing. But you must do your own observations. You must record your own observations (no sharing logbooks). You must analyze your data and write your report by yourself. If you share a computer with someone else in the course, be sure to generate your own unique text and figures.
That is a common problem here on Long Island. There always seem to be trees or buildings in the way. The solution is to use the trees and buildings as a pseudo-horizon. So long as they don't move over the course of the semester, they provide a reference against which to measure the location of the sunset (in other words, do not use a truck or a car as a reference point!).
Use your hands:
Yes, but be sure to annotate the pictures appropriately when you hand them in. A sketch is more convenient, because you can draw many sunsets on a single sketch. The analysis of a series of photographs may be more complicated.
That is up to you. If you use a single plot, make sure that the different plots are distinguishable. Use colors.
For as long as you can. The longer you go, the more clearly you will be able to see trends. Remember, to do this properly would require a full year. Go for at least 2 months, and preferably up to the week the activity is due.
No. You need to orient yourself so that you know roughly where North is (so you can give the direction of the Moon), and you should observe from a place where you can see (or at least estimate) the horizon (so you can measure the altitude). Note that for activity 2, you do need to observe from the same place, because the Solar motions are slower than the Lunar motions, and you need a stable reference against which to measure it.
Yes, if it is open.
It is a public place, and it affords a good view
of the western horizon. But be careful. The roof is dark and has cracked
tiles and protruding vents
that one can easily trip on. In winter snow and ice may
accumulate of the roof. One you get to the roof, wait a minute or two to
let your eyes adapt to the dark before venturing forth, or carry a
You were all told the combination to the roof door lock; if you have
forgotten it please ask your TA or instructor.
The ESS building is nominally closed on weekends, but you can often find
an open door. Plan around this,
Note that the telescope dome is not open to the public except at scheduled
You were all told the combination to the roof door lock; if you have forgotten it please ask your TA or instructor.
The ESS building is nominally closed on weekends, but you can often find an open door. Plan around this,
Note that the telescope dome is not open to the public except at scheduled times.
You may use individual sheets stapled together. Make sure the staples hold, because we'll have a lot of reports coming in. Put your name on each page just in case.
You will have to account for this.
Activity 1: I leave it up to you. What is the question you are asking? The plots will look nicer if you correct all times to standard times, or to DST. But the correct answer to a question may depend on whether or not you make a correction.
Activity 2: you will have to adjust your schedule to the time of sunset (or sunrise), which will shift by an hour.
Activity 3: do the lunar observations one hour earlier (or later), depending on the semester.
That depends on the circumstances. If there are clouds about, then you should probably confirm the non-detection a little later, or the next night. If your sky is obscured by trees/buildings, move around a bit to see if the moon is hidden. But if the sky is clear, and your sky is unobstructed, then the absence of the moon is a legitimate observation.
Absolutely. But be consistent - don't mix sunrise and sunset. I tend to refer to sunset observations because most students are asleep at sunrise.