Observing the movement of constellations (stars) in Stars and the Solar System – Class 8 Science Experiment

Chapter Name: Some Natural Phenomena

Activity Name: Observing the movement of constellations (stars) in Stars and the Solar System

Activity Description:

Observing the movement of constellations (stars) in Stars and the Solar System - Class 8 Science Experiment

In this experiment, students will observe the apparent movement of constellations in the night sky over time. They will use a 20cm x 20cm square sheet of paper with a 1cm diameter hole in the center. The paper will be held in front of the observer’s eyes with an ‘x’ mark at the bottom.

By looking through the hole, they will locate the pole star. Then, they will determine the directions in which the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and Cassiopeia constellations lie and mark them as ‘G’ and ‘C’ on the paper. The observer will also choose a nearby tree or house as a reference point and draw it on the paper.

Required Items:

  1. 20cm x 20cm square sheet of paper
  2. Pen or marker
  3. Reference point (tree or house)

Step by Step Procedure:

  1. Take the square sheet of paper and make a 1cm diameter hole in its center.
  2. Mark a cross (‘x’) on one side of the paper.
  3. Hold the paper in front of your eyes with the ‘x’ mark at the bottom and locate the pole star through the hole.
  4. Identify and mark the directions of the Great Bear and Cassiopeia as ‘G’ and ‘C’ respectively on the paper.
  5. Note the time of the observation.
  6. Choose a nearby tree or house as a reference point and draw it on the paper to indicate its location.
  7. Repeat the observations at one-hour intervals while standing in the same spot, marking the positions of the constellations and noting the time for each observation.
  8. Check whether the position of the pole star has changed relative to the reference point and note any changes.
  9. Conduct the activity at least four times, ensuring the ‘x’ mark on the paper remains at the bottom during all observations.
  10. Alternatively, other known stars or constellations close to the pole star can be used for the activity.

Experiment Observations:

  • Students will observe the positions of the pole star, Great Bear, and Cassiopeia at different times and note any changes in their apparent positions relative to the chosen reference point.

Precautions:

  1. Ensure that the ‘x’ mark on the paper remains at the bottom during all observations.
  2. Conduct the observations from the same spot to maintain consistency.
  3. Be cautious when looking at stars in the night sky to avoid obstacles or hazards.

Lesson Learnt from Experiment:

Through this experiment, students will understand the concept of the apparent motion of stars in the night sky. They will learn that stars appear to move across the sky due to the Earth’s rotation, and the pole star remains relatively fixed in the northern hemisphere. The activity will also introduce them to basic celestial navigation techniques using reference points and constellations.

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