Virtual Idea Lab

Observation Project & Log

Primary Faith Integration Assignment: Independent Observation Project & Log.

Each student must complete one of the projects listed below, involving at least 8 hours of sky-watching (documented with drawings, diagrams, and/or photographs, along with textual explanations of what you observed during the full course of the project), and at least 8 dated journal entries recording his/her personal reflections on what God has to do with astronomy. Include any challenges to your faith that may have arisen during this course and how you have tried to resolve them. These reflections should be subjective, and may originate from your own observations, philosophical or theological ponderings, class discussions, scripture readings, research, or science journal reading. Look up and reflect on your denomination’s position statements on issues relating to origins. Your journal entries should include reflections on biblical scientific foreknowledge, the Big Bang theory, and evolution. This is the “Capstone Project” for this course, and something you may want to add to or refer back to later in life, so get creative and put some effort into it!

Target length: 12 pages (typed and illustrated). Due date: Week 12 of class.

1)     Moon-tracking: Track and diagram the moon relative to other celestial objects (stars and planets) as it moves through the sky during a full month, noting times, dates, location and cardinal directions (make observations on at least 8 separate nights over a full month). Make sure you observe from the same vantage point for each observation. Could involve moon-rise/moon-set observations, similar to the sunrise/sunset project outlined below.

2)     Sunrise/sunset observations: Track and diagram the precise position on the horizon (relative to terrestrial landmarks such as hills, buildings, etc.) where the sun rises or sets, or both, once a week for 8 consecutive weeks, noting times, dates, location and cardinal directions, as well as any visible stars or planets. Make sure you observe from the same vantage point for each observation.

3)     Planet observations: Track and diagram visible planets relative to other celestial objects as they move during the course of the semester on at least 8 separate occasions, noting times, dates, locations and cardinal directions.

4)     Apparent motion of the stars: Observe, diagram, and explain the apparent motions of 4 or more northern asterisms or constellations relative to Polaris (the North Star) during the course of 1 to 4 consecutive nights, noting times, dates, location, cardinal directions, and any visible planets. This should consist of at least 8 hours of observations.

5)     Sky Journal: Keep a journal of your observations of the sky, noting times, dates, location and all four cardinal directions. Keep a record of asterisms, constellations, and stars that you can identify, as well as locations and appearances of planets and/or meteors, including drawings, diagrams or photographs and brief descriptions. Organize your journal entries chronologically, and note changes in positions of celestial objects from one observation period to the next. Your journal should include observations on at least 8 separate occasions.