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Are there any resources online for astronomy experiments that I can perform myself?

I am looking if anyone knows any measurements to take while looking for various objects during the evening particularly using a telescope/binoculars.

A couple of examples would be determining the orbits of the moons of Jupiter through an evenings observations or trying to measure a stars parallax from measurements throughout the year.

I can think of a handful of other ones but was wondering if there were any other resources to provide some more ideas.

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One thing to I always wanted to try is use accurate watch and sextan to see if it is possible to calculate my own geographic coordinates the old fashioned way. Just need to find this sextant –  user299 May 28 '12 at 7:17

4 Answers 4

You might consider observing variable stars:


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I haven't done these myself, but here's a few to consider:

  1. Measure the mass of Jupiter from the orbital period of its satellites (Io and Europa seem natural candidates since they're closer, so their periods are shorter and the measurement takes less time). You can either assume that you already have the radius or try a different number of experiments to measure the radius (this can also be given to different "teams" in a classroom and compare the results).
  2. Replicate Ole Romer's measurement of the speed of light. This one should take longer, though, so it might not be what you're looking for.
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You should visit the Astronomical League site. They have several observational programs, ranging from naked eye to detailed telescopic spotting programs. I enjoyed the Double Star series myself.


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It is a long time since I do not use the internet for this, but HobbySpace has several links to projects for amateur astronomers.

Hope that helped!

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