Astronomy activities


It’s easy to tell that all stars are not the same brightness – some stars are brighter, while others are dimmer. We can often use how bright the star appears to us (it’s apparent luminosity) to tell how far away that star is, if we know some additional information about the star (like it’s color, for instance). In this lab, you’ll get a little practice estimating stellar magnitudes for the different brightnesses of stars.

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For this lab, you’ll need to print out the Estimating Stellar Magnitudes worksheet (attached below), and the monthly star chart (…).

To submit your lab, simply type in your answers to the Estimating Stellar MagnitudesWorksheet Word document (attached below).

IMPORTANT – the point of this lab is NOT to look up the magnitudes of each of these stars!!! The point is for you to go outside and estimate the magnitudes of the stars, using other stars as a reference. If you look up and fill in the magnitudes of the stars simply by Googling them, you’ll get no points for this assignment! You have to actually do the lab – the numbers aren’t the important part – I can look up the numbers – the important part is you doing the estimating!


This activity will give you a first view of the nighttime sky during the summer time (the view of the sky is different during different times of the year – you can see different stars in the summer than you can in the winter, for example). You’ll want to go outside, preferably somewhere as dark as you can get, which is always a problem here in Los Angeles!

For this activity, you’ll need to print out the Introducing the Summertime Night Sky lab, as well as the monthly star chart (


Exoplanets, or planets that are outside our solar system, are an incredibly exciting discovery. There’s thousands of confirmed exoplanets out there – just imagine what kind of life might be hiding on any one of them! This lab will introduce you to some of the methods that are used to detect distant exoplanets.

For this lab, you’ll need to print out the Introductory reading material on Exoplanets, which will explain the lab. Then, to do the lab, you need the Exoplanets worksheet, both from the University of Michigan Astronomy Department.

To submit your lab, simply type in your answers to the Exoplanets Worksheet Word document.

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