Imagine building your very own astronomical observatory at your school! For the cost of an inexpensive Webcam and following the simple instructions found here, you can soon be observing the moon, planets, and even other galaxies! Instructions for such observations are included, and the additional exercises listed below include example observations that can be done with such a system.
In order to carry out the observations we are going to need: a webcam, a photographic lens or a telescope, and a computer with appropriate software.
Valuable observations can be made with Internet cameras – webcams. A typical webcam usually costs about €25 and after slight adjustments it can be used for very interesting observations. Even in the city, with pollution, using a small telescope or a zoom objective it is possible to catch interesting images of the Moon, Jupiter atmospheric bands and satellites, Saturn Rings, red-planet Mars, ...
In the 17th century it was observed that the Sun turns around its axis every 28 days approximately, in the same direction as the Earth – from the West to the East. As the Sun is not a solid body, its different parts rotate at different rate, depending on their distance from the solar equator. The rotation period changes from 31 days near to the poles to 27 days in vicinity of the equator.
There are different signs of solar activity such as the sunspots, the protuberances, and the chromospheric flares. The sunspots were known already in antiquity. They are mentioned in the Chinese records as well as in the relations of the British sailors and the old Russian chroniclers. Actually the sunspots are just the darker areas in solar photosphere of size from a few to 100.000 km and lifetime from tenths of days to a few months. The sunspots are related to the magnetic field, and their pairs have always opposite polarities. Groups of the sunspots emerge suddenly. Usually we can see two spots, in whose vicinity the smaller spots appear gradually. Their number grows steadily by 2-3 weeks, reaching a maximum, and then again falls down. The number of sunspots varies periodically, reaching its maximum every 11 years.
Discover the beauty of the Universe imaging it from your backyard!!! After modification of the webcam, allowing for the long exposures, it is also suitable to take pictures of the nebular objects.
In this presentation, learn simple experiments to get pictures of constellations, computer image processing to improve the results.