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A Summer Assignment
By Jeff Oaster
Posted on 7/5/2018 11:02 AM
Last week a coworker sent me a private message through my College's Slack account. She and her husband were going to take their daughter to Cherry Springs and were hoping I could lend a hand with some observings tips and things to look for. She may not have known what she was getting herself into...

After swapping some messages back and forth, she took me up on my offer to let her borrow the semi-legendary "BA" 9x63 Celestron binos and I tolde her I would create a little observing checklist for her. Of course, one thing led to another and my Educational Technology background kicked in. I ended up designing two different training modules and then asked if she wouldn't mind me adding a little Variable Star Challenge Module. Knowing that RR Lyrae's variable period is roughly twelve hours and  changes a whole order of magnitude, I figured that would be an interesting target to record two or three observations over the course of a night. She agreed and over the course of roughly two hours, the following homework assignment was created:

She was very impressed and quite appreciative of my efforts! I also did a little promo for the Valley Forge Star Parties so hopefully we'll see them there.

Feel free to critique it, offer me suggestions to add or modify,  or better yet: use it yourself. My goal was to keep it simple and at a middle school level. I went with the assumption that some basic astronomy knowledge was involved, but probably should add in a brief description of magnitude and throw in a quick "determine the magnitude" lesson.

They are up at Cherry Springs as I type, and hopefully they get some cooperative weather!

Clear skies!