Constellations and Star Wheels
This is a required exercise worth 40 points toward your final grade. Carefully read the
lab and complete the experiment as instructed. If something is not clear, do not hesitate
to ask the instructor.
You will use the attached sheets to make a star wheel, and use the star wheel to answer
the questions on the next page. Making an adequate star wheel is worth 20 points. After
you have made the star wheel, show it to your instructor to earn your points. You get to
keep the star wheel for your own use. This lab is due February 12.
Making the Star Wheel:
The star wheel comes in two parts: Part 1 is a circular map of the sky, Part 2 is the
outer sleeve. Each part for the Star Wheel is sized to fit on a single sheet of letter-size
paper. For the sky map (Part 1), trim away the gray corners so that you're left with a
circle 8 inches across. For the outer sleeve (Part 2), make sure you keep the large white
rectangle at the bottom; also, cut out the white oval in the middle. For better durability,
paste both sheets onto a file folder or any other sturdy piece of paper or cardboard before
cutting out the parts.
To assemble the star wheel, fold the white rectangle at the bottom of the outer sleeve
so it's underneath the front. Then staple the rectangle to the front at the locations marked
by short white lines to either side of the oval. Slip in the circular sky map so it shows
through the oval. Now you have a star wheel ready to use.
Using the Star Wheel:
Align your date and time. Use the white (top) hours when standard time is in effect
and the grey (bottom) hours when clocks are set for daylight-saving time. The star
wheel’s large oval shows the whole sky, and the oval’s curved edge represents the
horizon you’re facing. Hold the star wheel out in front of you and look at the “Facing”
labels around the oval. Turn the entire wheel so that the label for the direction you’re
facing is on the bottom, with the lettering right-side up. The star positions in the sky
should match those on the wheel.