ASTR 1210/1220/1230/1270 Student Lab Information: Fall 2012

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Constellation Quiz

Location: The Garage Area, located just to the west of the Astronomy Building (away from Alderman Road)


Nights Times Begins Ends
Constellation Lab Mon., Tues., Wed., & Thurs.   9:00 - 10:00 PM Jan 21 Apr 29
Constellation Lab Mon., Tues., Wed., & Thurs. 10:00 - 11:00 PM Jan 21 Apr 29

No labs will be offered on these days:

    Mar. 10 - Mar. 14 Spring Recess.

Most ASTR 1210/1220/1230/1270 students will be required to complete the Constellation Lab activity. You are required to sign-up online for this activity. This exercise consists of learning a few basic concepts about the night sky, as well as how to find constellations and stars listed on the constellation quiz study sheet. The activity consists of three parts: a brief talk given by the TA, the night sky activity questions, and a short quiz:

  1. The TA will give a brief tour of the night sky and explain the basic concepts needed to complete the activity. The TAs will assume that the students have no knowledge of the night sky.
  2. The students will have about 20-30 minutes to complete the activity. The activity questions will emphasize concepts and navigation on the night sky using the constellations.
  3. In the last 10 minutes or so, the TA will administer a brief quiz drawn from a list of objects on the activity sheet. Students will record their answers on their sheets.

Make sure that you bring something to write with, as well as a hard writing surface and a red flashlight if you have one. Only a limited number of clipboards and red flashlights will be provided for you to use during the activity.

Remember, if the sky is cloudy, this program will not run even if the sky clears after 8:00 PM. You should call the Night Lab Status Line at 924-7238 after 6:30 PM (and check to see if there is an updated message after 8:00 PM) to find out if the lab will be run that evening.

Arriving on time is important, since the TAs will begin the activities promptly at the start of the scheduled session.

Completing the Constellation Lab as early as possible in the semester is highly recommended. If you procrastinate, bad weather may prevent you from completing your lab before the deadline. Unless your professor tells you otherwise, NO exceptions to the deadline will be made due to bad weather. Deadlines vary by instructor so check your syllabus.

Note: No constellations quizzes will be given at McCormick Observatory.

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Telescope Observing

Location: Sign in front of Astronomy Building (530 McCormick Road)


Nights Times Begins Ends
Telescope Observing Mon. & Thurs. 9:00 - 11:00 PM Jan 27 Apr 28

No labs will be offered on these days:

    Mar. 10 - Mar. 14 Spring Recess.

Some ASTR 1210/1220/1230/1270 sections include a telescope observing laboratory exercise; check your syllabus or see your professor if you are unsure whether this is assigned for your section.

Visit our Current Weather Conditions page for information pertaining to whether nighttime laboratories will be open for students. The Sky Calendar at Sky & Telescope lists objects of interest in the current night sky. 

No constellation quizzes will be given at McCormick Observatory.




Computer Labs

Some ASTR 1210/1220 sections include optional computer laboratories, such as the Contemporary Laboratory Experience in Astronomy (CLEA) computer labs. See your syllabus or instructor if you are unsure which labs, if any, you are required to do.

Interactive software for the CLEA labs is available on computers in ITS Labs. To access the software, follow the directions for logging onto ITS computers (see ITS Lab Login for more information). Next, select "Start" and then "Arts & Sciences". The CLEA labs should be under the category of "Astronomy". This software can also be accessed via the Internet through the UVa HIVE system. The HIVE is currently supported under certain Windows and Mac Platforms. Follow the instructions to get connected to the HIVE. The CLEA labs can be found under the build name "01_Engineering_and_Arts_and_Sciences".

Note: some labs require an "Answer Sheet" to be filled out and turned in.

ASTR 1210/1220 specific labs:


ASTR 1230 specific labs:




McCormick and Fan Mountain Observatory Public Nights

McCormick Observatory is open to the public on the first and third Friday of every month. Located on the Grounds at the top of Mt. Jefferson (Observatory Hill), McCormick Observatory's 26-inch refracting telescope has been in continuous use since 1885. Weather permitting, visitors can view the planets and other celestial objects through the 26-inch McCormick refractor and the Observatory's other telescopes. Visitors can also view presentations and exhibits. The Observatory is open from 9:00--11:00 PM April through October and from 7:00--9:00 PM November through March. See the Public Night and Schedule Pages for more details.

Each April and October, Public Nights are held at the Fan Mountain Observing Station, 13 miles south of town. Free admission tickets are required to visit Fan Mountain. See the Public Night and Schedule Pages for more details.