Examples of Stellarium activities


Venus sun Transit June 6th 2012, as observed from Tokyo Japan

Venus Transit happens two times, 8 years apart and takes more than a century to occur again. To know if you can observe the transit from your location refer to Venus local transit times. For more information on the transit, refer to the wikipedia article: Transit of Venus.

In this activity we will see how Stellarium simulate this events as it is observed from Tokyo, Japan.

- Enable the Time zone plugin: Go to configuration window -> plugins -> select Time zone -> check the "Load at startup" box. Restart Stellarium.



 Again go  to configuration window -> plugins -> Time zone -> press "configure" button. 



- Set Time zone of Tokyo: "Time zone" tab -> check third option "Offset from UTC (hours):" and set the value to 9. Tokyo is UTC + 9 hours. Press the "save settings" button. Restart Stellarium.



- Set Location to Tokyo: Location window from side bar or [F6] -> in the search field next to the search lens, type "Japan". All towns of japan will be displayed. Scroll to the towns beginning with the letter U. Tokyo appears as Tôkyô just before Ube, Japan.



- Set date: Date and Time window from side bar or [F5] -> set date to 2012 06 06, set time to 07 10 00



Center sun on screen: Search for sun using the search window [F3] -> select the sun by clicking on it -> press the space bar on the key board to keep the sun centered on the screen. -> Zoom in using the mouse wheel or the PageUp key until the sun fills most of the display.



- Locate Venus: now look for venus as a small circle on the left side of the sun.

- Increase time rate: Increase time speed using the bottom bar button or the [L] key. Press three times to get a reasonable speed to see the whole events that lasts about 6 hours in a a matter of a few seconds.



- Restore your time zone: After you finish, restore your time zone. If you were using system default, then check the first option and save your settings.


Venus Transit in front of Jupiter Jan 3rd 1818

to be completed

Planets Motion around the sun

This activity was extracted from an assignment to demonstrate Kepler's third law.

The activity will display the planets motion around the sun.

1. Hide the ground using the shortcut key [G] or the  button from the bottom control bar.

2. Hide the fog along the horizon by toggling the shortcut key [F].
3. cancel atmospheric effect to have dark sky even in daylight by the shortcut key [A] or the from the bottom control bar.
4. Open the search dialog window from side bar or use the shortcut key [F3].
5. Search for solar system observer.



6. Press Ctrl+G, this will take you to a vantage point which is about 334 AU from the solar system.
7. Open the search dialog window again and search for sun.



8. Now you are over the solar system plane.
9. Open the sky and viewing options dialog window from side bar or use the shortcut key [F4]. 



10. Under the "sky" tab, 
  - In the stars section, un-check the "Dynamic eye adaptation"
  - In the "Planets and satellites" section, check "Show planets", "Show planet markers" and "Show planet orbits".
  - In the "Labels and markers" section, check "planets" and drag the slider all the way to the right. This will show the labels of the faintest planets.

11. Close the sky and viewing options window.
12. Zoom in until the orbit of Mars fills the screen.




13. Increase time rate using the shortcut key [L] or thebutton from the bottom control bar. You need to increase several times to get an observable motion.

Retrograde of Mars

If you follow Mars on the sky night after night, you will notice that it moves against the constellations from east to west, but every two years or so this movement seems to stop and reverses for about two months then it will reverse back again to the normal west to east direction. For an animation and discussion see Mars retrograde. All outer planets have a retrograde motion.

This activity will try to find when a retrograde motion of Mars will happen after a certain date.

Total Lunar Eclipse 2011

Two total lunar eclipses happened in 2011, on June 15th and December 10th.
(tbc)

Making a total sky chart

1. Hide the ground using the shortcut key [G] or the  button from the bottom control bar.

2. Hide the fog along the horizon by toggling the shortcut key [F].
3. cancel atmospheric effect to have dark sky even in daylight by the shortcut key [A] or the  from the bottom control bar.

4. Hide cardinal points by using the shortcut key [Q] or the button from the bottom control bar.

5. Use Equatorial mount view by using the shortcut key [Ctrl+M] or the  button from the bottom control bar.

6. Open the Sky and viewing options window. In Sky tab:
    - Un-check the "Dynamic eye adaptation".
    - Set Light pollution to 1.
    - Un-check "Show planets".



7. Markings tab:
    - Check "Equatorial grid".
    - Check "Ecliptic line".
    - Check "Equator line".
    - Select Hammer-Aitoff from "Projection section



8. Zoom out until you have a sky globe view that fills the screen. For smooth zooming, use Shift+PageDown or Shift+PageUp. Initial view may be similar to this:





9. Pan up or down with arrow keys. To get smoother panning use Shift+arrow key until Polaris is at the top of the chart.

10. Pan right or left with the arrow keys. To get smoother panning use Shift+arrow key until the red ecliptic line intersects the blue Equator line at the edges of the chart.


11. If you like the constellations figures in the chart use the shortcut key [R] or the  button in the bottom control bar.


12. Use Ctrl+s to get a screen shot. The image file will go to the directory as shown on the configuration window, tools tab:


Stars that are always above horizon and stars that are always below horizon

To be completed

Planning to photograph the ISS (International Space Station)

to be completed

Supernova

to be completed

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