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.

A webcam observatory at school
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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, ...

 

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The Sun, the Moon and planets ...
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See the Lunar surface, observe sunspots, see planets of our Solar System through an ocular of a school - type telescope. Observations registered with the help of a webcam are ready to download as video files.

Sunspots Moon Jupiter Saturn

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Observations of variable stars
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Start observations of variable stars with a webcamera. A short review of the characteristic constellations and methods which allow us to find stars suitable for amateur observations in the sky.

RZCas

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Observations of the Sun
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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.

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Astrophotography
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Andromeda

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.

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Astronomical observatory in your school ?
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minervg.gif  How to build a low-cost observatory in your school with EU-HOU help? You will be suprised to learn how many interesting observations can be performed using systems readily available to schools.

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Jupiter and Its Moons - primer in digital image processing
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Jupiter and Its Moons - primer in digital image processing
(Witold Polesiuk, School Complex No 1, Walbrzych, Poland)
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Learn the basics of image processing and discover the moons of Jupiter!
A simple exercise on how to process film taken with a webcamera and enhance image quality to see the Galilean Jupiter moons. You can download a film in the AVI format with sample observations and try image processing algorithms by yourself.


Jupiter and Its Moons (pdf, 226.3 KB)  with the AVI file  jowisz.avi (90 MB)