F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)



In this page, you'll find a listing of all the miscellaneous questions that people have asked over the years. We are still adding to this. Read and enjoy! If you have any questions, try reading through this website or checking out your lab manual first.

1. Where is the Moon?
A: The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. The Moon does the same thing. It rises in the East and sets in the West.

2. Ok, so where is the Moon?
A: In Lab D: Observing The Moon, you'll learn when the Moon rises and sets. If you know what phase the Moon is, then you'll know when it rises and sets.

3. Can I use a computer/other miscellaneous items to find when the Moon rises or sets?
A: Ask the TA. He or she sets the policy for their lab sections. However, it's more important that you learn the lessons from Lab D (Observing The Moon) since a computer may not always be around and you'll need to understand it for your final report.

4. Does the Moon always rise and set at the same time? Can I see the Moon in the day time?
A: Read the answer to Question 2.

5. Why is my Moon observation changing so quickly? I took an observation at 2 PM and the Moon was 3.4 fists East. When I took on observation at 10:00 PM, the Moon was 4.7 fists West. How can this be?
A: Read the answer to Question 1.

6. Can I borrow/copy/use other people's/computer's observation?
A: No! This is cheating. Don't do it.

7. Why is elongation going from 0 to 360?
A. The Moon moves in a circle. A circle has 360 degrees in it. Thus, the Moon can only go from 0 to 360 degrees.

8. Why is my Moon observation changing so quickly? I took an observation at 4:30 PM two days ago and got an elongation of 230 degrees. I took another observation at 4:30 PM yesterday and got an elongation of 242 degrees. Then I took another observation today at 4:30 PM and got an elongation of 254 degrees. What gives?
A. There is a pattern to how the Moon moves around the Earth. If your data is good, you will soon know what that pattern is.

9.  What if I don't submit my new observations on-line within X number of hours of taking them?
A. Then your observations don't count.

10. But can I still submit them? I really have a good reason why I didn't turn them in on time.
A. Sure. Go ahead and submit the observations online. Please be sure to inform/talk to your TA or fill in an explanation in the field 'Student Comments' when you submit an observation.

11. Since we're 'online' now, that means I don't need to keep any paper records, right?
A. Please keep everything. Always keep a paper trail in case anything were to happen to our internet server's database. If the online data gets corrupted, then you have something to fall back on.

12. What if it was really cloudy on Monday? Even though I didn't see the Moon, I'm sure it was up then. Does that count as an observation?
A. No, it does not.

13. Even though it's New Moon, doesn't looking at the Sun count as an observation?
A. No, it does not. And don't look at the Sun.

14. I'll be away for the week in Florida (or some other state or continent). Can I take an observation?
A. Yes, with caution. Use the local time zone when writing down the time, and note that some places don't use daylight savings time. Be extra careful that you know where south is. Even doing everything perfectly you may still get red boxes because the website is set up for Minneapolis and there are slight differences when you move away from it. The differences get larger the farther away you travel. Make sure your TA knows of your travel to help in diagnosing any observation problems.

15. I don't have a computer.
A. Yes you do. By going to the University, you paid for all the Macs and PCs that are in the public labs and in the kiosks scattered on campus.

16. Yes, but I have extenuating circumstances.
A. Talk to your TA.

17. So we only need 15 observations?
A. 15 is the minimum point wise. A lot more is better since you might have made observation mistakes. Moreover, all of your Observational Project Final Report results are based on your observations. Are you really sure your 15 observations are that good? Do you want to take that chance? Take as many observations as you can, as often as you can, for as long as you can.

18. You said 'point wise'. How much are these observations worth?
A. In a semester, there are 1000 points in the class (including both lecture and lab).
Part I (3 observations) = 9 points.
Part II (9 observations) = 26 points.
Part III (15 observations plus Final Report) = 105 points. [At this point, the 15 observations would be worth 45 point out of the 105].
Total for Moon Project = 140 points.
So your entire Moon Project is 140 points out of 1000. That's 14% of your total course grade.

19. Ok, so could I take an observation once every 10 minutes? I could be done with my project almost right away.
A. Sorry, but you can only take an observation once every 12 hours.

20.  Finally, I've read through this F.A.Q., read through the Lab Manual, read through Lab D, and read through this Moon Observation Project website. However, I still have a question for you.
A. Sure thing! Feel free to ask/call/email your TA/Professor. We'll be happy to answer your question.


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