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Basic Coordinates & Seasons – Student Guide

There are three main sections to this module: terrestrial coordinates, celestial equatorial coordinates, and understanding how the ecliptic is related to seasons on the Earth. Each of these sections has its own simulator(s). The background material necessary to utilize these tools is contained in each section.

Terrestrial Coordinates

Work through the explanatory material on units of longitude and latitude, finding longitude and latitude, and a bit of history (optional).

* Open the flat map explorer.

* Familiarize yourself with the cursor and how it prints out the longitude and latitude of the active map location.

* Note ...view middle of the document...

Direction | State |

North | Alaska |

South | Hawaii |

East (there are two ways of thinking about this) | Alaska or Maine |

West | Alaska |

Question 3: The exact coordinates of the white house in Washington D.C., are 77.0365º W and 38.897º N. What are these exact coordinates in sexadesimal notation? **Show your calculation in the box below. (You can use the Google Map tool to check your answer.)

77 degrees 2’11” W ** (.0365*60=2.19 which becomes 2’ / .19*6=11.4 which becomes 11”, then put together 77degrees 2’11”)

38 degrees 53’23.52” N ** (.897*60=53.82 which becomes 53’ / .392*60 = 23.52”

**Here's How:

1. The whole units of degrees will remain the same (i.e. in 121.135° longitude, start with 121°).

2. Multiply the decimal by 60 (i.e. .135 * 60 = 8.1).

3. The whole number becomes the minutes (8').

4. Take the remaining decimal and multiply by 60. (i.e. .1 * 60 = 6).

5. The resulting number becomes the seconds (6"). Seconds can remain as a decimal.

6. Take your three sets of numbers and put them together, using the symbols for degrees (°), minutes (‘), and seconds (") (i.e. 121°8'6" longitude)

* Open the globe explorer. You are encouraged to use the Terrestrial Coordinate Explorers link which opens both simulators at the same time for the following two questions. Familiarize yourself with the features noting that they are very similar to those in the flat map explorer.

Question 4: A) Where is the north pole on the flat map explorer? What is its shape?

Answer: The north pole is located on the top and is a flat line

B) Where is the north pole on the globe explorer? What is its shape?

Answer: Top of the globe and is a dot

C) Your answers to parts A and B should be different. Explain why. Answer: Flat map is laid out in a flat grid map and the globe is an interactive ‘globe’ that shows true position.

Question 5: Compare the relative sizes of Greenland and Australia in the two maps? The true values of the surface areas for these countries are Greenland (2.2 million km2) and Australia (7.7 million km2). Does each map demonstrate these true values?

Flat map makes Greenland look much bigger than Australia, but in the global is the actual true map as the earth really is (spherical)

Celestial Equatorial Coordinates

Work through the introductory material on the page entitled Celestial Equator, Declination, Right Ascension.

* Open either the Flat Sky Map Explorer or the Sky Map Explorer.

* Familiarize yourself with the same set of features (cursor movement, shifting the map, decimal/sexagesimal) that were available on the previous maps.

* Make sure that you understand what each check box does.

Question 6: Where is the star Polaris located on this map? What are its coordinates?

Delta = 89.2 degrees / Alpha – 2.5h

Question 7: Find the constellation of Orion shown in the box below and measure...

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