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Find That Planet! 
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The angular distance north or south of a planet's equator, measured in degrees, as on a map or globe.
Angular distance on a planet's surface, measured east or west from the prime meridian (Greenwich, England, on Earth) to the meridian passing through a position, expressed in degrees.
right ascension
The angular distance, measured in hours, minutes, and seconds of time, eastwards from the zero point which is the intersection of the celestial equator and the ecliptic; one of two coordinates used to define position in the sky--equivalent of longitude on Earth. One hour of right ascension is equivalent to 15 degrees of arc--the angle through which the celestial sphere appears to turn in 1 hour as the Earth rotates.
the angular distance, measured in degrees north or south of the celestial equator; one of two coordinates used to define position in the sky--equivalent of latitude on Earth.


  1. Find the planets in the real sky using the map(s) created in class.
  2. Use a telescope or binoculars to view the planet(s). Describe and/or sketch what you see through the telescope or binoculars.

Assessment Strategies:

  1. Portfolio: students maps with planets positions/motion plotted.
  2. Homework: drawings or descriptions of planet observations.

More Related Activities:

    SEGway activities:
  1. Ice On Venus?
  2. Best of the Solar System For grades 6-8. A student introduction to planetary research through images of solar system objects.
  3. Take a Spin through the Solar System
  4. The Martian Sun-Times For grades 6-9. Weather reporters obtain current data on seasons, temperatures, and clouds on Mars and compare to conditions on Earth.


  1. Sky and Telescope Magazine or Astronomy Magazine
  2. J. Beatty, et al, The New Solar System, Sky Publishing and Cambridge University Press, 1982

National Science Education Standards (NSES):

NSES p. 160: "Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion."

Find That Planet! 

Celestial Coordinates

Get An Ephemeris

Plot Planet's Path

Mail questions or comments: outreach@ssl.berkeley.edu
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