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VIC

Subject:

Mathematics

Year level:

Level 5

Scorpius featuring Mars and Saturn in the night sky

What is Stellarium?

This activity is a part of the Stellar navigation and mathematics resource.

Scorpius featuring Mars and Saturn. Photographer: Peter Lieverdink. Source: Flicker. License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

What is Stellarium?

It is a digital planetarium that can accurately display the night sky from anywhere in the world for any time period. It accurately portrays the movements of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars in real time. It includes 20+ pre-installed sky cultures, each containing imagery, nomenclature, and text describing the objects and its meaning in a given culture. Because of its open-source architecture, it is fully customisable by the end user. This enables Indigenous artists to add and display their own sky culture information.

The following explainer activity may be useful to get acclimatised to the software, or as a student reference guide.

Related activities within this resources:

Tarantula Nebula

Activity 1 - Measuring angles with your hands and fingers

Students will learn how to measure angular distances in degrees using their hands and fingers as makeshift protractors.

Suggested timing:

10-15 minutes

Required resources:

Clips of Moana, or a copy of the film

Tarantula Nebula

Activity 2 - Finding the South Celestial Pole using the Southern Cross

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People used a variety of techniques to find cardinal points. In this activity, students will learn how to find the South Celestial Pole using the Southern Cross, as Aboriginal people did in the past. It will require teachers to familiarise themselves with the Stellarium astronomy software program beforehand.

Suggested timing:

30-45 minutes

Tarantula Nebula

Activity 3 - Estimating latitude by measuring the altitude of the South Celestial Pole

As a revision activity, students will be asked to use the knowledge and techniques they've developed to apply to their own burgeoning star-gazing practice.

Suggested timing:

Student’s own time / homework

Tarantula Nebula

Activity 4 - Using the Sun to Find Cardinal Directions

In this activity, students can use a stick and the sun to find cardinal directions

Suggested timing:

30 mins to 1 hour

Required resources:

 A stick / stake

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