LPC Astronomy/Harpell


Lesson I: Understanding the Night Sky

Welcome to the study of the Night Sky. Ever since humans gained the ability to wonder, people have gazed upward and puzzled over the the countless points of light that revolved about the great dome of the sky. As observations grew more precise, people began to notice both nightly, and seasonal changes to the positions of the stars. They also noticed strange "wandering stars" later called "Planetes" by the Ancient Greeks, that moved relative to the fixed stars of the heavens.

It has taken many thousands of years of nightly vigilance, speculation, theory, and even bravery to understand the secrets of these motions and their relationship to the motion of our own planet through space and time. Of course, there are many secrets of the Universe left to explore and uncover. Still, the path to a deeper understanding the universe begins with the most ancient method of all...watching the night sky and getting to know the players on the nightly stage!

Learning Goals:

In this lesson, you will:

  1. learn about the constellations of the night sky and see what constellations and planets figure prominently in the sky now in other seasons.


Click here or on the on the picture below to continue to constelations and the sky tonight


By Eric W. Harpell, Las Positas College.

last revised: 1/25/05