Astronomy 101L Observing Project


Observing Project 1 (100 points): Check the schedule for exact due dates

Observing Project 2 and 3 (200 points): Check the schedule for exact due dates

The three observing projects are an important part of the Astronomy lab. It is the part of the lab where the student learns how astronomers make their observations that they use to test and design their theories.

For Observing Project 2 and 3, telescope observations are worth 50 points each while the listed naked eye observations are worth 100 points because some of them require more than one night of observing. In order to complete Observing Project 2 and 3, you must turn in 200 points worth of tasks. Observations must be made through a real telescope or with your eyes on the sky! You are not permitted to use images you find online or via the virtual observatory in the lab.

NOTE: You are permitted to work with others while observing, but each student must do their own research and turn in a separate and unique project. NO COPYING!!

Telescope, Observing, and Object Information

At the top of the Observing Sheet are spaces for information about the telescope that you are using to view an object, what the observing conditions are, and what kind of object you are looking at. The people at the campus observatory will be able to supply the information needed for these areas. Be sure to fill these in for every object! Failing to provide all information for an object will result in a lower score.


The observing sheet has space at the bottom for a research summary. Research is not just more words about what happened at the observatory. Take some time to search books or the internet about the objects that you have viewed. Things like:

  • How far away is the object?
  • How big is the object?
  • What is the object made of?

There are lots of things that help to describe what the object is and where it is.

The Observing Project 2 and 3 must be submitted at least 2 weeks before finals start.

PLEASE GET STARTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Weather is very unpredictable in New Mexico, so you may not be able to make observations at the last minute. October is usually the best month for clear skies and warm weather.