Imaging the Moon II:Webcam CCD Observations and Analysis (a
Two-Week Lab for Non-Majors)
Imaging the Moon is a successful two-week lab involving real sky observations of the Moon in which students make telescopic observations and analyze their own images. Originally developed around the 35 mm film camera, a common household object adapted for astronomical work, the lab now uses webcams as film photography has evolved into an obscure specialty technology and increasing numbers of students have little familiarity with it. The printed circuit board with the CCD is harvested from a commercial webcam and affixed to a tube to mount on a telescope in place of an eyepiece. Image frames are compiled to form a lunar mosaic, and crater sizes are measured. Students also work through the logistical steps of telescope time assignment and scheduling. They learn to keep a schedule and work with uncertainties of weather in ways paralleling research observations. Because there is no need for a campus observatory, this lab can be replicated at a wide variety of institutions.