Set your star locator so that today's date on the moveable wheel is opposite 8 PM on the clock. (Be certain that it is 8 PM, and not 8 AM! Look for 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. nearby.)
a) Why aren't the planets visible on the front of the star wheel? Are the planets always in front of the same stars? Are they visible in the same locations every year? Let's find out.
On the front of the star wheel, locate the ecliptic, which is the path our Sun appears to take around the sky during a year, and also the part of the sky where the planets will be seen. (Why?) Identify the zodiac constellations along the ecliptic that you can see this night at 8 PM. Start with the constellation nearest the eastern horizon:
Zodiac Constellations visible tonight at 8 pm:
|Planet||Const. #s||Constellation Name(s)||Evening Sky? Morning Sky?|
d) Examine the Planet Places table on the back once more. In one month, which planets will have moved? Which will still be in front of the same zodiac constellation?
These planet(s) will have moved in 1 month:
These planet(s) will still be in the same area:
e) What about in 1 year? Look at the table for the same month, but for a different year (either last year, or a year from now.) Which planets were in seen in the same zodiac constellations as they are in now? Were any?
Develop a hypothesis to explain your result. Consider how fast the planets orbit our Sun, and whether they all must be orbiting at the same speed or different speeds. Use that hypothesis to explain why Edmund does not put the planets on the front oval star field.