Embarking on a 4 Yr Mapping Our Solar System Project

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beckorite

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Embarking on a 4 Yr Mapping Our Solar System Project<br /><br />Im considering doing a long-term project (4 yrs) to map our planets and derive the formula's to calculate each planets position. I know there is software out there to give u the coordinates. That doesn't matter!<br /><br />My high school science project will be to do the algorithms and formulaes to calculate their positions at any given time.<br /><br />I am now in the thinking and planning process. I need some input on a decent scope to be able to map and view our planets. I also would like to know if there are any available instruments that can measure the distances by using light waves and time? I also plan to use local observatories and get some guidance with a University of Alabama at Huntsville (astrophysics) professor. He has agreed to assist with me will be my primary mentor.<br /><br />Maybe I will have to triangulate to each one and calculate that way. I know this sounds very tough. But this elliptical solar system and the planets can and have been done. Like I say, this may be my Science project the next 4 yrs. I plan to enter either the Earth, Space, and Science category or the Mathematical and Engineering Divisions.<br /><br />Below is a list of concerns. Please help me with all the input u can!<br /><br />1. Purchase a decent scope with computer laptop software. Would like to have the camera options to record my time and pictures.<br /><br />2. I am considering a Team of one more student. Possibly involving another one as an assistant in another place like India or Egypt as my partner for observations and helping with the triangulations. We could communicate with emails if there language is Arabic or English (India). Is this a good idea? Will it help to have a dedicated assistant?<br /><br />3. Is there any spectroscope or any kind of instruments that can measure distance 2 objects (like measuring light waves signals)? Are they affordable? There are some great devices in government a
 
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tfwthom

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Cost is going to kill you.<br /><br />SBIG makes the DDS-7 Deep space spectrograph (optimized for ST-402ME and f/10 SCT scopes) $1595.00<br /><br />Meade LX200GPS 12" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube assembly with Ultra High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) $4,094.00<br /><br />Meade LX200/RCX400 Deluxe Astrophotographer's Kit $499.00<br /><br />SBIG ST-2000XM Camera Dual sensor, USB camera with KAI-2020M CCD, Remote Guide Head Port, Water Cooling Ready, Custom Pelican Case $3395.00<br /><br />SBIG CFW10 10-position 1.25" filter wheel without filters for ST-7/8/9/10/2000 $995.00<br /><br />This is without extra's like filters, eyepieces, etc. and you are over $10k to do something that's already been done. A bit high for a High School project. You might be able to use equipment for a university. Check into that first.<br /><br />I didn't go "top shelf" here none of this is research grade.<br /><br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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beckorite

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Thats what I really wanted 2 know. I will have 2 reexamine. I may have 2 use an local observatory. <br /><br />Thanks<br />Beck
 
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tfwthom

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Thinking.........<br /><br />There might be enought data out the already to do what you want. Talk to that adviser that you talked about, he might have the contacts with the the people that have the data. <br /><br />To start a project from scratch like this the costs kill you, that doesn't mean that it is worthless. Just find another way to "skin the cat" <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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beckorite

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Money definitely is an issue. I have seen some Ebay sales for less than $5000. Most are avid astronomers. Most sales here are guaranteed pickups. Example: LX200 GPS UHTC Meade (presently $3550 a 14" Scope with lots of accessories).<br /><br />My father is a professional land surveyor and has some equipment that has taught me alot of the basics of instrumentation. He has the latest technology in survey equipment and could assist me in this endeavor. He has a $40,000 GPS system (Pickups up Glasnoss and American satelites) and a ($30,000) Robotic Total Station instrument. None of these can do deep space but he is a professional in instrumentation.<br /><br />He is willing to try to find a good deal on some used equipment. If you find any deal on any used equipment let me know. I have been very lucky to win some state awards in the Earth, Space & Science fair competitions. Next year I will start high school and realize that this mapping project has been done before. I think I could learn a great deal of mathematics in this computation process.<br /><br />So, anyone out there that could find me a good deal, please give me a hollar.<br /><br />Thanks <br />Beckorite
 
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billslugg

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beckorite<br />What you have outlined here is extremely ambitious. You might want to speak with your mentor about focusing in on one or two objectives.<br /><br />Consider how much of this you want to do from scratch. Are you going to use current data on Earth-Sun distance, or are you going to derive it? That is a major project in itself! Cassini did it by trangulating Mars, in 1672. You would need two people, both in darkness, both who can see Mars at max elongation, each a bit less than halfway across the world. Venus could also be used but I suspect its brightness would make viewing it against a background of stars very difficult. <br /><br />If you simply want to measure the locations of the planets on the celestial sphere, you can do nicely with a used theodolite off of e-bay. Several nice ones are there for less than $200. The magnification of the scope is only abnout 25x so you won't be able to see any detail on the planets.<br /><br />Others can advise you on appropriate scopes for this.<br />(For Pluto you will need an 8" scope just to see a dot.)<br /><br />No spectrograph will tell you how far away a planet is. It might tell you how fast it is approaching/receding. For distance, you are limited to radar or triangulation. <br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p> </div>
 
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