Useful things for RV observers include:

Training Session Activities and Handouts

Telescopes & Optics:

Navigating the Sky, Coordinates, & Distances:

  • Orienting Yourself on the Sky (handout)
  • Understanding the Celestial Sphere
    • An exploration of celestial spheres that highlights that, while incorrect in their cosmology, they can help visualize the way the sky seems to move as viewed from Earth.
  • From the Celestial Sphere to the Planisphere
    • A bridge from thinking about the sky motions with the celestial sphere to actually using those motions in a useful way on the planisphere.
  • Sky Visualization with Stellarium
    • Stellarium is a (free) planetarium for your computer. It can show you a view of the sky from any location on the Earth right now or a few thousand years in the past or future.
  • Sky Visualization with Starry Night
    • Using the computer program Starry Night, participants explore how the Earth's motions are manifested in the sky we view.
  • An Introduction to Parallax


  • History of Astronomical Detectors (handout)
  • A Guide to CCDs
    • A hands-on experiment which treats the CCD as a grid of buckets to be filled with photons (beans).
    • Adapted by Liz Castelli for use with middle-school students; available here.
  • CCD Images - A Tutorial
    • Discussion and manipulation of real CCD images. Review of flats, darks, and images.
  • CCD Image Processing - An Introduction
    • Short introduction to astronomical data processing.

Other Resources