Planet Search Transfer
Download FTS images and worksheet for this lesson here.
Instructions for Planet Search Project -
Exploring the Outer Planets September, 2002
by Rick Kang - Friends of Pine Mountain Observatory

GOAL: Determine from observation of digital data which set of data
corresponds to what planet, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto,
and with measurements of the data, justify your answers.
Remember that you can make astrometric (positional) and
photometric (brightness) measurements of digital data.

You are furnished with four sets of three starfields,
each set is labeled with a Letter, A-D. Each set of data
contains one of the following planets: Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
The images were taken one night apart, thus the 1 and 2 suffixes.
The planets are in random order, your job is to sort them out!
The R suffix image is explained below.

You can use FITSVIEW or AIP4WIN to analyze the data. We have
supplied a Registered image for each set, labeled with R suffix,
so you can "blink" each set to locate the planet.
You can download FITSVIEW free from either WIN or MAC versions.

1. Why do you need to "blink" the data sets to determine if there
is a planet in the picture and to locate the planet? What type of object are most of the dots?

2. What are some differences in how each object you think is
a planet looks in each set of images? Can you measure these

3. What ways would a farther planet look different than a closer
planet? Why?

4. What other types of objects might you find in your images?
Describe what you observe (observational characteristics)
that lead you to believe these objects are of a certain type.
(There is only one planet in each image)

5. Advanced question: What could you calculate about each planet
from the data you have? (hint: think about Kepler's laws)

6. And...the "bottom line": Which planet is in what set of images,
and what specifically led you to your conclusions?

Project developed by Rick Kang.
Saturn images by Danny and Greg Hogue, and Steve Bates.
Uranus and Neptune images by Ray Kaser.
Pluto images by Roberto Aguilera, Shawn DeCew, Katy Crockett,
and Brett Kozisek.
Rick Kang
(541) 683-1381

Image A1
Image AR
Image B1
Image BR
Image C1
Image CR
Image D1
Image DR