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Natural Science - Year II

Unit 62: Cannon and Stellar Types

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Lab for Unit 62

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Unit 62: Observing the Colors of Stars

Goal: To become aware of the different appearance of stars in the visible range.

Materials and Equipment:


  1. Use a star chart or planetarium program to locate the four stars below in their constellations and determine when they rise and set for the dates available for your observing session. Not all stars listed my be visible on a given night, or at the same time.
  2. Observe as many of these as possible through a telescope or binoculars, noting its apparent color and brightness.
    • Observe Betelgeuse
      • Constellation: Orion.
      • Type: M1
      • Magnitude: .58
    • Observe Aldebaran
      • Constellation: Taurus.
      • Type: K5
      • Magnitude: .85
    • Observe Deneb
      • Constellation: Cygnus.
      • Type: A2
      • Magnitude: 1.25
    • Observe Albireo
      • Constellation: Cygnus.
      • Type(s): K3/B0
      • Magnitude: 3.18/5.82
  3. Identify and observe at least three other bright stars, noting any colors you see and comparing the brightness with one of the stars listed above.


Your report should contain the date and time of each observation, your location, the location of the star relative to the horizon (e.g., 10° above the NE point), your observing conditions (clear or cloudy, phase of the moon), and the apparent brightness of the star and its color compared to nearby stars.