An observational project for a large class – determination of the duration of the sidereal day
Keywords:sidereal day;, observational project, large classes
Having students confront the real night sky is difficult for a large class. The determination of the duration of the sidereal
day is however a project that students can do on their own without specialized equipment. The project provides an
introduction to how observational science is done because students must devise the observational procedure, make
timings, analyse them, and present results including uncertainties in a report. The experience of running this project as
part of a first-year university introduction to the grand ideas of physics is described, with suggestions for improvements.
Almost a third of students reported results within 1 second of the accepted value