Guiding students to do study in HOU Teaching by Hongfeng Guo
HOU program becomes more and more popular in China.
We have added critical thinking and scientific study method in
our courses for years.
Students learning the laws of nature through a series of events,
including observation, data acquisition and data analysis.
We designed 3 stages of learning in order to help students from
different ages and levels to extend their knowledge.
We classify the stages as introductory, intermediate and
advanced, for elementary, junior and high school students
First level: simple observation, measurement, data acquisition, error analysis,
scientific rules, hand-made
For beginners, the most crucial part in the HOU learning process is
observation. We keep our focus on the details of Apparent Solar Motion
due to the heavy light pollution.
shadow of the SunSimple observation
is not enough to
laws of solar
motion and its
effects on the earth.
The synthesis picture shows when the sun just rising
above the roof
the angle of the sun rising.
This year, we also guide students to craft their own tool to do the
solar shadow measurements, which greatly improved their hands-on
ability. By data analysis using real-measured data, students can
truly understand the laws on textbooks. One of my students wrote a
paper about how he did it, and get the 1st prize in the city.
Mechanics of Chinese Sundial
(gnomon and ruler)
This Chinese Sundial is used to measure
the noon solar shadow in ancient China.
The Vertical one is gnomon，and the
horizontal one is the ruler.
The longer the shadow will be, the
smaller the solar altitude angle will be.
Measurements using home-made
Everyday measurement during a
half year and got 98 useful data.
• By plotting the data to a bar graph, you can see the
length of shadow from Spring Equinox to Fall Equinox is
like the graph showing below.
Changes of Noon Shadow Length
Discover phenomena：the change of noon shadow length is
faster during time near the equinox comparing to those near
Come up with question：What is the cause of this phenomena.
Pattern of Noon Solar Altitude Changes
By look up the solar altitude table, it is certain that the changes of noon
solar altitude also agree with the fact that it is changing faster when
time closer to the equinox. And the solar altitude change slower when
time close to the summer solstice.
Since noon solar altitude is a direct parameter to the air temperature,
therefore the student made a hypothesis that the solar altitude change
is lead to that The summer and winter seasons are longer than spring
and fall seasons.
Air Temperature and Noon Solar Altitude
Red line is solar altitude at noon in Beijing, Blue line is the
average daily air temperature of Beijing in 60 years.
From the graph we see two curve are similar in its changing
direction and amplitude, but with a different phase
The correlation between the two curves is 0.9025, which
indicate that they are very closely related.
The student using a laser pointer as the sun to find
where the solar declination.
The Derivative of the Noon Solar Altitude
By experiment, the student found the solar declination is on the plane of
ecliptic which is shown in the figure above. It has a intersection line with
the surface of earth.
Finally, by putting this curve in a 2D coordinate, it is shown like the figure
on the right.
Now days, our observatory have several professional
telescopes open to accept the students involved in the study.
Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber
Spectroscopy Telescope (LAMOST)
Focal plane fiber system
Data Footprint of all sky
Astronomers have developed special software for spectral classification and celestial
recognition for LAMOST, for most spectral data.
In order to ensure the accuracy of spectral classification and celestial recognition,
some special and rare objects and low signal-to-noise ratio objects have to be judged
by human eyes or processed by supplementary software.
We introduce some students who have finished the first and second levels of HOU
courses to this project. They work together with scientists to find new objects of
Deep astronomy and spectrum
• Data Acquisition using SQL, from data
• Then they use Mat Lab(or Python) to
process the data to find the object’s
continuous spectral curve.
• Matching the spectral curve to its class.
• Finally, students examine at the rest of
the candidates one-by-one to find the
Astronomical data analysis
In this event, students learn skills to help with rare discoveries.
More importantly, students learn to do authentic research.
Students have to learn
basic functions of Matlab:
Matrix calculation, if
• Determine which class
the target star is belong