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SunEarth Connection: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade

  • The Spinning Sun

    From telescopic observations of sunspots, backed up with web-based real-time data, students plot the location of sunspots over the course of two meetings and calculate how fast the sun rotates from the position shifts. Telescope eyepiece projection onto a white screen, can be used or direct observation through a suitable neutral density solar filter. Additionally, binoculars are very effective at showing sunspots when the image is projected into a box lined with white paper.
    Submitted By: Lou Mayo, Sligo Creek Elementary Astronomy Club
  • Stanford Solar Center Spectrometer and Gas Tube Observations

    Similar to Atomic Fingerprints and Bar Codes activity. Students construct their own spectrometers from Stanford Solar Center kits. These spectrometers have scales showing wavelengths in angstroms. Students calibrate their spectrometers and are then able to accurately draw emission spectra from different gas glow tubes. Once it is clear that different gasses have different spectral signatures, students are challenged to figure out which gas tube is being used from its spectrum.
    Submitted By: Lou Mayo, Sligo Creek Elementary Astronomy Club
  • Quiz Show Game

    This game generates a lot of energy and enthusiasm! Students divide into teams. Each team picks a name. Then the club leader asks a series of questions on astronomy topics they have already covered. Teams get points for correct answers. A variation on this is having the teams make up their own questions. Additionally, teams can be supplied with text on astronomy as references. (Students love to hum the "Jeopardy" quiz show theme and make "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" jokes while the other teams are working on their answers).
    Submitted By: Lou Mayo, Sligo Creek Elementary Astronomy Club
  • Make A Sundial

    Build a sundial and use it to measure time.
       Instructions at:
    Submitted By: Lou Mayo, Sligo Creek Elementary Astronomy Club
  • Build Your Own Pinhole Camera/Projector

    Pinhole cameras are great for safely projecting an image of the sun to view sunspots and solar rotation.
       Instructions at:
    Submitted By: Lou Mayo, Sligo Creek Elementary Astronomy Club
  • RadioJove

    Build a dipole radio telescope and detector to study radio emission from the Sun and from Jupiter's interaction with Io.
       Instructions at:
    Radio Jove
    Submitted By: Lou Mayo, Sligo Creek Elementary Astronomy Club
  • Sunspots! Calculating a Correction Constant for the Wolf Equation.


    1. Calculate the number of sunspots using the Wolf Equation.

    2. Rearrange the Wolf Equation to determine a value (k) for the correction constant.

    3. Specifically determine a value for k when viewing sunspots on a computer monitor.

    4. Use web-based information to understand the history, technological achievements, and astronomical research of solar science

    Visit for a complete lesson plan!
    Submitted By: Ed Roberts, Pottsville High School
  • Astronomy Screensaver

    It's a multi-facetted application that allows you to keep abreast of status reports, news and announcements of events taking place at ESA Science and the most recent near-real-time images from SOHO. I don't know of a NASA equivalent but many of the projects are joint with NASA. For those interested in Solar observations, there's less chance of missing exciting solar storms (like the one that's been going on for the last few days) because the screensaver updates its images whenever you're online.
    Download it here:
    Submitted By: Mike Cripps, Neatherd High School Astronomy Club
  • Sun-Earth Connection PowerPoint Presentation

    This is a PowerPoint presentation I created to teach the basics of the Sun-Earth Connection to elementary and middle-school students. It contains images and information to help students learn about the Sun, the Earth's magnetosphere, and the Sun's connection to such events on Earth as auroras, disruptions in telecommunications on Earth, and other related events.

    Microsoft Power Point

    Sun-Earth Connections.ppt Size: 1.43Mb

    Submitted By: Dorian Janney, Watkins Mill High School Astronomy Club
  • Outreach

    Most of the Orangevale Open Astronomy Club's activities focus on Outreach to local schools and to local organizations that want to hold a Star Party. We work with our local amateur group, Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society (SVAS). Our school has a ten inch Orion dobsonian and several binoculars, and our club members have about four telescopes, all together. Schools and organizations request Star Parties from SVAS, who then schedules the events.

    Before each event we spend some time at school talking about the best targets for the upcoming evening and the kinds of things we will tell the Party-goers. We spend some time with Starry Night software and a large projector picking targets that will appeal to the general public. Then we discuss typical misconceptions that the public might have and the clearest, simplest way to communicate a scientific understanding.

    My students also participate in the SVAS annual Astronomy Day at a local park. We've made demonstratio ns, posters, PowerPoint presentations and projects that we show at the events. Usually these presentations coordinate with California State Standards. We have a sun filter for our big telescope and make it available during the day of these events.

    Submitted By: Jim Carvalho, Orangevale Open K-8 School
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