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Others Like “Measuring the Diameter of the Sun and the Moon”

Project Idea
Make a pinhole projector (see Measuring the Diameter of the Sun and the Moon). Use the pinhole to project an image of the Sun onto a wall or a piece of paper. Do you notice any dark spots on the projected image? Trace the projected image and count the dark spots. Use your pinhole projector to make images of the Sun at the same time of day for several consecutive days. How does the pattern of spots change? Can you use your data to figure out how fast the Sun rotates? Sunspot activity rises… Read more
Astro_p027
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail If you sit under a leafy tree on a sunny day, you may notice spots of sunlight on the ground from light passing through spaces between the leaves. Try putting a piece of cardboard on the ground and examining the spots of light on the cardboard. Even though the spaces through which the light is passing are irregular in shape, the spots on the cardboard are round. What you are seeing, in fact, are projected images of the sun. Light passing through an aperture forms an image. A pinhole camera… Read more
Photo_p005
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Must have digital camera capable of taking long, controlled exposures without flash.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Let's suppose you can take advantage of the Internet and get a 'pen pal' located a 1000 miles away in another city. On the same night, and at EXACTLY the same time 'Universal Time', make a CAREFUL observation of where the Moon is located with respect to the background stars. You should be able to discern a slight (about 1/2 the Moon's diameter) shift in position due to parallax. Then, with a little geometry, you could estimate the distance of the Moon during the full lunar cycle (Odenwald,… Read more
Astro_p028
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wanted to analyze data from a NASA spacecraft? In this science project you will use data from NASA's MESSENGER mission to measure the diameter and calculate the depth of impact craters on Mercury. You will then analyze that data for relationships between a crater's depth and diameter. This is your chance to perform a science project as a NASA researcher would! Read more
Astro_p036
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites Geometry: familiarity using sine, cosine, and tangent to solve right triangles
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Some claim the Moon appears larger when near the horizon. Make a series of observations of the Moon, measuring the Moon's angular diameter each time. You should also note the Moon's altitude above the horizon, and the Moon's phase. You should do background research on the lunar orbit to determine the necessary time period. Do you find predictable variations in the Moon's diameter? Can you relate this to the Moon's changing distance from Earth? From your data, try to determine when apogee and… Read more
Astro_p030
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
thumbnail You might know that we are able to get free energy from the Sun, the wind, and water, but did you know we can get free energy from Earth itself? The temperature inside of Earth can reach 9,000°F—that kind of heat can be used to make a lot of energy here on the surface! This source of energy is called geothermal energy and it is all about taking advantage of the heat within Earth. So try this science fair project out and find out how to use the heat that lies beneath your feet! Read more
Energy_p023
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety You will be working with a hot stove top. Please exercise caution when working with hot surfaces and with steam. Steam can cause painful burns.
Project Idea
thumbnail Pinhole cameras are not just for grannies! Even compared to all of the latest technology, a pinhole camera still gets beautiful results. Find out how this very simple aperture design works to control the way light enters the lens of your camera. Read more
Photo_p010
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
You can make a very simple hovercraft with a stiff, disposable plate—a pie plate should work well—and a balloon. Glue a square of cardboard in the center of the bottom of the plate. Make a small hole through the center of both of these layers. Enlarge the hole slightly with a pencil. Push a balloon through the hole so that the opening is on the front side of the plate, and rest of the balloon sticks out from the back. Blow up the balloon, then set the plate down (balloon side up). What… Read more
Aero_p027
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever heard someone say that the moon is made of cheese? Even though the craters on the surface of the moon resemble holes in Swiss cheese, we know that this common myth is not true. Find out how craters are formed and why they are different sizes by doing this simple science project. Read more
Astro_p010
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
How much force is required to advance a lag bolt (large wood screw with a hex-shaped head) into a piece of wood? You can measure the force by using a spring scale attached to the handle of ratchet. Pull on the spring scale until the bolt starts to turn, and note the required force from the spring scale. There are many potential experiments you could try. Think about answering the following questions: How does the force change as the bolt advances deeper into the wood? Why? How does the… Read more
ApMech_p032
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
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