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Others Like “Counting Sunspots on an Image of the Sun”

Project Idea
Sunspot activity has been monitored continuously since about 1700. The historical data shows that sunspot activity rises and falls in a roughly 11-year cycle. This project shows you how you can use a spreadsheet program to perform both graphical and statistical analysis to look for patterns in cyclical data. You'll learn how to use a t-test, which is a measure of statistical signficance. Sunspot Cycles. Read more
CompSci_p032
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
Here's a cool project that shows you how to use images from an orbiting observatory to measure how fast the Sun rotates. Read more
Astro_p005
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Scientists have known for hundreds of years that sunspot activity waxes and wanes over a cycle that lasts approximately 11 years. In the 1970's, scientists discovered that the sun periodically blasts electrified gases into space, in huge outbursts called 'coronal mass ejections,' or CMEs. This project asks the question: do CMEs follow the solar sunspot cycle? Read more
Astro_p021
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Sunspot activity has been monitored continuously since about 1700. The historical data shows that sunspot activity rises and falls in a roughly 11-year cycle. This project shows you how you can use both graphical and statistical analysis to look for patterns in cyclical data. Read more
Astro_p017
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Computer with Internet access and a spreadsheet program (e.g., Excel, QuattroPro), previous experience with statistics helpful
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail The sun sometimes releases huge bursts of electrified gases into space. These bursts are called coronal mass ejections (or CMEs). When CMEs are directed towards Earth they can generate auroras, the spectacular atmospheric displays also known as "northern lights" (photo by Chris VenHaus, 2001). In this project you'll use images from the SOHO satellite to measure how fast CMEs move. Read more
Astro_p020
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
The Sun is the ultimate source of the energy that powers weather systems on Earth. Geomagnetic storms are sun-powered storms in the upper atmosphere, arising from energized particles that are periodically ejected by the Sun. Among other effects, geomagnetic storms can wreak havoc with earth-orbiting satellites, and disrupt satellite communications. The global positioning system (GPS) is a network of 24 earth-orbiting satellites that constantly sends radio signals through the earth's… Read more
Weather_p009
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites You will need access to a WAAS-capable GPS receiver for this project. You will need to understand how to operate the GPS receiver. Note that WAAS signals are only available in North America.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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
You can measure the diameter of the Sun (and Moon) with a pinhole and a ruler! All you need to know is some simple geometry and the average distance between the Earth and Sun (or Moon). An easy way to make a pinhole is to cut a square hole (2–3 cm across) in the center of a piece of cardboard. Carefully tape a piece of aluminum foil flat over the hole. Use a sharp pin or needle to poke a tiny hole in the center of the foil. Use the pinhole to project an image of the Sun onto a wall or piece… Read more
Astro_p026
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
Use your Internet sleuthing skills to learn about solar system objects. Create a table of measurements of moons and asteroids in order to determine if there is a size threshold for roundness. A good source of information would be an online guide such as The Nine Planets (Arnett, W.A., 2006). You'll find information about planetary satellites, including dimensions and accompanying pictures. From the pictures, classify the satellites and asteroids according to how round they are. Can you think of… Read more
Astro_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you like to take pictures with a camera? It can be fun to capture important and humorous events in your life on film or on a memory card. Photography is a hobby that people of all ages enjoy because they can creatively express themselves both artistically and scientifically. But when did the science of photography start and have cameras always been such complicated pieces of equipment? In this photography science project, you will experiment with a simple camera called a pinhole camera and… Read more
Photo_p023
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites You should have access to a light meter. These can be quite expensive, so try to borrow a light meter from a photographer friend or from school.
Material Availability Special-order items required. See the Materials and Equipment list for more details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
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