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Others Like “How Far Away Is the Moon?”

Science Fair 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)
Science Fair Project Idea
Get good photographs of the Moon showing lots of craters and count how many craters you find in a range of diameter classes. One useful source is the Consolidated Lunar Atlas (Kuiper et al, 2006). Make a histogram that shows the distribution of diameters. Most of these craters were formed during the first billion years of the Moon's formation, but you should confirm that this is true for the the Moon areas you've selected in your photographs by doing background research. Is cratering uniform… Read more
Astro_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair 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)
Science Fair 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)
Science Fair 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)
Science Fair Project Idea
The same principles of geology that we use to investigate the Earth can also be applied to other planets. Visit the Astrogeology Research Program at the USGS to find out how information about the geology of other planets can be gathered (USGS, 2006). Can you make a map or model of another planet? What minerals are found on other planets? Which planets have similar composition to the earth? What kind of geological forces occur on other planets? Do other planets have earthquakes, landslides… Read more
Geo_p031
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Here's an astronomy project idea from Dr. James Pierce, a professor in the Astronomy Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato: "Determine the length of twilight at different times of the year by observing the time at which certain bright stars first appear and comparing with the sunset time. Beware of variations due to stars appearing at different altitudes. Try using Polaris as a standard. Also note the time at which automatic streetlights turn on. Determine how soon after sunset stars… Read more
Astro_p024
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
You'll need: a puck, a hockey stick, a tape measure, at least one helper with a stopwatch and an empty rink. Have your friend start the watch just as you make contact with the puck, and stop it when the puck hits the boards. Measure the distance and divide by the time to get the speed of the puck. With two helpers and two stop watches, you can time the puck at center ice and at the far end. Are the speeds the same? How about if you don't follow through, but stop your stick as soon as it… Read more
Sports_p043
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Science Fair Project Idea
If you know or calculate the field of view for your camera, you can use it to measure distances and the height of almost anything. It's all a matter of basic trigonometry. Read more
Photo_p015
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Is soil structure an important factor in earthquake dynamics? Investigate soil liquefaction and how different soil types respond to earthquake movements. Are movements more dramatic in sandy/loamy or clay type soils? Which soil structures are most stable? Which are the most volatile? (MCEER, 2005) Read more
Geo_p037
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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