Solar Flare

May 7, 2011

Today Second Life took us all the way to London to learn about how the Sun affects the Earth. We talked to Dr. Joanna Haigh, a scientist who studies how changes in the sun may affect Earth’s climate. The Sun even appeared in the auditorium during the talk!

The Sun takes part in Dr. Joanna Haigh’s talk in Second Life

The Sun takes part in Dr. Joanna Haigh’s talk in Second Life

Not only did we learn about the Sun today, we found a way to view it safely through a telescope on the Museum’s rooftop Weintraub Observatory. We could clearly see sunspots on the surface – these are “cool” regions of the Sun because they’re “only” 3000°C. (I guess that’s cool compared to the surrounding 6000°C temperatures!) Solar flares, which occur around sunspots, are solar storms that can actually disrupt communications here on Earth. It’s incredible that something 93 million miles away affects us!

Rooftop solar observations

After using the telescopes, we made our own camera out of a potato chip can (and got to eat the chips too). We cut the can into two sections, and put it back together with the lid in between – this would be the screen for the camera. We poked a tiny hole in the bottom of the can, and when we looked through it, everything was upside down and backwards! Can you figure out why?

Homemade Pinhole Cameras

1 Comment

  • By tedmyers, May 19, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    This is one of my favorite astronomy activities. So glad you got a chance to experience this!

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