Colour the universe

Why is the Sun green in a photo taken with a UV camera? We can’t actually see UV light, so the colour of the photo was just chosen to be green!

In this assignment, you can choose any colour scale for an image of space taken to capture a specific wavelength of light. This activity is about making space images more interesting to look at! Which colours make the image look the most interesting?

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Keywords: colour, light, wavelength

Dark Matter in Spiral Galaxies

In this project the students will gain insight into why astronomers think there are large amounts of dark matter in galaxies. Dark matter is material that is “dark” in the sense that it neither absorbs nor emits electromagnetic radiation (“light”). We can infer its presence through the gravitational effect it has on the matter we can see (stars and gas).   

MATERIALS

How to identify a meteorite

Did you find a curious looking rock? With the help of these instructions you can investigate if it could be a meteorite (or a meteowrong!). You can also go outdoors and pick any rock for investigation. Or how about hunting micrometeorites?

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Keywords: meteorite, micrometeorite, small solar system bodies

Simulating asteroid rotation

This activity allows you to create the “rotation lightcurve” of an object, matching the approach that astronomers use when trying to determine the rotation rate of an asteroid.

The original version of this activity used a potato as the “asteroid”, so it is sometimes referred to as the “Rotato Experiment”!

Asteroid Itokawa resembles a large rubble pile, rather than being a solid piece of rock. The surface features will reflect different amounts of light as it rotates, causing it to appear brighter and fainter at different points in it’s rotation as viewed from Earth.

Classification of the Universe

In this activity, the students will learn different ways of roughly separating the features of observable structures in the universe and will gain the tools needed for identifying what kinds of objects they can observe through telescopes when visiting the observatory. 

MATERIALS

The sky above us

The rotation of the Earth is investigated by observing the length of a toy figure’s shadow in the course of a day.

As an extended task, you can use the Stellarium software to investigate the movements of the Sun. Alternatively, the students can make real observations of the position of the Sun in the sky in the course of a year (the analemma pattern).

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Keywords: sky, diurnal motion, daily motion, shadow, Sun, analemma