"Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder where you are,
|Magnetometer||Young Scientists Club Set 11||Telescopes|
|Ages 12 thru Adult||Ages 9 -12||Ages 10 and up|
This abstract begins at: NASA science experiments for kids.
EXPAND YOUR PROJECT
Plan a time for students to take a "Star Census". Review with students how to do the counting. If possible, it would be interesting to have students make these observations in different locations (near a city or out in the country) and at different times (when there's a bright moon and when there's no moon). For younger students, you can use fewer observations. Just remember that each observation represents 1/144th of the sky. If students make only 6 observations, they would multiply the total number of stars observed by 24 (which is 144 divided by 6).
Have your students try this experiment (at night at the agreed upon time) to measure the number of stars you can see.
Remind students that they need to take RANDOM samples. That means that they need to use the samples where they see no stars at all, not drop that sample in favor of one where they see stars. In urban situations, kids are likely to have "blank" samples. That's what light pollution does to our skies. If urban kids sample UNTIL they have 12 samples with stars, then they are going to have false high readings.
ACTIVITIES SHEET: "TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR"
Have you ever wondered what makes a star twinkle? On the next clear night look at a bright star.
A star is a point of light. It is so far away that even the largest telescope cannot show the star's disk. The atmosphere changing between the star and your eye causes starlight to twinkle.
Make these predictions about twinkling:
b. Do stars twinkle more on a windy night, or a still night?
c. Do stars twinkle more at sea level or on a mountain top?
d. Do stars also change color as they twinkle?
Hint: Count star blink rates to answer the first question.
Share your data with students in other locations to answer the remaining questions.
"Seeing" is the term astronomers use to describe the steadiness of images. "Seeing" is best when the twinkling is least. When the seeing is good, astronomers can collect better data about the brightness and color of distant stars and galaxies.
Estimate how many stars you can see at night?
Do you see more stars in the city, or out in the country?
Do you see more stars on a moonless night or when there's a full moon?
Science Fair Supplies, Kits, Projects & Ideas
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Learn abou the stars when you do astronomy science fair projects!