Sun

The Sun
Our Sun is used to introduce diverse parts of physics–weather and climate, magnetism (via sunspots and the interplanetary field), color, spectra and the electromagnetic spectrum, nuclear energy and its release in stars, stellar evolution, even black holes and non-mathematical introductions to quantum physics and to nuclear power. This is a qualitative course, also suitable for independent study and home schooling. Part of a wider site “From Stargazers to Starships,” these sections also have related lesson plans, glossary, timeline, problems etc., as well as Spanish, French and Italian translations. http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Sunopen.htm

How Hot is that Star?
This site teaches how the temperature of a star is determined. Aimed at the general public, middle and high school students, and teachers, the site allows the visitor to browse through facts, data, and knowledge that will provide information directly related to the important topic of measuring the temperature of the Sun and stars. Teacher and Student sections. An interactive project of the Science Museum of Virginia sponsored by the University of California at Berkeley. http://www.smv.org/jims/

Home Page of the NASA/MFSC Solar Physics Branch
This site provides information about the projects and missions in which the solar physics group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center are involved and a very thorough tutorial on all aspects of the Sun by NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. Well-chosen graphics, including some movies, illustrate the discussion. The presentation is on a level comparable to that of “Science News” or “Scientific American.” http://wwwssl.msfc.nasa.gov/ssl/pad/solar/

Also accessible through the Solar Physics Branch home page is The Sun in Time, a presentation on modern scientific and ancient pre-scientific concepts of the Sun developed for middle-school students. The material, which was developed for a planetarium program, consists of a slide show and an experiment package with instructions on how to build a simple sextant and a sundial.

Solar Flare Theory Page
A web resource developed by the Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. As its name suggests, this site deals primarily with flares and explosive solar events known as “coronal mass ejections.” The site includes a list of links to other solar sites, a brief bibliography, a glossary, an on-line crossword puzzle based on the material presented on the site, and some video animation. Especially noteworthy is the explanation of “bremsstrahlung” in terms of bowling! http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/sftheory/

TRACE Mission Education Pages
There are only five educational pages at the TRACE (TRACE = Transition Region and Corona Explorer) web site, but they are attractively presented and well-illustrated, and offer clear, easy-to-follow discussions of how the Sun’s magnetic field behaves, coronal loops, the unexpectedly high temperature of the Sun’s corona, and solar flares. There is a short annotated list of other web-based solar resouces. http://vestige.lmsal.com/TRACE/Public/eduprodu.htm

National Solar Observatory Public Relations Page
This site contains several pages about the Sun, with hyperlinked definitions, and provides an “Ask Mr. Sunspot” option for visitors who don’t find the information that they are looking for on the site. The site also includes some pages on other topics as well, ranging from colliding galaxies to planetary alignments to a discussion of good science and “bad science.” http://www.nso.edu/nsosp/pr/

Solar Music – Helioseismology
This site presents helioseismology activities for scientists to use when visiting classrooms. Developed by National Solar Observatoy astronomer Frank Hill. http://www.noao.edu/education/ighelio/solar_music.html

SOHO Explore!
The education and outreach page of Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. Mainly focused on teachers. Includes lesson plans, information on SOHO and related education materials, upcoming Sun and Sun-Earth connection education events, and information about the sun and solar wind. http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/explore/

Stanford Solar Center
A great solar science site developed at Stanford University. This site provides lots of good information about the Sun, presented on an easy-to-follow level. Fun interactive quizzes are used very effectively to reinforce what the visitor to the site has learned about the different aspects of the Sun. There are a number of well-designed activities that involve the use of actual solar data. An “Ask a solar physicist” option allows questions about the Sun to be submitted by e-mail. http://solar-center.stanford.edu/

Passport to Knowledge Live from the Sun
LIVE FROM THE SUN (LFSUN) is the latest interactive learning site from the award-winning PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE (PTK) series. The site features the most recent discoveries the Sun about our local star and provides access to information and beautiful images from the best sources in the US and around the world. LFSUN will continue with updated Web and video materials through the peak of the solar cycle in 2000-2001. http://passporttoknowledge.com/sun/

NOAA Space Environment Centers Primer on the Space Environment
A concise introduction to the Sun and the effects of solar activity on Earth. http://www.sel.noaa.gov/primer/primer.html

Yohkoh Public Outreach Project
This is the public outreach site for the Yohkoh mission, which studies the Sun at x-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths. Lots of graphics and movies. The site includes a tutorial on the Sun (“Solar Tour”), a selection of recent images from Yohkoh and other observatories, x-ray movies of the Sun from Yohkoh, and a “Solar Classroom” offering a number of hands-on learning activities. http://www.lmsal.com/YPOP/