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Solar System: The Sun

Each activity or resource is labeled by access mode:

Requires computer access
Requires downloading from the Web
$$ Order materials and supplies
Main Topics & Concepts
  • Sun structure and composition
  • Solar activity and events
  • Effects of solar events on space and Earth 
This topic applies to California state standards 1e  in 9th grade Earth Science.  Also CA state Physical Science standard 5f, 5h,  5i, and 5j.
Science Probe Text
Science Probe I §14.1 The Sun: An Average Star  Science Probe II § 4.1 Magnetic Fields and Forces, 4.3 Electromagnetism;
Activity Access Description
SP II activity 4B Mapping Magnetic Fields book Students use iron filings to map the magnetic field around a bar magnet.
SP II activity 4E A Coil's Magnetic Field book Students observe what happens to the magnetic field of a current carrying wire when they wind the wire into a coil.

Activities & Lessons
Activity Access Description
B-1. The Sun
B-2. Observing the Sun Safely

Universe at Your Fingertips ASP* 

book B-1: Simple model of the Sun, worksheets: Why do we Need the Sun?, How Far to the Sun?, and Mini-Solar Oven.
B-2: Besides the usual projection method, presents a method of indirectly imaging the Sun with a small mirror.
Interview Mr. Sol

Stanford Solar Center

webpaper Students research the Sun's formation, light production, activity cycle, and stellar life span, then write an interview in which the Sun "talks" about itself. Questions may be printed and passed out in paper form. An example interview may be compared to student work as a rubric for assessment.

Solarscapes: Sunspots and Rotation:

 Space Science Institute

paper Excellent short curriculum focusing on the Sun, with well-thought-out hands-on activities.






web Tour of the history of solar science, introduction to modern multi-wavelength investigation, and a research activity on correlating sunspot areas with the active x-ray areas in the corona.  Illustrated instructions for safe observation of sunspots with simple equipment. Activity requires Java. Scientist interviews require RealMedia player.

Television in the Sky


FAST*** Education

web This web-based lesson compares how auroral light produced on the Earth's atmospheric screen is similar to the images produced on the screen of a television or computer monitor's Cathode Ray Tube.
G-4: The Sun's Period of Rotation

More Universe at Your Fingertips

bookweb In this activity students calculate the Sun's period of rotation, using images of sunspots from several dates.  (From the Solarscapes curriculum)

Stanford Solar Center

webpaper Suite of 14 activities for on-line and classroom use.  Solar rotation, observing, sunspots, science images, magnetism, scale, sonic waves, granulation, and educational "quick quizzes." Scroll down in the educator's page to find descriptions of the activities.

*Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Ordering info $$

** Science Education Gateway
***Fast Auroral SnapshoT Camera

Resources Access Description
Living With a Star Education Resource Guide


book Listing of Solar satellite missions, Web site Resources, NASA CORE Materials, Observing tips, and educator workshop contacts. Available through NASA Education Resource Centers. Where?

SEDS/Bill Arnett

web One of the first and best, this site at Arizona University's Lunar and Planetary Institute is co-sponsored by Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.  Embedded HTML glossary.


Calvin J. Hamilton

web Scroll down to get advertising banners off the screen.
The Very Latest Images from SOHO

NASA/SOlar Heliospheric Observatory Mission

web Daily images of the Sun and its corona from 6 instruments on the SOHO satellite, with access to lots more form comparisons through time. Movies are only a couple clicks away, but take some time to download.

Stanford Solar Center

web Frequently asked solar questions with answers, and an email form to send in with new questions of your own.  Also links to other sites with information about the Sun and solar science. 
Stanford Solar Center

Stanford University

web Information about the Sun, Solar Weather Report, News, Solar Art, Folklore, posters, links to other web resources and special educator's section with descriptions of all activities.
Yohkoh Public Outreach Project (YPOP)
Montana State University
web Another rich site, including daily solar images (x-ray and visible wavelengths), movies, tour of the Sun,  science nuggets and hands-on classroom activities (see sundial in your pocket).

Sunspot Observation Form


web Reproduce  this sheet for students to record sunspots observed at a certain date and time.

****Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum