Who Else Is Studying the Sun from Space? A Student Activity
This lesson will give students a wider perspective on the many different ways the sun is being studied.
RHESSI is not the only strange acronym for a solar mission. There are many other missions, including ACE, TRACE, SOHO, and SIRTS. There are however, some solar missions with names that are not acronyms, like Yohkoh, Ulysses, and Genesis.
Activity: Assign a different solar mission to each group of 2-4 students.
Using our links page, students will research their assigned mission to find the information requested in the student worksheet which includes questions such as:
When a group has completed their worksheet, then they will stick their two post-it notes with drawings to two large classroom displays, one showing the mission's location in space, and another graphing its position on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Display 1 This display will not be to scale, but it will give students an idea of where each mission operates (low earth orbit, a million miles away and so on). On one side of a large piece of butcher paper (about 1.5 meters long), draw an Earth 10 centimeters in diameter. On the opposite edge of the paper, draw a portion of the sun as a large arc. Each group should stick one of their drawings in the appropriate location relative to the Earth and Sun.
Display 2 On another large piece of graph paper, draw a horizontal line that will be the scale of a large spectrum. A good model for this graph is located at Remote Sensing of the Global Environment site (http://www.geo.mtu.edu/rs/back/spectrum/) except we recommend that you put radio waves at the left and have the frequency increase to the right. Each group of students will insert their second small drawing at the appropriate place on the graph.
Lesson Finale Each group will give a short presentation to the class, giving the basic information about the mission that they studied.