Learning about the Sun

Learning about the Sun

The Sun is an essential part of our lives. Without the sun, the Earth wouldn’t have an orbit, the Moon couldn’t orbit the Earth, and there wouldn’t be life on Earth! But, how much do you know about the Sun? Learn more about the Sun’s light and how the Earth orbits the Sun in this week’s sunny STEM @ Home. 

Online Videos: Use these links to educate and entertain!


Cereal Box Spectroscopes – Much like the human fingerprint, which is unique to the individual, every source of light has a distinct and identifiable spectrum that is observable. For example, when looking at a rainbow in the sky, sunlight is being broken down into a continuous spectrum: the visible light spectrum. If a light source is not white light, however, the spectra will only consist of small pieces of visible light. An emission spectrum displays the light given off by a particular compound or atom. In fact, scientists concluded that the sun’s light is the result of hydrogen fusion, to produce helium gas, because of helium’s unique emission spectrum. In this activity, you can view the emission spectra of various household light sources by creating your own spectroscope.

Penumbras, Umbra, and Shadows – We cannot talk about the sun without talking about shadows! In this activity you will use two balls and a flashlight to create a penumbra, umbra, and simulate types of eclipses.

Build a Sunspot Viewer – The Sun might look constant but its surface is a constant churn of storms and swirling energy. It’s impossible to safely view with just your eyes but a simple device can show you the darker spots on the Sun’s surface where energy is flowing.

Image courtesy of NASA from: https://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/main/item/27