Solar Astronomy at Georgia Brown school

solar viewing 2
One of the students getting his first glimpse of the sun and a solar flare.

Georgia Brown school.  A little background: My daughter teaches first grade at the school, so last year she arranged for me to present to the third graders as part of their unit on the solar system.  That went so well that one of the teachers who was moved up to 5th grade wanted me to present to that grade level this year.  My write up follows.

On Tuesday, January 13 I had the pleasure of presenting solar information to three fifth grade classes at Georgia Brown Elementary School in Paso Robles.  As part of the presentations I provided a few projected slides showing various pictures of the sun as well as a cutaway drawing of the sun’s internal structure.  I also showed a few slides of the Milky Way, a lunar eclipse (with Uranus in conjunction), and the partial solar eclipse in October.  Following the presentations in class, I took the classes out side for first hand viewing of the sun through two solar telescopes, one a Coronado PST H-alpha and the other called the Sunspotter, which projects an image of the sun on a piece of paper.  The sun was moderately active that day with a pair of sun spots, some filaments, and a few small prominences.  I think the students were most fascinated by watching the image of the sun move across the paper as the earth turned.  It happens in real time and the movement is readily perceivable.  This gave me the opportunity to have the students adjust the telescope to re-center the sun.  I always enjoy a teaching situation, and this was no exception.  The students asked great questions in all three classes, and I probably could have easily taken more time than I was allotted.  I am certain I left behind a spark of interest in the wonders of our nearest star and the heavens beyond.

~Member Glem S.



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