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sasp062212

This is a page with resources for 6/22 workshop participants. 

Standard to be addressed: "Students know that stars differ in their life cycles and that visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes may be used to collect data that reveal those differences (Particularly the part about how they use the different waves)."

1. What is light? 

The short (7 min) movie "More than the eyes can see" is a good introduction to light. You can also show to your students that white light is actually made up of light of many different colors using a diffraction grating.


How does a diffraction grating work? Diffraction gratings are cheap and you can buy it them in many places.

2. Temperature and Color 

Hotter objects are bluer than colder ones. Hotter objects are also brighter than colder ones of the same size. 
Your students can experience that directly by using a diffraction grating to observe a variable light bulb. As the bulb gets hotter and brighter, the blue light emission increases. Computer simulations can also be used to demonstrate this effect:

http://astro.unl.edu is also a good source of think-pair-share questions.

3. Atomic Emission and Absorption 

In astronomy, we use continuous (also known as thermal or blackbody spectra), emission and absorption spectra to learn about the temperature and chemical composition of celestial objects. The Spectrum Explorer is a good way of visualizing the three different kinds of spectra. 

The continuous spectra depends only on the object's temperature and was discussed above. The emission and absorption spectra depend also on chemical composition and therefore give us more information about the object we are observing. To demonstrate the atomic process of emission and absorption of light and the associated spectra I like to use color balls. You can watch me as I try to explain it on this YouTube mini-lecture

The Three Types of Spectra computer simulation and my mini-lecture on stellar spectra attempt to explain how the three types are created and observed in stars.

Emission gas lamps can be bought online. Each costs about $100. More detail about spectroscopy: http://web.phys.ksu.edu/vqm/software/online/vqm/html/emission.html

4. Astronomy in Different Wavelengths


Good resources for teachers:

5. How do we know the life cycle of stars?

Our existence in universe is too brief to allow us to observe the birth, life, and death of individual stars. Our understanding of stellar evolution is based on the study of a multitude of stars at different stages of evolution. The fact that light emitted by a celestial object, such as a star, takes time to reach our telescopes on Earth (lookback-time) allows us to directly observe the universe as it was in the past. We use these observations and the laws of physics to create models of stellar evolution. To be scientific, these models must be as simple as possible, agree with the observations, and make testable predictions. 

6. Some other YouTube videos that are relevant to this topic:

and Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot is an inspiring way to start or end a class or section on astronomy.


Don't hesitate in contacting me should you have any questions!!! 
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