Student Activity Page
Work with one or two other student astronomers.


On a frequent basis, visit one of the solar image sites in RESOURCES and acquire your images.

    1. Acquire the site
    2. Select an image format ( H-alpha, visible, x-ray,etc )
    3. Select a date ( today's date or the day before )
    4. Choose which image you wish
    5. Print it on a piece of high quality Paper and place your picture in a folder ( a three ring binder is best )
    6. Optional;  record your image file on a disk for future reference

  Once you have acquired several images of more than one type, sort them by groups ( all the x-ray pictures together, all the heliums, etc.)

    1. Compare and contrast all the images of each type so as to observe and record changes in surface features.
    2. Identify each type of surface feature as identified in the opening page definition table.
    3. When you discover new features that were not on the solar surface in the last picture, you are witnessing the BIRTH of a new feature.  Sun spots do this frequently.Once a flare starts, the hourly changs can be spectacular. Some ejection features are over in minutes.
    4. Keeping track of the progress of these changes can be done by either printing out successive images on paper, collecting the images on a disk or using an animator like Qick Time to make your own movies. Several of the solar sites make these short movies availible.
    5. Once you have begun monitoring an event, keep watching it till it disappears. You will have seen the entire lifetime of this sun spot, flare of solar storm


There are various books, periodicals and web sites which teach you all of the names and definitions of every surface feature. Once you become familiar with each feature and all of its variations, you can become an EXPERT on Solar Surface features. Your daily observations of these features will help you to learn all about them and will give you lots of examples to help illustrate your expertise. Perhaps you could go to another class or another school, bring your collection of pictures and tell the other students about what you have learned.

OBSERVATIONS     Pin Hole Camera

To build a pin hole camera, you will neeed a light tight box, some aluminum foil, a needle, some tissue paper and some black electrical tape. The idea is, if you make a tiny hole in the foil, the light coming through it will make an inverted image of the sun. If the light shines on some tissue paper, you can see the image on the other side.
Take the box, cut a two small windows at opposite ends. Use the black electrical tape to mount a piece of aluminum foil over the front window so that no light gets through. Tape some tissue paper over the other window at the back, to act as a screen. Take the needle and poke a small hole in the Aluminum foil. Aim the foil end of the box at the sun and look at the tissue end FROM THE SIDE. BE.CAREFUL TO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. You can burn your eyes out and go blind.
Once you learn how to look at the image of the sun, you can look very carefully and see sun spots on its surface. If you compare their positions from day to day, you can watch them move.


In your first images of the sun from the net, choose one prominant feature to observe. Make a record of the day you first observed it. You might write the date on your print out. Each new day, you will notice that your feature moves to the right. Keep observing the object day after day, as it moves to the right. It will eventually disappear because the sun is rotating from left to right and  it will go behind the sun. As the sun continues to turn, eventually the feature will re-appear on the left as it comes back to the front. When it returns to the same position it was in when you first detected it, the sun has rotated completely around. If you record that date and find how many days between the start date and the finish, you have found the time it takes for the sun to rotate on its axis. If you do this several times and average your values, you will have an accurate value for the period of rotation of the sun!



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