Science Fair Astronomy projects
In this article, we talk about the construction of a sidereal pointer. It is an instrument that allows you to localize each celestial object in the night sky, just knowing its coordinates.
Difficulty: Elementary school
This science fair project was performed to find the best way of collecting and observing micrometeorites. The samples were collected from a roof, the leaf of an outdoor plant and rain water.
Solar storms can affect the Earth's magnetic field causing small changes in its direction at the surface which are called 'magnetic storms'. A magnetometer operates like a sensitive compass and senses these slight changes. The soda bottle magnetometer is a simple device that can be built for under $5.00 which will let students monitor these changes in the magnetic field that occur inside the class
Difficulty: High school
Hipparchus, who used an eclipse of the Moon to deduce the precession of the equinoxes (here), used a total eclipse of the Sun-probably in 129 BC-to estimate how far the Moon was. That distance had also been derived from a lunar eclipse by Aristachus-see here.
Have you ever wondered what makes a star twinkle? On the next clear night look at a bright star. How many blinks does it make in 10 seconds? Look at the moon, an airplane or a bright planet at night. Do these objects twinkle?
Sundials are the oldest way to tell time. The position of the sun changes during the day. The sun doesn't move; the Earth rotates around the sun, making it seem like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. As the sun goes across the sky, the post in the center of the sundial casts a shadow on a circular plate. Marks on the plate tell you what time it is. It's just like reading a clock!
Demonstrate that seasons exist because of the tilt of the earth and its impact on the intensity of the sunlight at a given location.
The earth is approximately 150, 000, 000 km from the sun. This distance varies somewhat with the seasons because of Earth's elliptical orbit. Yet, a simple instrument can be constructed which will provide measurement data that permits a relatively accurate measurement of the sun's diameter.
In ancient times, people did not understand the objects in the sky, how they moved or what they were. They did not know what a comet was, where it came from, or where it went. A large comet is a spectacular sight and inspired both awe and fear in primitive peoples.