Since we are studying parts of the sun for week 8 of classical conversations in cycle 2, we found a sun program, and a star program to go enjoy at Fremont Peak.
Amateur astonomers volunteer to set up their scopes, or the observatory’s scopes, and happily share their knowledge with you.
Firstly, look at the spectacular view we are enjoying! For you CCers, this is definitely a scrubland. The clouds are not our friends when observing the heavens, but they sure are pretty!
“When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.”
Ephesians 3:14-15 NLT
“Who can understand the spreading of the clouds and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven?”
Job 36:29 NLT
We also found some creepy crawlers that were entertaining. I will load these up to an app so bug-officianados can tell us what we saw.
This little obervation station was modest, but holds a much more powerful refractor than we have at home. Of course, the roof opens and then you can see out. Otherwise, the astronomers set their own scopes out on gravel pads outside.
I love these weekend adventures because it gets Dad involved and able to participate in what we are learning.
We were able to meet Sal (in the white shirt) who told us how sun spots form, and that they usually occur in tandem with solar flares. From that, and some searching online, learned that there’s what is called a sun spot cycle, because there’s a rhythm that God gave their existence too. How amazing is our Lord!
“If he commands it, the sun won’t rise and the stars won’t shine. He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky. He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.”
Job 9:7-10 NLT
Even my 2 year old understood he was looking at the sun. How cute!
There is a special filter on these telescopes that allow us to safely see the sun. Otherwise, you’d burn your eye and go blind. We got some safety lessons too, and I appreciate when my children hear safety tips from other adults. You know – because children “tune you out” sometimes – because they hear you all day, especially when you homeschool!
This red image is a picture of what we saw in the lens of the scope with a filter that allowed us to look for solar flares. We didn’t see any solar flares, but we did see some texture on the sun’s corona (outer layer) that was interesting, however, barely observable.
This yellow image was what you see when you’re looking at a lens with a filter that allows you to look for sun spots. No sun spots were visible today.
We drew a sun diagram in the gravel and named the parts of the sun we are learning. We threw rocks into our sun, trying to hit the various spots of interest too. Here you see the sun’s core, radiative zone, convective zone, sun spots (in the photosphere), and corona.
We made up some hand motions to help us learn the sun’s parts too:
- We start by making a small ball with our fists.
- Then we blow “helium and hydrogen” in our hands to make our ball “900 times bigger than the Earth”.
- And we then touch each part of the sun, and pretend it burns us, starting with the core (we poke the center of our imaginary sun and shout “Core! Ouch!”
- For the radiative zone we move our fingers in and out like we are patting glue or paint into a ball – our imaginary radiative zone is larger than our imaginary core so our hands are about a soccer ball apart from each other.
- For the convective zone we “wave our hands around a ball”, and our hands are about two soccer balls apart from each other.
- For the sun spots we “poke the sun in spots further from the center than the convective zone (in the air) in the photosphere to make sun spots”
- For a solar flare, we pretend like a “fire cracker is shooting off the side of our imaginary sun in the photosphere”.
- And we move our hands around the “giant circumference of the sun’s corona” in a huge circle mid-air. You get the picture.
Though you can find many more online, here are some cool pages to show you some more about the sun:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and got some ideas you could try with your kids this year!
In closing, I leave you with this:
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.”
Psalms 19:1-6 NLT