Hydrogen Energy Levels Lab
This digital lab from the Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project introduces the concept of how quantum mechanics and light relate with respect to the Hydrogen atom. The module revolves around the Hydrogen Atom Simulator, a Bohr model version of a idealized hydrogen atom as it interacts with photons of various wavelengths. Watch the electron jump to higher energy levels as it absorbs photons, then emit photon(s) and drop back to a lower level. Students can drag the electron between levels and shoot photons of different wavelength/frequency at the atom. Includes an instructor's manual, student guide, worksheets, and background information. Highly recommended by the editors.
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Sloan Digital Sky Survey: Advanced Class Projects in Astronomy
This page offers a collection of 7 class projects for use in high school physics or astronomy courses. Choose from these projects: Hubble Diagram, Color of the Stars, Spectral Types, Hertzsprung Russell Diagram, Galaxies, Sky Surveys, and Quasars. Each lesson includes links to digital tools that draw on authentic data for exploring concepts. The projects vary in length. Expect to devote 2-4 days, depending upon the project you choose. Teachers: We highly recommend the "Spectral Types" and "Color of the Stars" projects, if pressed to choose only two.
NOVA: Decoding Cosmic Spectra
This activity lets students interactively explore four astronomical objects: Earth's sun, the Crab Nebula, the planet Jupiter, and Galaxy KUG 1750+683B. Their task is to match atomic spectra to graphs of each object's Intensity vs. Wavelength. It's a deceptively simple task, but students will probably have several misses. The activity will help students gain awareness of the painstaking nature of astronomical observation.
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Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram Lab
This digital lab provides an in-depth tutorial in reading Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams - a scattergraph of stars showing the relationship between luminosities versus stellar classifications or effective temperatures. Astronomers use it to classify stars. The keystone activity is the HR Diagram Explorer, an interactive simulator. The resource also includes background information on spectral classification, a stellar luminosity calculator, a Student Guide and an Instructor's page.
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TeachEngineering: Designing a Spectroscopy Mission
Students find and calculate the angle that light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating using trigonometry. After finding this angle, student teams design and build their own spectrographs, researching and designing a ground-based or space-based mission using their creation. At project end, teams present their findings to the class.
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