Sunspots? They affect US???
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Oh yes, right....the sun couldn't possibly affect us other than a few sunburns.....could it?!??!!

Complete the following exercise using the links provided. THE ENTIRE EXERCISE MUST BE TURNED IN BY FRIDAY AT 3:00 P.M.


The Mission:
Friendly aliens have recently contacted NASA and have communicated that the sun in their solar system is beginning to crash. Once our scientists got over the shock of communicating with aliens, they found out why they were speaking so urgently: they want to relocate to our solar system and want to know all about our sun. NASA has determined that this is low on their priority and so has asked our class to help the aliens. It will be your mission to gather as much information about the sun and report to the aliens as soon as possible.

You will use the Internet to search at least 5 websites that give information about the sun. You will do this over the course of one class session. You should include images that represent your data, when appropriate.

You will go to the computer lab and search the five sites to gather information about the sun.

The aliens have a list of questions that you must answer in your quest.
1. How old is the sun?
2. What is the temperature of the sun?
3. How far away is the sun from the Earth?
4. What is the difference in temperature between the core and the surface of the sun?
5. What is the chemical make up of the sun?
6. What are the percentages of those chemicals?
7. What are sunspots?
8. When were sunspots first discovered and who discovered them?
9. How are magnetic storms on Earth related to sunspot activity?
10. What is the sunspot number for each of the days you did your research?
11. How does the number of sunspots change over time?
12. How are each of the following related to the sun: prominences, solar flares, corona, solar wind, chromospheres, photosphere,
13. How does the sun get its energy?
14. What is nuclear fusion?
15. How can you safely observe the sun?
16. What is an eclipse?
17. When will the next eclipse occur?

Afterwards, be sure to come up with a list of questions you would like to ask the aliens. Your list should be at least 5 questions long and should include a hypothesis on why their sun no longer exists.

The final part of your mission is to write a 500 word essay that defines the benefits and downfalls of our sun. Use the answers to the questions to assist you in this process.

Below you will find a list of websites that will assist you in this process.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

National Geographic

Sun-Earth connections GSFC

Sun-Earth connections GSFC 2

If you use any additional resources, be sure to list them in your resource list.

Lowell Bailey

Bedford-North Lawrence High School
595 Star Boulevard
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