During this lab, students (Key Stage 4 and beyond) will take images at the NTU observatory using the solar scope. In order to collect the images, a professional camera for imaging astronomical objects will also be used. Only ten minutes of clear sunshine is required to gather all of the data needed; this makes this project ideal for our typical cloudy conditions.
Prominences consist of matter thrown off from the Sun and can be extremely large. Using the known diameter of the Sun, participants will determine how large such prominences are and relate their size to planets such as Jupiter and Earth. These measurements reveal just how active our Sun is, and show that the region of its influence is even beyond planet Earth. Such observations make it clear how dangerous the Sun can be for satellites and astronauts in space.
By applying energy conservation and gravitational acceleration at the surface of the Sun, we can see how prominences work and how the Sun is connected to magnetic fields.