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Science Fair Project Ideas for Astronomy

  1. May 1, 2012 #1
    Hey there guys!

    I haven't been on this forum a while, been busy with school work and assessments, but still catching up on astronomical developments and physical advancements (Higgs Boson around the corner soon?!)

    Anyways, as the title suggests, I'm definitely entering a local science fair competition which could lead on to various International/Regional Science programmes that I can participate and develop my interest in astronomy/physics.

    Me and my science teacher thought of a few ideas, such as looking at the reaction between UV light and a type of plastic that protects the house from intensive UV exposure (from what I know), or determining the rotation period of the Sun at different latitudes using sunspots, or looking at variable stars, looking at their period and working out distance/absolute magnitude from there.

    These are just some brainstorm ideas that we came up. Ideally, I'll be in touch with my local astronomical society (shout out to Auckland Astronomical Society!) and I'll see if I can work on something with them. It's not definite at the moment, just trying to come up with some ideas that can work and at a reasonable complexity level that I can manage, yet learn something new/different from it.

    I'm just wondering what possible ideas there are that are manageable.

    I think i'm pretty excited to start on this project. It seems pretty fun and the exposure provided will be quite thrilling!

    Thanks !
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Your current ideas seem pretty good actually. As long as you have the equipment for it, then sunspot viewing could be interesting.
  4. May 1, 2012 #3


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    Gold Member

    Masonn, Welcome to Physics Forums!

    You have suggested a few great ideas already. Certainly living things' exposure to UV has serious health implications. UV's ability to degrade some plastic materials has great potential in the "trash" decomposition problems we all have.

    But for me, any young astronomer needs to launch her career from a good, solid foundation. If you have a clear idea of our own solar system your journey to other worlds will be easier to grasp. Just because sundials have been around for centuries it would be a mistake to underestimate their value. They can be used to demonstrate the geometry of the earth-sun relationship. There are many types of sundials.

    My suggestion it to examine and analyze the existing sundial types. You may discover some new orientations/configurations you can build which demonstrates how our solar system actually works. And nearly everyone at a science fair would enjoy seeing it in operation.
  5. May 2, 2012 #4
    The UV issue seems like a feasible one. The sundial is one to think of too..! I initially didn't think much of sundials. I thought they were simply ancient clocks, to just tell the time according to the angle the sun makes with it.

    Demonstrating the geometry of the earth-sun relationship using a sundial.. It certainly sounds interesting :D.

    Oh yes, what do you mean by having a clear idea of our own solar system before venturing to other ideas. Personally, I've never been too interested in Planetary Sciences, mainly because of the orbit complexities and atmospheric sciences that turned me off. I became more interested in stellar physics then, most particularly pulsars. However, I will look into it once again and maybe learn something interesting for the science fair project.

    Thanks for the suggestion! :D.
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