Uranus and/or Neptune Lab ideas

In summary, the conversation discusses the search for a lab or activity related to Uranus or Neptune, with the original poster finding no suitable options online. The conversation then delves into the constraints of the class, including limited access to equipment and the need for indoor activities. Suggestions are made for comparing the two planets or researching their differences, as well as using liquid nitrogen in an activity. Overall, the conversation highlights the difficulty in finding specific activities for these two planets and the need for creativity in teaching about them.
  • #1
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I teach high school astronomy. I have been searching the interwebz for a lab or "meaningful" activity related to uranus or neptune, and have come up empty handed. I have found several lab manuals from different universities and I'm beginning to think that such a lab or activity does not exist.

Does anyone have any materials or ideas on what I could do for these two planets? even if its "higher level" stuff, id love to see it.
 
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  • #2
What kind of equipment do the students have access to? Do they have access to telescopes and related equipment?

nmsurobert said:
I have found several lab manuals from different universities and I'm beginning to think that such a lab or activity does not exist.

Did those lab manuals lack activities regarding Uranus, or were they too advanced/required equipment you didn't have access too/something else?
 
  • #3
Drakkith said:
What kind of equipment do the students have access to? Do they have access to telescopes and related equipment?
Did those lab manuals lack activities regarding Uranus, or were they too advanced/required equipment you didn't have access too/something else?

I have a few small telescopes but we are in the heart of the city. also, keeping them after school is going to be tough. i have about 130 astro students. everyone has a computer. i have a few computers that i could put software on if needed.

the lab manuals lack activities. not a single mention of either planet.
 
  • #4
One of the most interesting new pieces of research (to me at least) about Uranus/Neptune is the Nice model:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nice_model
which postulates that Uranus and Neptune actually switched positions in the early Solar System (due to orbital interactions of Jupiter and Saturn), and this instability caused the late heavy bombardment of the inner planets as well as the formation of a number of features of the outer Solar System (Jupiter Trojans, resonant trans-Neptunian objects, etc). If you could get your hands on the right software, you might have the students run some--possibly simplified--simulations related to this.
 
  • #5
nmsurobert said:
I have a few small telescopes but we are in the heart of the city. also, keeping them after school is going to be tough

It would be helpful if you listed the constraints you have. And, to be honest, daytime astronomy tends to be rather limited.
 
  • #6
Vanadium 50 said:
It would be helpful if you listed the constraints you have. And, to be honest, daytime astronomy tends to be rather limited.

i'm looking for something to do inside.

anything done outside, at night is for a club. not for my regular 150 students lol
 
  • #7
I'm sorry, I meant "It would be helpful if you listed all the constraints you have" I don't think a million-dollar project is what you are interested in. But please don't have us guess.
 
  • #8
Vanadium 50 said:
I'm sorry, I meant "It would be helpful if you listed all the constraints you have" I don't think a million-dollar project is what you are interested in. But please don't have us guess.

i don't understand what your asking. All constraints? i don't know. i can't take them outside at night. i have computers that could put some software on if i needed to.

we have a day where we talk about the planet. then we have a day where we do an activity or a lab related to that planet. so far, i have something planned for each planet. something like comparing surface features. or mapping an orbit using a protractor and greatest elongation angle. for jupiter, we look at several mercator projections over some time period and come up with a velocity that the gsp is moving at.

I'm looking for something like that but with uranus or neptune. all i can find online is like coloring book activities.
 
  • #9
How about having your students compare the two 'ice giants'. Have them look into the differences of these two planets. Or have them look into the trajectory of Voyager 2's journey that took it on a flyby of both planets?
 
  • #11
Drakkith said:
How about having your students compare the two 'ice giants'. Have them look into the differences of these two planets. Or have them look into the trajectory of Voyager 2's journey that took it on a flyby of both planets?

It may boil down to me doing that. Instead of having a talk about them make it a little research project.
 
  • #12
Liquid nitrogen is always fun.
 

1. What are some lab ideas for studying Uranus and Neptune?

Some lab ideas for studying Uranus and Neptune could include investigating the composition of their atmospheres, studying their magnetic fields, examining their ring systems, or analyzing the properties of their moons.

2. How can we simulate the extreme temperatures on Uranus and Neptune in a lab?

To simulate the extreme temperatures on Uranus and Neptune, scientists can use specialized equipment such as cryogenic chambers or high-temperature furnaces. These can recreate the cold and hot conditions found on these gas giants.

3. What are some experiments we can do to study the unique rotation of Uranus and Neptune?

One experiment to study the unique rotation of Uranus and Neptune could be to create models using different materials with varying densities and observe how they rotate. Another experiment could be to simulate the effects of the planets' tilted axes on their rotation.

4. How can we use spectroscopy to study the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune?

Spectroscopy can be used to study the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune by analyzing the light that passes through their atmospheres. This can reveal information about the composition, temperature, and other properties of their atmospheres.

5. What are some potential future lab experiments that could further our understanding of Uranus and Neptune?

Some potential future lab experiments that could further our understanding of Uranus and Neptune could include studying the effects of their magnetic fields on their moons, investigating the possible presence of subsurface oceans, or examining the interactions between their atmospheres and solar wind.

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