AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 88. Undergraduate Astronomy Instruction, Labs and Research
Poster, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[88.12] More Solar Activities for Astro 101

M. L. West (Montclair State University)

For many astronomy students the sun is not only the brightest astronomical object they can observe but also the most interesting since it has an immediate effect on their daily lives.

Students enjoy analyzing their own observations using a Sunspotter, or images from archives such as the RBSE CD-ROM (1999, 2000, T. Rector), or current images found on the Internet. They can measure each sunspot's latitude, longitude, and approximate surface area by transparent Stonyhurst grids and fine graph paper, or NIH Image or Scion Image tools. Graphing latitude vs. time shows its near constancy. Longitude increases linearly with time and allows a measure of the sun's rotation period. Area vs. time increases for some spot groups, decreases for others, and fades but revives for others. This behavior elicits a lot of questions, hypotheses, and plans for more observations. The variation of solar rotation period with latitude can be tested. Does the sun's rotation period change with month and year also?

One of the oldest calendar markers is the sun's altitude at local noon. It can be measured easily with a paper scale attached to the cradle of a Sunspotter. Noticing the civil time at local noon allows one to understand the analemma.

What do sunspots correlate with? Students have investigated the correlation of sunspot numbers or areas with radio bursts, visible light or x-ray flares, solar wind speed, density, or magnetic field, aurorae, geomagnetic storms, the Earth's ozone layer, aircraft flight safety, ultraviolet light, global average temperature, local daily temperature variations, power grid outages, disruptions of Earth orbiting satellites or interplanetary spacecraft, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or other natural disasters,

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://csam.montclair.edu/~west. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: west@pegasus.montclair.edu

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