NASA/JPL Yardstick Eclipse Demonstration

This resource from NASA/JPL’s Night Sky Network includes a full description of the activity and materials needed to demonstrate how both lunar and solar eclipses occur. The printable document provided includes instructions for engaging students, and questions to ask in leading the discussion.

Materials for each group of 3-4 students are:

  • Yard (or meter) stick
  • 1″ ball (for the Earth)
  • 0.25″ ball (for the Moon)
  • two toothpicks
  • two binder clips

Alternatively, this setup can be done as a teacher-led demonstration.

Pinhole Eclipse Viewer Handout

This handout is designed to have one page or the other printed single-sided. One page has six handouts per page and the other has eight per page.

The file is available in PDF format only.

What is an Eclipse? Handout

This handout is designed to be printed double-sided, and has two handouts per page. On one side are diagrams and brief descriptions of both lunar and solar eclipses. On the other side are lists of upcoming lunar and solar eclipses through 2020.

The file is available in both MS Word and PDF formats.

How Do Telescopes Work Handout

This handout is designed to be printed double-sided, and has two handouts per page. On one side is a brief comparison of refracting, reflecting, catadioptric, and radio telescopes. On the other side is a description of the purpose of telescopes.

The file is available in both MS Word and PDF formats.

Crash Course – Astronomy – 46: Everything, The Universe, And Life

This is the forty-sixth and final video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video describes the search for exoplanets and how we would be able to detect life on other planets. Phil describes why we are unlikely to be visited, and why electronic communication is much more likely.

Crash Course – Astronomy – 42: The Big Bang, Cosmology part 1

This is the forty-second video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video covers the discovery of the beginning of the universe in the Big Bang, and the Cosmic Microwave Background.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Distant Galaxies Show a Red Shift in Their Spectra 2:07
  • The Universe is Expanding 2:51
  • This Model is Called “The Big Bang” 5:12
  • The Universe is Almost 14 Billion Years Old 11:43

Crash Course – Astronomy – 38: Galaxies, Part 1

This is the thirty-eighth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video discusses how galaxies were discovered and measured, and describes the four main shapes of galaxies.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Milky Way is a Galaxy (One of Many) 2:04
  • Galaxies Have Four Main Shapes 3:18
  • Galaxies Can Collide 6:05

Crash Course – Astronomy – 37: The Milky Way

This is the thirty-seventh video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video examines the galaxy we call our home, the Milky Way.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Milky Way Is A Disc 2:54
  • Grand Spiral Patterns 4:21
  • The Central Region Is Bar Shaped 7:48
  • Outer Halo Of Old Stars 9:09

Crash Course – Astronomy – 36: Nebulae

This is the thirty-sixth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video takes a closer look at emission and reflection nebulae.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Nebulae Are Clouds of Gas And/Or Dust 0:42
  • They Can Emit Light Or Reflect It 1:20
  • Elements Change Their Glow 3:31
  • Nebulae Can Create Stars 5:28

Crash Course – Astronomy – 35: Star Clusters

This is the thirty-fifth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video describes the formation and evolution of star clusters, and give details on examples in the sky. It covers both open clusters and globular clusters.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Open clusters contain hundreds or thousands of young stars 00:29
  • Over time, open clusters evaporate 3:23
  • Globular clusters contain hundreds of thousands of old stars in spherical formation 5:50
  • Globular clusters have less heavy elements, thus probably do not have planets 6:43