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.

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 – 24: Light

This is the twenty fourth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video explains how astronomers use light to observe and understand everything in the universe around us.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Light is a Form of Energy 0:39
  • Wavelength Tells Us Its Energy and Color 0:59
  • Spectroscopy 7:28

Crash Course – Astronomy – 22: Oort Cloud and Outer Solar System

This is the twenty second video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video discusses the far away and still unobserved cloud of comets known as the Oort cloud.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Icy Bodies That Can Become Comets 0:27
  • The Kuiper Belt is a Donut Shape Aligned With the Plane of the Solar System 2:57
  • The Scattered Disk is More Eccentric and the Source of Short Period Comets 4:26
  • Oort Cloud Surrounds Our Solar System and is the Source of Long-Period Comets 4:04
  • These Bodies Probably Formed Near the Sun and Dispersed Through Gravitational Interactions 5:41

Crash Course – Astronomy – 21: Comets

This is the twenty first video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video examines the beautiful and fascinating dirty snowballs called comets.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Comets Are Chunks of Rock and Ice That Orbit the Sun 1:26
  • When They Get Near the Sun They Turn Into Gas 2:08
  • Comets Release Gas Via Vents As Ice Sublimates 2:15
  • Comets May Have Brought Water and Ingredients for Life to Earth 9:30

Crash Course – Astronomy – 20: Asteroids

This is the twentieth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video examines the millions of rocky or metallic bodies that make up the asteroid belt.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Asteroids Are Chunks of Rock, Metal, or Both 1:45
  • Most Orbit the Sun Between Mars and Jupiter 7:16
  • Ceres is Far Smaller Than the Moon, But Large Enough to be Round 3:43

Crash Course – Astronomy – 19: Uranus & Neptune

This is the nineteenth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video examines the atmosphere, rotation and moons of Uranus and Neptune.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Ice Giants With Small Rocky Cores 2:18
  • Thick Mantles of Ammonia, Water, and Methane 1:53
  • Atmospheres Makes Them Look Green And Blue 2:53
  • Uranus Has Dull Weather 3:35
  • Neptune Has Active Weather 7:19
  • Both Have Rings And Moons 5:12

Crash Course – Astronomy – 18: Saturn

This is the eighteenth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video examines Saturn, the beautiful gas giant, its rings and moons.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Saturn is a Gas Giant 0:33
  • Moons Create Gaps in the Ice Rings 5:17
  • Dozens of Moons 6:18
  • Titan’s Methane Lakes 7:56
  • Enceladus’s Water Geysers 8:33
  • Life Potential 9:30

Crash Course – Astronomy – 17: Jupiter’s Moons

This is the seventeenth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. This video examines the moons of Jupiter, focusing on the four large Galilean moons.

From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Jupiter Has 67 Moons (4 Big Ones) 0:12
  • Ganymede is the Largest 1:15
  • Io is Riddled With Volcanoes 3:16
  • Europa Has an Undersurface Ocean 4:48
  • Io, Europa, and Ganymede Interact Gravitationally 3:48
  • Known Unknowns 8:06