Calculate AU to kilometers
Before the critical measurements of the Transit of Venus in the late 1800s,
distances in the solar system were expressed in Astronomical Units (AU).
But nobody knew what an AU equaled in miles or kilometers. The AU was
simply the distance from Earth to the Sun; all distances from the other
planets to the Sun were calculated using Kepler's Laws in comparison with
the Earth-Sun distance. So astronomers needed to calculate the AU in
kilometers! To do this calculation for yourself follow the activity
Measuring the Distance to the Sun
The Sun would always appear to have the same size in the sky if it's always
the same distance away another way to say this is that the Sun's angular
diameter would appear to be constant. Test the hypothesis through this
Fact and Fiction-Students compare two science fiction
stories and a scientific appraisal about what might happen when the next
magnetic reversal happens. They critically evaluate fictional claims to
identify factual errors.
Students use tabulated data to create a graph of
Earth's magnetic intensity. They forecast when, or if, our current field
will actually fall to zero-strength in the future.
Timing the Transit of Venus
Students perform basic time calculation
exercises based on actual historic transit timing data. Topics covered
include elapsed time, time differences and time conversion.
When Do Transits of Venus Happen?
The students will complete a table of values and predict the dates for a
transit of Venus that is visible from the Earth based on rates and patterns.