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Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar spectra. The activity is part of Project... (View More)

Learners will use a spectrograph to gather data about light sources. Using the data they’ve collected, students are able to make comparisons between different light sources and make conjectures about the composition of a mystery light source. The... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet "Snorkzat" has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project Spectra,... (View More)

This is an activity about detecting elements by using light. Learners will develop and apply methods to identify and interpret patterns to the identification of fingerprints. They look at fingerprints of their classmates, snowflakes, and finally... (View More)

Learners will look at various light sources (including glow sticks and Christmas lights) and make conjectures about their composition. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students,... (View More)

Learners will explore different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored "barcode" spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction... (View More)

This Hubble Space Telescope image captures the chaotic activity on a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust reminiscent of a craggy fantasy mountaintop surrounded by wispy clouds. New stars buried inside the pillar cannot be seen in this image... (View More)

This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals a small region inside the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri, which boasts nearly 10 million stars. This colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of the cluster is one of the... (View More)

This series of curriculum support materials explores how our understanding of the nature of the universe has changed during the past 100 years. Students examine the process of science through the stories of the people and the discoveries that caused... (View More)

Keywords: History of science
Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this investigation, students use "point-source" light, light meters, and graphing software to quantify the reduction in light over distance. Through careful measurement of light received at several distances, students discover the best fit of the... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Over $20 per group of students