Table of Astronomy Astronomy(8B):Stellar Astronomy Lecture Demonstrations

## Planetary Astronomy

PIRA classification 8A

# 8A05. Historical Astronomy

 PIRA # Demonstration Name Abstract 8A05.10 Calender Wheels Native American celestial calendar wheels and how to construct them. See TPT 37(8), 476 8A05.15 Stonehenge Many models of this famous megalith are available. 8A05.16 Megaliths Some historical background on megalithic astronomy. See AJP 45(2), 125 8A05.20a Constellations Constellations used to interpret historical legends. See TPT, 31(6), 383 8A05.20b Constellations The Big Dipper used to tell time. See TPT, 29(2), 80 8A05.30a Eratosthenes measurement of Earth's radius Eratosthenes determination of the circumference of the Earth updated by doing the experiment from an aircraft. See TPT 25(8), 500 8A05.30b Eratosthenes measurement of Earth's radius Eratosthenes experiment redone using meter sticks instead of wells. See TPT 26(3), 154 8A05.30c Measurement of Earth's radius The calculation done using feet and miles. Also several other neat problems using Earth's radius as a starting point. See TPT 31(9), 519 8A05.30d Measurement of Earth's diameter A GPS is used to calculate the diameter of the Earth. See TPT 38(6), 360 8A05.30e Eratosthenes measurement of Earth's radius Trying to calculate the radius of the Earth by watching the Sun set twice, once from the bottom and then from the top of a tall building. See TPT 31(7), 440 8A05.30f Eratosthenes - scale of Earth/Moon/Sun system Using Eratosthenes calculation of the diameter of the Earth to calculate the size of the Moon. See TPT 38(3), 179 8A05.33 Eudoxus: homocentric spheres models Two homocentric models of Eudoxus: one shows the motion of the Sun, the other shows retrograde motion. See AJP, 31(6),456 8A05.35 Ptolemaic and Copernican orbits An analog computer (circuit given) displays orbits and epicycles on an oscilloscope. See AJP, 30(9),615 8A05.40a Kepler and planetary orbits A photographic solution to Kepler's laws. See AJP, 69(4), 481 8A05.40b Kepler and planetary orbits An unusual verification of Kepler's first law. See AJP, 69(10), 1036 8A05.40c Kepler and planetary orbits A graphical representation of Kepler's third law. See TPT 36(4), 212 8A05.40d Kepler and planetary orbits Kepler's third law calculations without a calculator. See TPT 42(9), 530 8A05.40e Kepler and planetary orbits Kepler's third law and the rise time of stars. See TPT 25(8), 493 8A05.40f Kepler and planetary orbits Applying Kepler's third law to elliptical orbits. See TPT 34(1), 42 8A05.40g Kepler and planetary orbits Measuring an asteroids orbit to test Kepler's first and second law. See TPT 36(1), 40 8A05.50 Sundial A Plexiglas model of a sundial. See AJP 52(2),185 8A05.50 Sundial Detailed descriptions, pictures, and how to time correct a sundial. See TPT 10(3), 117 8A05.50 Sundial, solar pocket watch Picture of a portable sundial (solar pocket watch) dated 1573. See TPT 41(5), 268 8A05.50 Sundial Constructing a portable sundial. See TPT 37(2), 113 8A05.50 Sundial, solar pocket watch Additional observations on TPT 41(5), 268. 8A05.55 Horizontal sundial An analytic solution for determining the markings on a sundial and a description of construction. See AJP 42(5),372 8A05.60 Cross-staff Cut a meter stick into 57 1/3 cm and 42 2/3 cm. (At 57 1/3 cm one degree equals one cm.) Some refinements. See AJP 33(2),165 8A05.70 Sextant Pictures of and directions for sextants. 8A05.70 Sextant An easily constructed mini-sextant and directions for it's use. See TPT 38(4), 238 8A05.80 Artificial Horizon A mercury filled dish that is used for an artificial horizon when taking measurements with a sextant during times when the real horizon is obscured. 8A05.85 Chronometer An accurate ships time piece used in conjunction with the sextant to determine longitude and latitude. 8A05.90 Heliostat Picture of a heliostat. See AJP 38(3),391

# 8A20. Earth-Moon Mechanics

 PIRA # Demonstration Name Abstract 8A20.05 Earth's Seasons Showing the Earth's seasons with a 3-D model. See TPT 31(7), 419 8A20.07 Seasonal Tilt 8A20.08 Tilt of the Earth - Video 8A20.15 Phases of the moon - terminator line demo View a ball illuminated by a distant light with a TV camera as the angle between the ball and light varies. 8A20.15 Phases of the moon How the view of the crescent moon changes from the northern to southern hemisphere. See TPT 38(6), 371 8A20.15 Phases of the moon An exercise in Moon watching and observation of phases of the Moon. See TPT 32(2), 126 8A20.15 Phases of the moon Phases of the moon shown with a styrofoam ball, light source, and a CCD camera. See TPT 34(6), 360 8A20.15 Phases of the moon A handy way to teach "Moon Phases". See TPT 31(3), 178 8A20.17 Phases models Illuminated models for showing the phases of Venus and the Moon. See TPT 3(6),263 8A20.19 Phases of planets Calculating the phases of the outer planets. See TPT 37(9), 528 8A20.20 Albedo 8A20.20 Brightness of the Moon Two methods to determine the brightness of the Moon. See TPT 23(5), 293 8A20.22 Eccentricity of the Moon's orbit A piece of cardboard with a hole slid up and down a yardstick is used to determine the eccentricity of the Moon's orbit. See AJP 78 (8), 834 8A20.25 Eclipse model An eclipse model built from Hoola Hoops to show the eclipse seasons. See TPT 34(6), 376 8A20.30 Solar eclipse Preparations and observation of the March 7, 1970 eclipse. See TPT 9(5), 276 8A20.30 Solar eclipse The path of the February 26, 1998 solar eclipse. See TPT 35(9), 515 8A20.31 Solar eclipse Using a solar eclipse to estimate the Earth-Moon distance. See TPT 34(4), 232 8A20.32 Solar eclipse, pinhole images Using pinholes and natural phenomenon to view a solar eclipse. See TPT 32(6), 347 8A20.35 Lunar eclipse Why the Moon appears red during a lunar eclipse. See TPT 44(3), 181 8A20.37 Umbra, penumbra Why there are crisp, dark or fuzzy shadows during eclipses. 8A20.40 Transit - Mercury & Venus 8A20.45 Occultations Occultation used to determine the diameter of a planet. See AJP 45(10), 914 8A20.45 Occultations Lunar geography shown determined by grazing occultation. See TPT 21(4), 218 8A20.45 Occultations Occultation used to determine the diameter of the Moon. See TPT 30(5), 290 8A20.50 Earth/Moon system The Earth-Moon system orbits the Sun at its center of mass or barycenter. See TPT 44(1), 48 8A20.55 Earth/Moon system Using Earth-Moon communication to calculate the speed of light. See TPT, 44(7), 414 8A20.60 Earth/Moon distance Retroreflector arrays and laser pulses to measure the Earth/Moon distance. See TPT 33(2), 90 8A20.60 Earth/Moon distance How to determine the distance to the Moon. See TPT 10(1), 40 8A20.64 Earth-Moon-Sun_Model A 10" globe, a painted tennis ball, and a 100 W bulb are used to represent the Earth-Moon-Sun system 8A20.70 Pinhead Earth 8A20.70 Scale model of the Earth/Moon/Sun system Using a basketball and a push pin to model the Sun-Earth system. See TPT 38(2), 115 8A20.70 Scale model of the Earth/Moon/Sun system Pinholes used to enhance a 1:2 billion scale model of the Earth/Moon/Sun system. See TPT 11(8), 489 8A20.80 Moon & Tides

# 8A35. Views From Earth 2

 PIRA # Demonstration Name Abstract 8A35.10 Celestial sphere A simple model celestial sphere is made from a round bottom flask. Pictures. 8A35.10 Celestial sphere 8A35.15 Celestial sphere Modifying the Replogle Model 15620 celestial sphere. See TPT 18(6), 465 8A35.16 Celestial sphere Making your own celestial sphere by locating stars. See TPT 25(7), 438 8A35.18 Celestial sphere Introducing students to the celestial sphere should always be done with a companion Earth-Sun model. See AJP 73(11), 1030 8A35.18 Celestial sphere Difficulties teaching concepts with a celestial sphere may be simplified by construction of a mechanical Armillary. See TPT 10(2), 96 8A35.30 Satellite orbits Plotting the orbits of the planets from existing data and charts. See TPT, 45(6), 369 8A35.30 Satellite orbits Orbital periods of Mercury, Venus, and the Earth simulated using a whirligig setup. See TPT 31(2), 122 8A35.30 Satellite orbits Calculating how long it takes for a planet to fall into the Sun if its orbital motion is arrested and relating that to the orbital period of the planet. See TPT 36(2), 122 8A35.32 Satellite orbits The orbital motion of the Moon explained by projectile motion. See TPT 19(3), 181 A35.35 Satellite orbits Calculation showing that an orbiting satellite is in freefall. See TPT 23(1), 29 8A35.35 Satellite orbit model Making a satellite/Earth system model from glass tubing, a model rocket, nylon thread, a support stand, wooden sphere, and hooked masses. See TPT 46(4), 237 8A35.40 Satellite orbits The effect of atmospheric drag and temperature on satellite orbits. See TPT 43(7), 452 8A35.50 Slingshot effect A simple explanation of the "slingshot effect" or "gravity assist". See TPT 23(8), 466

# 8A40. Planetary Properties: Globes, Hemispheres, & Maps

 PIRA # Demonstration Name Abstract 8A40.10 Globes Globes of Earth, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc. See University of Minnesota Handbook - 8A20.10 8A40.20 Globes and hemispheres The angles of any triangle on a sphere or hemisphere always add up to more than 180 degrees. See TPT 32(8), 506 8A40.20 The minimum path length joining two points on a sphere's surface is a segment of a "great circle". Globes and hemispheres. See TPT 26(5), 280

# 8A50. Planetary Properties 2: The Planets

 PIRA # Demonstration Name Abstract 8A50.10 Mercury 8A50.12 Mercury's Orbit Plotting Mercury's orbit from data in The Astronomical Almanac. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 29(6), 346 8A50.15 Perihelion of Mercury The precession of the perihelion of Mercury's orbit calculated using the LaPlace-Runge-Lenz vector.. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 73(8), 730 8A50.15 Perihelion of Mercury A Lagrangian yielding the same equations of motion that Einstein derived for the precession of the perihelion of Mercury. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 70(5), 498 8A50.20 Venus 8A50.30 Earth 8A50.30 Earth's Rotation Does the Earth rotate? Seven "proofs" for the rotation of the Earth. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 25(2), 86 8A50.30 Earth's Rotation Several other experiments carried out that proved the Earth rotates. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 25(7), 418 8A50.30 Earth's Rotation One more "proof" the Earth rotates. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 30(4), 196 8A50.30 Earth's Rotation Additional experiments on how we sense the Earth rotates. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 30(2), 111 8A50.30 Earth's Rotation Leeuwenhoek's "Proof" of the Earth's rotation. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 33(3), 144 8A50.30 Earth's Rotation Emperical evidence the Earth rotates by marking the length of a shadow of a rod in two minute intervals starting 20 minutes before midday and ending 20 minutes after midday. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 33(2), 116 8A50.34 Geological Timeline - Earth 8A50.35 The Moon A calculation of how high you can jump on the Moon. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 11(1), 43 8A50.35 The Moon What information it takes to calculate the size of the Moon. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 38(3), 179 8A50.36 The Moon's orbit How to observe the Moon's path with a cross-staff and plot its path. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 29(3), 160 8A50.38 Moonquakes Detection and analysis of moonquakes by the seismometers left on the Moon by the Apollo astronauts. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 38(9), 522 8A50.39 The Moon's offset center-of-mass Comments on the center-of -mass offset of the Moon. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 46(7),762 8A50.40 Mars 8A50.41 Mars Missions, Orbital Timing The problems, physics principles, and timing involved in a mission from Earth to Mars. See The Physics Teacher - TPT, 43(5), 293 8A50.42 Aerobraking at Mars The physics of aerobraking at Mars. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 36(3), 154 8A50.45 Mars' moons 8A50.50 Jupiter 8A50.52 Jupiter Looking at the Solar System from Jupiter's reference frame. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 35(3), 178 8A50.55 Jupiter's moons / Galilean Satellites 8A50.55 Io The volcanos on Io. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 19(6), 402 8A50.55 Europa's Ocean An exercise exploring the effect of freefall acceleration on buoyancy and waves. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 25(8), 508 8A50.55 Galileo's discovery of Jupiter's moons A look at the challenges Galileo faced during his observation of the Jovian moons. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 30(2), 103 8A50.60 Saturn 8A50.65 Saturn's Moons 8A50.65 Mimas Statistics about Mimas and the view of Saturn from Mimas. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 26(4), 207 8A50.70 Uranus 8A50.75 Uranus' Moons 8A50.80 Neptune 8A50.85 Neptune's Moons

# 8A60. Planetary Properties 3: Planetoids, Minor Objects

 PIRA # Demonstration Name Abstract 8A60.10 Pluto/Charon The history and process that resulted in Pluto's demotion from a planet to a minor object. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 45(1), 14 8A60.20 Asteroids 8A60.25 Asteroids Describes the trajectory of an asteroid as it approaches a planet of much greater mass. Values are given for Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 74(8), 717 8A60.25 Asteroids Estimates of catastrophic asteroid and comet impacts on the Earth. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 74(9), 789 8A60.25 Asteroids How asteroid or comet impacts is not the cause of and would not significantly change the eccentricity of Earth's orbit. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 71(7), 687 8A60.25 Asteroids The physics of asteroid/Earth collisions. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 40(8), 487 8A60.30 Meteorites Mass spectroscopy of meteorites. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 5(1), 5 8A60.35 Meteors "Observing" a meteors ionized trail by using radio. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 37(2), 123 8A60.40 Outer Solar System Objects 8A60.50 The Kuiper Belt 8A60.60 Extra-Solar Planets The precision it takes to detect extra-solar planets. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 39(7), 400 8A60.60 Extra-Solar Planets Teaching about data and detection of extra-solar planets by asking how our solar system would look if viewed by an observer from far away using the same detection methods. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 42(4), 208 8A60.60 Extra-Solar Planets Teaching about and helping with the search for extra-solar planets. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 39(2), 120 8A60.70 Matter from Outside Our Solar System Using cosmic rays to study matter in the galaxy outside our solar system. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 20(4), 222

# 8A70. Planetary Properties 4: Planetary Characteristics

 PIRA # Demonstration Name Abstract 8A70.05 Geological Samples Assortments of rocks, minerals, or gemstones. 8A70.10 Planetary Magnetism 8A70.10 Earth's Magnetic Field An elementary model of Earth's magnetic field capturing some features of the geodynamo. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 45(3), 168 8A70.20 Refraction/Twinkling Refer to 6A40.47 to demonstrate how observing planets and stars through the atmosphere makes them appear to twinkle. 8A70.20 Thickness of Earth's Atmosphere A method of estimating the thickness of the atmosphere by light scattering. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 71(10), 979 8A70.20 Effective Depth of Earth's Atmosphere Using "The Old Farmers Almanac" to calculate the effective depth of the atmosphere. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 35(2), 90 8A70.20 Earth's Atmosphere The interaction of radiation from the Sun and the Earth's atmosphere determines the Earth's climate. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 26(5), 266 8A70.22 Sounding Balloon Experiment Atmospheric measurements using sounding balloons. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 43(9), 578 8A70.30 Sprites Exotic lightening that takes place above thunderstorms. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 74(9), 804 8A70.40 Greenhouse Effect See 4B50.60 for demonstrations of the greenhouse effect. 8A70.45 Cloud Formation See 4B70.20 for cloud in a bottle demonstrations. 8A70.48 IR Telescope Model Construction of a simple IR telescope. 8A70.50 Gaseous Planets 8A70.50 Gaseous Planet Atmospheres Float bubbles on layers of Freon, CO2, or other heavy gases in the bottom of a fish tank. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 16(7), 490 8A70.55 Rotational Banding Rheoscopic fluid in a round bottom flask placed on a turntable will show rotational banding when turned for a few seconds. 8A70.55 Planetary Atmospheres A demonstration that can be used to explain rotational banding in planetary atmospheres. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 35(7), 391 8A70.55 Planetary Atmospheres The composition of the atmospheres of the planets and the moon Titan. How would acoustic waves travel in these atmospheres. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 40(4), 239 8A70.60 Precipitation in the Solar System Descriptions of the types of precipitation that fall on the other planets and moons in the Solar System. Some of these can be brought into the classroom. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 45(8), 502 8A70.65 Aurora Historical and detailed explanation of Earth's aurora. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 17(4), 228 8A70.65 Aurora A brief description of aurora and how to photograph them. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 44(2), 68 8A70.65 Auroral Measurements How to obtain and plot auroral data in the classroom. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 33(1), 34 8A70.70 Lightening Whistlers Ionospherice whistlers at radio frequencies. 8A70.70 Culvert Whistlers See 3B25.67 for acoustical examples, demonstrations, and comparisons to ionospheric whistlers. 8A70.75 Planetary Density Model Add abstract in Handbook.FM 8A70.78 Planetary Gravities Use pennies and soda cans to show how a can of soda would feel on different planets. Mercury = 38 pennies, Venus = 101, Earth = 1 can of soda or 100 pennies, the Moon = 12, Mars = 38, Jupiter = 293, Saturn = 119, Uranus and Neptune = 133, Pluto = 0. 8A70.80 Red Hot Ball Heat a small metal ball until it glows red hot. Watch it cool with a black and white camera or an IR camera. Observe that it still glows in the camera even though the eye can no longer see it. A match may be lit off the apparently non-glowing ball for effect. 8A70.80 Earth's Glow The Earth glows from nuclear processes in the interior. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 35(4), 230 8A70.85 Earthquakes Student participation in P-wave and S-wave demonstrations. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 16(7), 479 8A70.90 Cratering Drop ball bearings into a pan of glass beads or flour. Illuminate with a lamp from the side of the pan to provide contrast. See University of Minnesota Handbook - 8A20.30 8A70.90 Cratering Impact cratering studied in the laboratory using a marble for the meteorite, salt for the target, and a video camera to record the impact. Frame by frame analysis. See American Journal of Physics - AJP 68(8), 771 8A70.91 Cratering High speed photography and analysis of milk drops falling into coffee that can be applied to cratering. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 27(2), 118

# 8A80. Planetary Properties 5: Comets and the Search for Life

 PIRA # Demonstration Name Abstract 8A80.10 Make a Comet Add abstract in Handbook.FM 8A80.10 Ed's Comet Add abstract in Handbook.FM 8A80.20 Comet Orbit 8A80.20 Comet Orbits The erroneous view that in Newton's Principia one can find a proof that inverse-square central forces implies a conic-section orbit. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 23(1), 6 8A80.30 Halley's Comet About Halley's comet. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 22(8), 488 8A80.30 Halley's Comet Preparing to observe Halley's comet in 1986. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 15(2), 110 8A80.30 Halley's Comet Making a Halley's comet orbit model. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 23(8), 490 8A80.30 Halley's Comet Making sense of the apparent path of Halley's comet. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 23(8), 485 8A80.40 Comet Hale-Bopp A computer preview of comet Hale-Bopp. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 34(9), 558 8A80.40 Comet Hale-Bopp Photographs and data review of comet Hale-Bopp. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 35(6), 348 8A80.80 Comets Emit X-Rays Surprise, comets emit x-rays. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 35(4), 247 8A80.90 Creating Life in the Classroom Spoof the creation of life in the classroom by putting the necessary ingredients in a tank, add UV light and lightening, and voila. 8A80.95 Life on Other Planets Searching for life on other planets. What to look for. See The Physics Teacher - TPT 20(2), 90

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