Astronomy students spent a few minutes outside collecting data for measuring the sun’s diameter. They projected an image of the sun onto mm graph paper and measured the image’s diameter. They knew how far apart the pinhole was from the image. They were also given the distance to the sun. Using the properties of similar triangles they were able to calculate an approximate diameter of the sun. Today’s value was 1.2 million km. Not bad given our method!
As we start our unit on eclipses I try to take the Astronomy students outside for a 5 minute field trip on a clear sunny day. We all don solar eclipse glasses and take a look at the sun. Most are amazed to see how small the actual disk is in the sky. They are much better able to understand how the Moon and the Sun occupy the same space in the sky and how the Moon could eclipse the sun. I had the glasses made in 2012 for the transit of Venus so they are in our school colors and even have our mascot on the temple.