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Summer SAVY 2018: Session 5, Day 2 – Stellar Astronomy (Rising 5th/6th)

Posted by on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 in Grade 5, Grade 6, SAVY.

Today in Stellar Astronomy, we did a mixture of lecture and lab!

The start of our day was all about basic stellar evolution where I showed pictures of various stages of star lifetimes. These pictures, as I had hoped, really got students thinking and asking questions!
First we start with clouds of gas and dust (Statue of Liberty Nebula, Mystic Mountain (in the Carina Nebula), Fox Fur Nebula, Bubble Nebula, Eagle Nebula)
that form more and more stars (cluster NGC 2244 in the Rosette Nebula) and then will eventually form star clusters (open cluster: the Pleiades and globular cluster: NGC 6093 (Messier 80)). Once a star cluster is formed, then it may dissipate or it may stay together – we’ll be talking more about that later this week. We’ll also be seeing images of planetary nebula and supernova remnants.

During our discussion, students were very interested in terms I used like “light years” (and thinking about light travel time) and the size of our galaxy – 100,000 light year diameter, wait, it’s 200,000 light years in diameter! See this press release from the Institute for Astrophysics in the Canary Islands!! Science is awesome!
Anyway, we also talked about habitable zones when the Sun becomes a red giant (a topic discussed yesterday).

After lunch, we really went for it with stars and stellar evolution. We went to the computer lab (though started in a lecture hall). We started talking about HR diagrams (more about those later this week) and then went to a website to start doing some research with stellar evolution! We’ll finish it tomorrow.
Digital Demo Room Stars and Stellar Evolution
– With upgraded videos at Illinois Astrophysical Dynamics Demonstrations

For those who want it (we’ll talk lots more about it later this week), here’s that image of the 100 planetary nebulae

Dr. G

Your Silly SAVY Students on Our Field Trip