I have a lecture about the Sun – during my presentation, I show this video from the NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory – the audience never fails to =gasp!= or =wooh!= when they see this! I showed this to a classroom full of 90 3rd grade students, and their eyes nearly popped out of their heads!
I show a couple other video too, like this one showing beautiful Coronal Loops:
and this one, showing a very active region of the Sun:
The SDO website has “The Sun Now” – a section that shows the Sun in near real-time, in several different frequencies. The images below are live from the SDO site:
You can also create your own movies of the Sun from the SDO site! Go HERE, pick your desired date range, select a frequency, select a resolution, select movie download, and submit. The movies below were created from data between Jan 18-23, 2015:
My wife brought home a Science text book from a well-known publisher (who shall remain nameless) to evaluate for use in her classroom – I immediately opened to the single page(!) on the sun: 50% of that page was 2 pretty pictures, 1/4 had a table, the other 1/4 has 2 paragraphs of light, fluffy “information.” There was nothing about how the sun is 99.86% of all the mass in the solar system, nothing about its composition, nothing about magnetic fields, flares, prominences, CMEs – and they got the core temperature wrong! How are teachers supposed to teach this stuff, if they don’t know the subject material that well, and have awful resources to work with?
“Isn’t the Sun just a big ball of fire?”
A few years ago, my 40mm PST (personal solar telescope) needed repairs; I took it to the local post office to ship it to Meade.
Clerk: Would you like this insured?
Clerk: What’s in the box?
Me: A solar telescope.
Clerk: A what? What’s there the see on the Sun? Isn’t the Sun just a big ball of fire?
It was shortly after this I started working on my lecture about the Sun…
SOLARACTIVITY is an active Facebook group dealing with Solar observing and events: I’m doing what I can: I lecture about the Sun, and have done 2 summer-long Sunday-morning Solar observing outreach events. Teaching about the Sun – and giving it the respect it deserves, is one of the many issues I’d like to tackle in the Warren Astronomical Society’s Astronomy Education Special Interest Group that I’m in the process of forming.
Watch other SDO videos on The SDO YouTube Channel.