Could you give suggestions for High School science fair projects that involves real astronomical data ?

Here are some interesting archives of astronomical data. Many of these have 'form interfaces' where you will be asked to specify coordinates, times, dates and the kind of parameter you want to have plotted by the Java software. A little practice will let you explore many different satellite data bases and theoretical models. They will download raw date, or plots, from which you can explore the many different parameters of a specific physical process or astronomical phenomenon. What you choose to 'do' with this data is limited only by your scientific curiosity and imagination...Go for it!

  1. CDAWEB at NASA/Goddard
  2. HENA Ring Current
  3. IMAGE/FUC - Auroral Oval
  4. ACE solar wind speed,density,magnetism
  5. Aurora power (select FTP Site)
  6. solar images/sunspots/multi wavelength
  7. Lunar phases 1117 to 2730 A.D.
  8. Solar/Geophysical data archives
  9. solar eclipses 1999 B.C to 4000 AD
  10. Sloan Digital Sky Survey
  11. Palomar Digitized Sky Survey
  12. 2MASS images
  13. Extragalactic Objects catalog
  14. NGC/Messier/IC catalogues
  15. HESARC archive
  16. Near Earth Asteroids plots/orbits/catalog
  17. Hipparcos Star Atlas
  18. Pulsar Catalog
  19. Sunspot Numbers 1755-today
  20. Gamma Ray Bursts seen by BeppoSax satellite
  21. Gamma Ray Bursts seen by CGRO/BATSE
  22. Planet scale model calculator
  23. Planet calculator - heliocentric
  24. Solar System viewer (Orrery)
  25. Sky Viewer

Here are some suggestions that involve hands-on tinkering and building various kinds of apparatus. These would probably work for students in Grade 11 who are handy in building things...and getting them to actually work (unlike the way that I was when I was in High School ;> )

Electromagnetic sounds from Earth. (Advanced)

The earth produces lots of electromagnetic phenomena which can be detected near the ground of you have the right equipment. You can hear some of them by visiting the 'Space Sounds' link on the POETRY main page. With simple equipment you can build, you can create a monitoring station for many kinds of Very Low Frequency radio noises that accompany distant lightning storms, auroral activity and disturbances in the earth's magnetic field. Visit the INSPIRE home page for details.

Variable star studies. (Advanced)

Variable star studies are also extremely popular. Check out magazines such as Sky and Telescope or Astronomy for lists of candidate stars that might be of interest to monitor over the course of a few days or weeks. One popular star is Algol which changes several magnitudes in brightness within a few days.

Lunar Occultations of Stars. (Advanced)

Lunar occultations, or occultations of stars by planets is also a very interesting line of research. Many amateur astronomers are members of national and international networks who carefully determine the eclipse times using their telescopes and accurate time keeping clocks from various locations around the world. Contact a local chapter of an amateur astronomy society for more details. If you search YAHOO under amateur astronomy you will find many listed.

Jupiter study with a telescope. (Advanced)

You can also try your hand at keeping track of features on Jupiter which change from week to week throughout the Jovian 12-year, year.


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