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Date__________________

In Galileo's Footsteps: Tracking Sunspots

When Galileo Galilei first used his telescope to observe the Sun, he saw sunspots on the face of it.  We will make similar observations in this activity, but in a safer way.

Directions:

Day 1: Look at the image your teacher has provided of the Sun. Do you see any sunspots? On the piece of transparency material, help your teacher label the sunspots with letters. A1, B1, C1 and so on, will work just fine.

Day 2: Your teacher will show you another image of the Sun. Compare this image with the image from Day 1. Label old spots with their original letter and the number 2. Label any new spots that you see with letters different from those you used on Day 1, plus the number 2. Are all of the sunspots which were visible on Day 1 still visible? Have the sunspots changed their position from Day 1? Which way do they seem to be traveling? (There should be a guide on the sun image labeling north, south, west, and east.)

Day 3: (through Day 5): Continue your observations and proceed as on Day 2, but label the old sunspots with their initial letter plus the number 3-5, corresponding to the day number. Label any new sunspots as on Day 2. Chart your observations in the table below, and answer the questions.

Sunspots (List by Letter Plus Number)


Day 1___________________________________________________________

Day 2___________________________________________________________

Day 3___________________________________________________________

Day 4____________________________________________________________

Day 5____________________________________________________________


Answer these questions:

  1. Sunspots travel in which direction? __________________
  2. In what direction do you think the sun rotates? _________
  3. Do you think the Sun is tilted on its axis? _____________
  4. Do you think the Sun's equator and higher latitudes rotate at the same speed?_______________________
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NASA Logo Image Author: Mitzi Adams, mitzi.adams @ nasa.gov
Curator: Mitzi Adams, mitzi.adams @ nasa.gov

Last Updated: September 12, 2017