Hands On Physics
More of the Story:
(For previous installments of the story, look at the introduction
and inital investigations )
The core activity of this unit is the construction of a Sun Photometer.
- Measure the Sun's extraterrestrial constant, the signal the instrument
would indicate if you were able to fly the Space Shuttle and point it at
the Sun during a space walk. You will do this, of course, without leaving
the ground. You will use the same method which scientists with the Smithsonian
Institution first used in the 1880's, even though they were unable to prove
that their measurements were correct until rockets first carried Sun photometers
- Measure changes in the clarity of a column through the atmosphere
(the aerosol optical depth) caused by smog, haze, smoke, dust, wispy clouds,
fog and volcanic haze. You can do this over the course of a day. Or you
can do it at the same time every day for a year or more and help scientists
better understand the annual cycle of haze where you live.
- Measure the light transmission of water, leaves and other materials
at about 525 nm.
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