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DIY Sun Science

The DIY Sun Science app (for iPhones and iPads) allows families and educators to investigate and learn about the Sun at home, at school, or anywhere you go! The app provides 13 free, easy to use, hands-on activities, plus image, videos, and much more! Each activity includes material lists, step-by-step instructions, and detailed explanations. The activity materials are widely available and inexpensive, and you probably have many of them in your own home. The free app is available for iOS 6.1.3 and above.

Activities

Photos

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    Two large solar prominences extend about 20 Earth diameters away from the Sun in March 2003. Taken by the SOHO spacecraft. Image courtesy of SOHO consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

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    Record of sunspots published in 1612 by Christoph Scheiner, a Jesuit mathematician. Image from Scheiner’s "Tres Epistolae".

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    A coronal mass ejection, many times the size of the Earth, begins to erupt on the Sun in the upper-left side of the image. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    Arching plasma and magnetic loops are erupting above an active region of the Sun in late 2012. Viewed in extreme ultraviolet light by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    An unusually large group of sunspots taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in July 2013. These sunspots have the potential to release larege solar flares. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    A large solar prominence, composed of ionized gas, can be seen here erupting from the Sun. Taken in October 2012 by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    Observations of the Sun at different wavelengths, including visual and ultraviolet light. The white lines on the right indicate magnetic fields. Taken in December 2011 by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    Each line is a spicule – a tube of hot gas longer than the Earth and as wide as a state. Magnetic fields create these pipe-like structures, each filled with hot plasma moving at about 50,000 kilometers per hour. Image courtesy of Kevin Reardon, National Solar Observatory/Dunn Solar Telescope with the Interferometric Bidimensional Spectrometer (IBIS).

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    Ultraviolet images of the Sun, taken two years apart. Notice how many more flares, coronal loops, and other activity there are in the image on the right. Image courtesy of NASA/SOHO.

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    Young sunspots just starting to grow in early 2013. Taken by the Solary Dynamics Observatory. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    In the summer of 1612, Galileo made drawings of sunspots which were published in Istoria e Dimostrazioni Intorno Alle Macchie Solari e Loro Accidenti Rome (History and Demonstrations Concerning Sunspots and their Properties).

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    The scale bar indicates 10 million meters, or about twice the size of the United States. The computer simulation was created by scientists at NCAR and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany.

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    A coronal mass ejection, many times the size of the Earth, begins to erupt on the Sun. Taken in August 2012 by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    A solar flare erupts on the Sun, seen as the bright spot on the upper-left side of the Sun. Taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in May 2013. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    A solar flare erupts on the Sun, seen as the bright spot on the right side of the Sun. Taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in July 2012. Image courtesy of NASA/SDO.

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    A number of coronal mass ejections were observed in April 2013. Most of these came from the left side of the Sun, which is covered up by the black circle so that we can see the fainter area surrounding the Sun. Image courtesy of NASA/STEREO.

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Videos

Related Planetarium Shows

Credits

This work was supported by NASA under award number NNX10AE05G. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these programs are those of the author and do not reflect the views of NASA.

Related Science Kit

In the AfterSchool KidzScience Sunlight Science Kit, children discover visible and invisible parts of sunlight by doing engaging activities to investigate infrared light, visible light, and ultraviolet light. For grades 3–5.