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Summer SAVY 2018: Session 5, Day 3 – Stellar Astronomy (Rising 5th/6th)

Posted by on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 in Grade 5, Grade 6, SAVY blog.

Another mind-blowing day!

We began our day looking at the rather wacky order of stellar spectral classes – OBAFGKM – and so generated mnemonic devices to help remember the order.  A rather standard one is “Oh Be A Fine Girl/Guy, Kiss Me” but you should talk to your student to see what they came up with (or what they remember)!

After those laughs, we went to the computer lab to work on our stellar evolution computer simulations again.  Students enjoyed their movies and also learning about how astronomers speak and use evidence.

During the afternoon, we were going to talk about the awesomeness of light but we really needed to discuss black holes.  Thus, we had a lively interlude (that ended up being more than an hour long!) talking about why black holes are the way they are and how space-time curvature describes them so well.
– Students asked about how elements are made so we looked at this: Periodic Table of Nucleosynthesis
Video helping describe a bit about black holes
Supercomputer simulation of black hole merger
– The LIGO page (merging black holes and neutron stars and gravitational waves)

We ended the day starting to talk about the awesomeness of light after all and using diffraction gratings to split the light into different colors.  If you’re interested, here are some double-axis (and Symphony Diffraction Grating glasses and some single-axis ones.  We also started looking at absorption (using filters) and then some emission tubes.  Anyway, we’ll continue our study of how light can inform us of the composition of most anything in the Universe tomorrow!

-Dr. G

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