Solar Observing

Observing Our Sun

There are many very good resources for understanding our sun and solar observing specifically.  Some of our favorite links are listed below.

Basic  Solar Information - Elementary Level

 Kids Astronomy - Sun     This website has facts about the sun, planets, asteroids and comets that is appropriate for the younger student. Website has a interactive Make a Solar System in which students can see a small visual model of our solar system.

StarChild Home Page   A site for the young astronomer developed by Starchild group at NASA. Web site has solar system, universe, and space stuff choices for students to explore. Two knowledge levels are included on the website for young elementary as well as intermediate or middle school student.

Sun Tour    Yohkoh Public Outreach Project tour has multiple pages that take you on a journey of the sun with optional side trips to increase knowledge on specific content.

Stanford Solar Center    Stanford Solar Center has information about what is happening at present on the sun. Other links from this home page give background information for teachers as well as activities and "ask the scientist questions"  for students.

Beyond the Basics - More Solar Information 

Solar Spectral Lines - CA, K and H Alpha  If you need basic information about the solar spectrum or need more background about images of the sun taken with specialized filters, this is an easy to understand place to start.

Nick Strobel's Astronomy Notes  If you are looking for a lot of detail and great supporting graphic for your study of the sun, start here.  At the top of the page there is a link to an index for this chapter of the notes, "The Sun- The Closest Star"

Limb Darkening  The edge of images of the sun appear darker than than the centers.  The explanation for this phenomena is tricky but provides us with important information about our nearest star.  This site starts off general.  Keep reading if you want the explanation in all its mathematical glory.

Energy Producing Reactions in the Sun  If you want to go beyond a simple explanation of hydrogen fusing to form helium in your explanation for where the sun gets all that energy, then click here.  This site covers everything from production of energy to how it is distributed and what effects that movement of energy has on the features we observe.

The Wobbling Sun  As we orbit the Sun, it appears to wobble as seen from Earth.  You need to be aware of this if you are going to make long term observations of the sun.

Cross Curricular Links

Sun Song  AstroCappella's Sun Song online and lyrics  Click here for more songs from AstroCapella.

Solar Folklore  A collection of stories about the sun from ten different cultures around the world.

Lyrics "Why Does the Sun Shine?"  "They Might Be Giants" mash solar song.  Even freshman will sing it.  Single recordings available.

Solar Observing - Ground-based

Big Bear Solar Observatory  Images, information, project descriptions and data available at this site

Virtual Tour of McMath-Pierce  Great resource page for the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope. 

National Solar Observatory  Links to Kitt Peak Telescopes, Sacramento Peak, Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, GONG and SOLIS


Solar Observing - Space-based Missions

NASA Solar Missions List  Complete list of all the heliophysics and solar observing missions directed by NASA at this time

SOHO  Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Home Page

TRACE Mission  Transition Region and Coronal Explorer Home Page 

Yohkoh Mission  This is a cooperative mission between Japan and the US to explore the Sun in X-ray and gamma rays.