Includes #46 from Homeschool.com’s Great Summer Resource: 101 Things To Do This Summer list!
Never look at the sun directly—we all know that important warning. But if we can’t look at the sun, how can we know what our very own star really looks like? The new DIY Sun Science app for iPad and iPhone, funded by NASA and created by UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, lets kids and adults safely explore the sun’s ever-changing appearance (# 46 of Homeschool.com’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list—learn about the sun!) and investigate the sun just like a scientist.
How to Look at The Sun Safely
With this app, you can construct a solar oven to melt s’mores (#30 on the list), discover the sun’s dynamic features like sunspots, use a prism to examine the spectrum of sunlight, and detect solar storms that affect Earth’s technology. You can also measure the sun’s size from the Earth, design a UV detector to see how the sun’s ultraviolet
light can make things glow, and discover how solar gases rise, cool and sink like air does in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Plus, the DIY Sun Science app includes live images and videos from NASA space missions such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Want to soak up more sun fun? The DIY Sun Science app builds off of Howtosmile.org’s popular digital library for hands-on STEM activities. You can check out 170 Howtosmile.org sun science activities from NASA and other sources.
“Nearly all life on Earth depends on the sun. The sun’s energy is critical to human existence, from the food we eat to energy we use to power our societies and economies,” says Chris Keller, who managed the app’s development. “The Sun is constantly changing, and some solar events can damage the technology we desperately depend on. That makes understanding our Sun and being able to predict these destructive solar events more critical than ever.”
DIY Sun Science is the second DIY app from the Lawrence Hall of Science, following DIY Nano, which lets anyone investigate how nanotechnology can affect our future, with topics ranging from inventions of medicine to how gravity affects tiny objects. Another free app you can download for summer learning!
Deborah Lee Rose is a writer/editor at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence of Science and helped create the free DIY Sun Science App. She is also the communications specialist for Howtosmile.org.