Making a solar projector with your kids – NASA solar studies – Technology side effects of the eclipse [As Heard on WGIR – NH Today]

On This Episode…
Hey, we’re going to be talking about a few really cool tech things about the solar eclipse, some things you may not have realized are going on.

And also, I’m going to describe how to observe it with your kids for about, well probably, free. I bet you have all of these parts around your house. All of this right now with Jack Heath this morning.

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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.

Airing date: 08/21/2017

Making a Solar Projector with your Kids – NASA Solar Studies – Technology Side Effects of Eclipse


Craig Peterson: Hey why didn’t the sun go to college? Because it already had a million degrees. Hey, we’re going to be talking about a few really cool tech things about the solar eclipse, some things you may not have realized are going on. And also, I’m going to describe how to observe it with your kids for about, well probably, free. I bet you have all of these parts around your house. All of this right now with Jack Heath this morning.

Jack Heath: Joining us now in the Auto Fair listener lines, one of our regular contributors. Our Tech Talk guy, Craig Peterson, joins us on the Auto Fair listener lines. Craig, good morning. Good morning sir. How are you?

Craig: Good morning. Doing well. Bright day out today.

Jack: It is. Are you excited? Are you into this? There’s got to be some good tech angles on this solar eclipse mania or, you know, phenomenon.

Craig: Yeah. I remember my first solar eclipse back in 1970 that I observed. I made a little box. It’s called a pinhole camera, and you can make one of these with your kids. And it pretty simple. You can take a shoebox, or almost any box, and all you need is a piece of aluminum foil. So you cut a hole in one side. Put the foil over the top of that hole. Put a little pinhole into that foil. Now you got a little pinhole. Then on the opposite side of the box on the inside, you put a little sheet of white paper. That’s all you have to do. Then you take that what’s now a pinhole camera and you’re going to point it at the sun. You’re going to put the kid’s head inside. The kid’s going to be able to observe inside on that white piece of paper on the back of the box. He’s going to be able to observe the sun and see the eclipse happen. So that’s one experiment you can do with your kids. As I said, I was about 10 years old at the time. And I still remember to this day making that camera, watching it.

Another thing you can do with your kids, and this only happens during a solar eclipse, and that is something that’s called shadow snakes. Now these are bands of alternating shadow and light. So if you have some big pieces of white paper, or really any sort of a plain colored surface. And you, right during the during the eclipse, just before and after you watch this, you’ll see the shadow bands, Now these aren’t, it’ll look like little snakes dancing all over the place. You’re not going to see that very well up here in New Hampshire. There is no place in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, a little bit of, one of your guests earlier indicated that there would be better view up north which is not the case at all. New Hampshire, 60% is the most we’d get. The further north you get in New Hampshire, the worse the eclipse will be. Northern New Hampshire is only going to see about a 50% eclipse.

Jack: Oh, ok.

Craig: But the eclipse you have, the more likely you’re able to see these shadow bands. They’re very, very cool. So there’s a couple of things there that you can do with your kids that I think will be fun. I remembered it for decades. Myself back in 1970 being up at, actually at that time, I was up in, pretty much, northern Alberta back then Jack. So it’s really cool. Another thing that you’re going to have a hard time measuring, but because you’ve got the alignment of the earth, the moon, and the sun. And remember that we have this thing called gravity. And the moon causes the tides, right? So you might be wondering is this interaction going to cause anything. And indeed it will. There are going to be some gravitational effects as well that are happening during this total solar eclipse. The Earth’s crust is going to bulge upwards by about 40 mm, which is why it’s going to be hard to measure. But for a thousand kilometers, so about 600 miles the area over, I mean the eclipse is going to be, 100% eclipse. So as you’re watching the solar eclipse today, you know, imagine you’re standing on ground that’s probably about 20 or 30 mm closer to the sun, if you’re here in New Hampshire, and 40 mm closer if you’re down south.

Now, you know I have an advanced class ham license as well, right? Amateur radio license. And so as part of that, I’ve had a lot of fun over the years using, kind of a bounce effect in order to talk to different people in different parts of the world, and that’s caused by the ionosphere, and the sun’s charging the ionosphere. Now there’s a lot of things we don’t know about the ionosphere you know. Initially we thought that some of the CFCs that were in our sprays and in our air-conditioners were destroying it. It turns out that’s not true at all. We were totally wrong and you know. We won’t go there right now. But what NASA is doing right now is they’ve worked with about 40 different schools. And they’ve put weather satellites that are going up into the upper atmosphere today during the solar eclipse. And NASA, as part of this, has sent a little package out to these schools, that has bacteria on it. And this bacteria was actually found down by the Kennedy launching pad, where we sent up rockets for all those years.

Jack: Right.

Craig: And it’s very, very resistant to almost everything including radiation. So they send along with the weather balloon and all of the other observational equipment some little pieces of metal that had on them this bacteria, this hardened bacteria. They want to see what happens when it gets up into extremely thin atmosphere without, you know, the normal radiation from the sun. And basically what they’re doing, Jack, is they’re looking at it saying what happened on Mars?

Jack: Yeah. Well that’s a little abstract for me. I’m just focused on, look Craig, I’m old school. I kinds of enjoy the height of a good old nor’easter snowstorm. That kind of… I, you know, a couple hours where it’s just coming down, you know, 2 or 3 inches per hour or more, and the winds. I tend to like that but I think this can be pretty cool. You know it is, I guess what, 99 years since we’ve had coast-to-coast, you know, something of the degree. We’re having it may be 60% at the height of it so I guess it’s pretty cool. Craig Peterson. Check out his stuff That’s with an Craig will catch you again real soon. Thank you.

Craig: Alright and have fun today with the solar eclipse.

Jack: Yeah, if I’d notice it. No, I’m kidding.

Craig: If you haven’t already subscribed, go online Talk to you a little bit later. We’re going to come out with our Saturday’s production later on today. We want to get the solar eclipse special out right away. Take care. Have a great day.

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