Sun-earth Day, April 27, 2001
NASA promotes radiant relationship
NASA Langley Research Center invites "bright" students to
explore the complex relationship between our world and its closest
star, the sun. Sun-Earth Day, April 27, is a national celebration
of the sun and the space around the globe (geospace) reflecting on
how the relationship affects life on Earth.
In southeastern Virginia, classrooms will make the Sun-Earth
connection through two NASA Langley outreach programs. Students
On-Line Atmospheric Research (SOLAR) and Students' Cloud
Observations On-Line (S'COOL) have science activities for schools
April 23 - 27. Sun angle measurements from this week are being
entered into an Internet-accessible data table where students can
compare their observations with other entries from around the
SOLAR introduces students and teachers to one of NASA's major
satellite-based programs designed to study the Earth's atmosphere,
the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III). S'COOL
is part of NASA's Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System
(CERES) satellite experiment. Both programs are led and based at
Langley Research Center.
CERES researchers are training students worldwide to observe
clouds and enter their data into a NASA computer. The
students observations are compared to those from orbiting
CERES instruments. For Sun-Earth Day, CERES students will add sun
angle and temperature measurements to their cloud observations.
These will be cross-referenced to the Sun-Earth Day data table so
students can compare temperature with solar elevation. Researchers
can accurately calculate the total solar energy if they know the
sun's elevation angle.
In addition to sun angle readings, SOLAR students measure light
intensity with a sun photometer. This is similar to the satellite
instrument used in the SAGE III experiment; both view the sun
through the Earth's atmosphere to determine the atmosphere's
Over 1,000 schools participate in the S'COOL and SOLAR programs
worldwide. Students make observations and enter data from every
continent except Antarctica.
Sun-Earth Day 2001 is sponsored by NASA's Sun-Earth Connection
Education Forum, the joint European Space Agency (ESA)-NASA Solar
and Heliospheric Observatory Mission, and The Astronomical League
-- sponsors of National Astronomy Day.
For more on-line information about Sun-Earth Day, SCOOL
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