Much of astronomy is particularly visual including the concepts of apparent magnitude and absolute magnitude.
The idea of using the strength of the wind a fan produces to represent the star's luminosity as the student stands at various distances from the fan seemed to work well with my students. This is somewhat similar to the use of the fan in the Phases of the Moon active model (as in the Phases of the Moon Interactive mode).
Students will compare the apparent magnitiude and absolute magnitude of our Sun and Sirius, a very luminous star that is 8.3 light years away.
This activity should be completed after introducing absolute and apparent magnitude or could even be used to introduce these concepts.
- star - a large celestial body that is composed of gas and that emits light
- luminosity - the actual brightness of an object such as a star
- absolute magnitude - a measure of how bright a star would be if it were seen from a standard distance
- apparent magnitude - he brightness of a star as seen from Earth