Activity: Alphabetical

Making Craters


The aim of this activity is to study the effect of changing different impact parameters on the size of crater and energy of the impact.

In this activity we will be using a specially written web application called the Impact Calculator. This has been written by the Faulkes Telescope team. You will need to have Flash Player 9 (or higher) installed for it to run in your web browser (you will be directed to download the necessary plugin, if it is not installed).

Measure the diameter of the Sun

The Sun moves across the sky at a constant rate because of the rotation of the Earth. By measuring how fast the Sun moves you can work out how big the Sun appears in the sky. All you need are some household items and about 20 minutes on a sunny day.

Measuring an exoplanet transit


After doing this activity you should be able to:

  • Use SalsaJ to do photometry for an exoplanet transit
  • Use a spreadsheet to create a light curve showing how the brightness of the target star changes over time 
  • Describe how the light curve shows that as the planet goes in front of the star it blocks some of the light
This activity, like Agent Exoplanet, allows you to use sample data to measure the change in brightness of a star as a planet passes in front of it. In this activity you will use SalsaJ, a free amateur photometry software program, to measure the brightness of the star by hand. You will then use a spreadsheet to plot your results as a graph and see if you can see your light curve.

Measuring impact craters on Earth

In this activity you will be measuring craters of different sizes on Earth which are the result of an impact from space.  The impacts causing these craters would result in a variety of climatic changes - small impacts would generally affect only the local area, whereas larger impacts could have massive changes in the global weather systems.

To begin, download Google Earth, then follow the instructions below. 

Finding and measuring impact craters

Observing Ancient Cosmic Explosions

In this project you will use data taken with the LCO network to investigate how ancient supernova remnants change over time.

Supernovae are the violent explosions of stars occurring at the end of their lives. On average, one supernova goes off every 50 years or so in our Galaxy. The enormous explosion from these stars blasts material out into the surroundings at very high speeds, sweeping up the surrounding gas into  a giant bubble.  This is known as a supernova remnant.   The shell (or bubble) shines at many different wavelengths, and is very bright in the X-ray because the material from the explosion is very hot. Different things are happening in different wavelengths; when we

Observing Asteroids, NEOs and Comets


This project involves observing asteroids that are known and ones which have uncertain orbits and are in need of confirmation.


Asteroids, also known as Minor Planets or Planetoids, are a class of astronomical object generally used to describe a diverse group of small bodies that drift around the Solar System in orbit around the Sun. A near-Earth object (NEO) is a Solar System object whose orbit brings it into close proximity with the Earth.

Play Bingo with Charles Messier


During the game you'll see lots of different types of objects. Follow the links in the this activity to find out more about the types of object.

Charles Messier lived in Paris in the 18th century. He wanted to become famous by discovering comets. When he looked through his telescope he often re-discovered objects which were already known and were not comets. So he didn't waste time, each time he found an object that did not move in the sky he catalogued it.

There are 110 objects in the catalogue. I've selected 40 of the best examples taken with the LCOGT network and made a Messier Bingo game out of them.

Plotting Supernova light curves

Introductory information

For this activity, you will be measuring the intensity of the comparison star and supernova in the data files for the galaxy M100. These are labelled in the image below:

Solar System Taboo

Cut out the name cards for objects in the Solar System and hand them out to the students.  Ask the students to try and describe the object given at the top of the card, but without using the 3 words underneath. (This game is based upon the popular board game, Taboo, and has been amended from the association for astronomy education website where more astronomy resources can be found - )

Star in a Box

  • Describe the relationship between a star's mass and its life span
  • State that stars above a certain mass end their lives in a supernova
  • Name the stages of a star's life-cycle, in order, for several masses of star.
  • Describe the relationship between a star's mass, its age, and its position on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram

Have you ever wondered what happens to the different stars in the night sky as they get older? This activity lets you explore the life-cycle of stars.