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Collaborative Group Activities

AstronomyCollaborative Group Activities

  1. Have your group make a list of all the electromagnetic wave technology you use during a typical day.
  2. How many applications of the Doppler effect can your group think of in everyday life? For example, why would the highway patrol find it useful?
  3. Have members of your group go home and “read” the face of your radio set and then compare notes. If you do not have a radio, research “broadcast radio frequencies” to find answers to the following questions. What do all the words and symbols mean? What frequencies can your radio tune to? What is the frequency of your favorite radio station? What is its wavelength?
  4. If your instructor were to give you a spectrometer, what kind of spectra does your group think you would see from each of the following: (1) a household lightbulb, (2) the Sun, (3) the “neon lights of Broadway,” (4) an ordinary household flashlight, and (5) a streetlight on a busy shopping street?
  5. Suppose astronomers want to send a message to an alien civilization that is living on a planet with an atmosphere very similar to that of Earth’s. This message must travel through space, make it through the other planet’s atmosphere, and be noticeable to the residents of that planet. Have your group discuss what band of the electromagnetic spectrum might be best for this message and why. (Some people, including noted physicist Stephen Hawking, have warned scientists not to send such messages and reveal the presence of our civilization to a possible hostile cosmos. Do you agree with this concern?)
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