Motivating Observations / Questions About Explosions
Overview: Students observe terrestrial explosions, and generate questions about how they are similar to and different from supernova explosions.
Physical resources: None
Electronic resources: cannon video, X-ray image of Cas A, Cas A radio movie, images of various SNRs
- Students observe images or movies of "exploding" things here on Earth and in space:
- Students record observations about each, and share important similarities, differences and questions raised.
- All students read supernova "expert group" wiki to gain some familiarity with SNR.
- Show grid of 3-color X-ray images of many different supernova remnants, snrs (PDF).
- Students record similarities/differences/questions on board. Possible questions:
- Why would something astronomical blow up (Could motivate review of end of stellar lifetime)?
- How could you tell what kind of explosion made this?
- What used to be there before the explosion?
- What will it look like in the future?
- How fast does the expansion take place?
- Discussion of relative sizes in the galaxy, including a mathematical method of how to compare the sizes of objects
- Try to steer questions / observations toward those things students can actually observe, given their CAI experience: flux, angular size, color, spectrum, etc.
Assessment ideas: None