Since it is the goal of this site to educate readers about the solar
maximum, we offer the following list of resources for educators to
use in their classrooms. Live data, exciting graphics, and interesting
lesson plans should all be useful for teachers who want their students
to learn about the solar/sunspot cycle and solar maximum.
Sites Providing Lesson Plans and Activities
Sites Providing Live or Latest Data
Solarscapes Yearly Mean Sunspot Numbers Activity (PDF file)
By completing this activity, students find what pattern(s) emerge
when sunspot numbers are plotted over a period of time.
Activity Cycles of Other Stars
In this activity, students will plot actual data obtained by
astronomers which indicate how bright the so-called Calcium H and
K lines are.
Learning Cycle Lesson Plan -- Sunspots
Students using this activity will look at a timeplot and calculate
mean value to determine the sunspot cycle.
Measuring Solar Activity
Students learn to recognize common structures in the images,
patterns in five years' worth of images by making graphs, patterns
in 250 years' worth of data, comparing to graphs of Part Two, make
predictions about the future, recognize spatial relationships by
comparing simultaneous images made in different wavelengths, and
make testable predictions about the observable Sun.
Seeing the Sun in a New Light
"From Stargazers to Starships" offers a lesson plan on features of the
Sun's corona, observed from spacecraft in the extreme ultra violet (EUV)
and in x-rays, including coronal holes and coronal mass ejections (CME).
This section also discusses related phenomena in interplanetary space and on Earth.
Solar Cycle Exercise
This activity has students spreadsheet program to plot the average
number of sunspots in a year.
Solar Irradiance and Solar Activity Cycles
This activity for grades 9-12 helps students learn about the solar
cycle and its relationship to solar irradiance.
Solar Minimum/Solar Maximum Exercise
Students use a spreadsheet program to look at the number of
sunspots observed on days in 1986 and 1989.
- Solar Storms and You! Activities (grades 7-9)
Solar Activity and Coronal Mass Ejections
In this activity, students will construct a graph to compare
the sunspot cycle with Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).
Sunspot Activity and Ocean Temperatures
Students will analyze and compare two graphs to determine if there
is a correlation between solar activity and ocean temperature.
Sunspot Activity on Other Stars
Students will analyze and compare stellar activity graphs to
determine how similar or different they are to the solar sunspot
The Sunspot Cycle
The student will create a list and construct a graph of the number
of sunspots using both technology and paper. The student will
explore patterns in the data and locate the maximum and the
Sunspots and Solar Activity
A part of the BLACKOUT! pages from POETRY, this page outlines
the basics of sunspot plotting and solar rotation.
Sunspots and Solar Storms
This lesson plan allows students to explore the solar cycle by
counting sunspots and finding patterns in plots of sunspot
numbers, then forecasting the strength of the next cycle.
- Thursday's Classroom Issues
The issue from March 9, 2000, discusses solar activity, the solar cycle,
and the upcoming solar maximum.
Happy Birthday, Galileo
The issue from February 3, 2000, deals with Galileo's legacy, including
The issue from January 6, 2000, introduces students to space weather, the
phenomenon that will become more obvious at solar maximum.
The issue from October 14, 1999, has information and activites about
the most obvious feature of the Sun.
Sites Providing Educational Images
Current Solar Images
A page of the latest available images from SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory)
Extreme-Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) and Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI),
the Yohkoh Soft X-ray Telescope, the U.S. National Solar Observatory at Kitt Peak,
the U.S. National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, and the High Altitude
Observatory Mauna Loa Solar Observatory.
SOHO Latest Images
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory team generates this daily index of pages of
the latest solar images both from its satellite and from other observatories around
the world. Radioheliograms, H-alpha images, magnetograms, and Calcium II images are
available, among others.
Space Environment Center Solar Image Index
An index of hundreds of solar images, by date. Mostly H-alpha and white light
images and magnetograms with a few others.
Space Weather Today
This page from Windows to the Universe gives current solar images (SOHO/EIT, Yohkoh,
coronameter, magnetogram, white light, Ca II, H-alpha, etc.), measurements of
geomagnetic activity (Kp, interplanetary magnetic
field strength, solar wind speed, etc.), and up-to-date views of the
aurora from the Polar satellite.
ISTP Real-Time Monitoring Page
Designed for scientists, this page has links to nearly every satellite and program
producing Sun-Earth connections data and images, including all of the above. An
version of the page (fewer links and more explanation) is also available.
Butterfly Diagram with Flares and CMEs
This image shows the "butterfly diagram," a figure that tracks the location
of sunspots during the solar cycle, resulting in a pattern that resembles a
butterfly's wings as the sunspots migrate equatorward on the Sun near solar
The Changing Sun
Yohkoh soft x-ray images taken over nearly a solar cycle show the startling
difference in the appearance of the Sun between solar minimum (the dark, inactive
Sun on the right) and solar maximum (the bright Sun on the left covered with active
Highly Disturbed Auroral Oval During 1989 Storm
This Dynamics Explorer satellite image shows the southern auroral oval during
the great geomagnetic storm of March 1989 (solar maximum period). Note the
enormous size of the oval.
Solar Maximum Collage
A large collage of images dealing in some way with the solar cycle or maximum:
the butterfly diagram, changing suns, the solar cycle diagram, the Solar Maximum
Mission satellite, and the Little Ice Age during the Maunder Minimum, among others.
The Sun and Corona through the Solar Cycle
A look at the outer atmosphere of the Sun -- the corona -- in this image shows
definite (but usually invisible) changes throughout the solar cycle at the
same time as the surface of the Sun changes visibly.
The Sun in H-Alpha with Sunspot Cycle
This image combines changes in the Sun's appearance in H-alpha with a graph of
the Wolf sunspot number, number of sunspot groups, and auroral observations.
Brought to you by the
International Solar-Terrestrial Physics Program and
Web Design and Development: Theresa Valentine
Last Modified: 8/3/00