Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Magnifying the Sun

We are starting Exploring Creation with Astronomy for another taste of science. (I was a science major & just can't get enough!) I just ordered the book, so we are using the free on-line chapter, Chapter 2 - The Sun, while waiting for it to arrive.

Our first experiment was to go outside with a magnifying glass and make a small circle of light on a leaf to heat it up. The book said this experiment was best done during summer. Well, I didn't have high hopes of anything spectacular happening. I honestly thougth we might see a little bit of browning on the leaf, but that was about all.

Alexandra held the leaf while I carefully aimed the sun with my magnifying glass. I was so surprised when she screamed, dropped the leaf, and jumped up! I thought I must have burned her! But, she had just been startled. The leaf had smoked and there was a hole burnt all the way through!

After I realized my daughter wasn't injured, I decided to have some more fun. :-) I kept burning & burning leaves. (And, I realized how dangerous this could be! Thankfully, my daugther was more scared of it than ready to try it on somebody's skin.) I even started burning pictures.

Alexandra finally got brave enough to see if she could burn a hole in a leaf, and with a little help, she was able to do it on her own. We were both amazed at how powerful the sun is when concentrated like that! And, it's also a good reminder of why you shouldn't look directly at the sun. Your lens in your eye is just like that magnifying glass! And, your retina doesn't have pain receptors and can be damaged and you can be blinded by looking directly at the sun.

We read the book, About Space (We Both Read) by Jana Carson - we're enjoying these books. It wasn't really just about the sun, of course, but I wanted to add it to the blog somewhere as we're starting to study more astronomy.

1 comment:

Robin said...

This is another one of yours that I want to try now... but I'll have to wait til summer, it's awfully cold here in Virginia, still.

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