Monday, November 15, 2010

Science Mondays--- stumbling onto a real shooting star, Mira

Entering my classroom I had my plans set for the week, but I wasn't sure what topic I would be teaching in 90 minutes. I knew that I wanted the students to practice taking notes from an article and I knew I would head to Science Daily , click on video, click on time & space...

And I would pick something and go from there.

Mira is a star with a tail, a Red Giant that is spewing hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen into the universe as it moves rather quickly to its future home as a White Dwarf. We have known about Mira for hundreds of years, yet we have only known about its tail for a few of them. It all has to do with how we are blessed that the atmosphere blocks so much UV light. It took a satellite mapping the universe's UV light to see the tail. Which is long, way long.

When I told my students that Mira was a variable star, many impressed me by saying "Cepheid." But I told them they were wrong and then explained to them that the universe has more variables than the Cepheids and in fact the others are called Miras.

So I stumbled upon a truly shooting star, which is planting seeds into a universe ready to create new stars and planets:


  1. that was a pretty darn cool - even got Eli's attention - not an easy task considering how burnt out he is on astronomy videos after years of me forcing them on him :}

  2. Deb--- I will take that as a huge compliment.

    Robin--- hardly, but I ain't bad.


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