Spot the Sunspots


Spot the Sunspots

In this activity, learners use binoculars (or a telescope) to identify and track sunspots. If using binoculars, learners need a pair that can be secured on a tripod. Specific information is also provided on the size of binoculars. At the end of the activity, learners have the option of comparing their conclusions with real time images of the Sun showing (or not showing) sunspots from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite. Step-by-step instructions are included with photos. This activity needs a sunny day. Activity guide includes a “What’s going on?” explanation and connections to relevant science concepts like sunspots, and the solar cycle with helpful diagrams and photos. Please note there may be no sunspots due to the current activity of the Sun.

Materials List:

  • two sheets of bright white paper

  • a book

  • tape

  • binoculars or telescope (specific sizes are listed)

  • tripod

  • pencil

  • piece of cardboard- roughly 30cm x 30cm

  • scissors

  • thick piece of paper- roughly 10cm x 10cm (optional)

  • rubber bands (optional)


Topics: Earth & Space Science, Astronomy, Solar, Light & Optics

Grade Level: Grade 4 and up

Activity Type: Outdoor Activity

Language: Spanish, English

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Activity Time: 15 minutes