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Studying Sun Shadows Around the World


Two eighth-grade students at James Monroe Middle School in Albuquerque, New Mexico are collaborating with staff at several Antarctic stations including; the Amundsen-Scott South Pole and Palmer Stations to measure shadows.  By comparing the length of shadow the sun casts from a one-meter stick at solar noon measured at locations experiencing either winter or austral summer these students are testing the “longer shadows in the winter and shorter shadows in the summer” understanding.


Students have also arranged for several snapshot winter readings to be taken across the continental United States on solstice. Measurements have been taken weekly from November through winter solstice 2007 with the teacher continuing the weekly measurements through December 2008. Students have e-mailed photos and data during the project and received responses from the station staff. The data collected at the South Pole is using the geographic South Pole to measure the shadow.


South Pole Shadow Team:
Chris Bender is a Research Associate responsible for the Cryogenics Program at the South Pole.
Al Baker is the Science Support Coordinator and is responsible for the proper and continuous operation of over 32 individual projects at the South Pole.
Ethan Good is a Research Associate responsible for operating and monitoring several space weather and aeronomy projects at the South Pole.
Charlie Kaminski is a Planning Support Manager and works closely with the NSF (National Science Foundation) to determine if there are sufficient resources at the South Pole to support new projects.

Palmer Shadow Team:
Phil Spindler, Senior Assistant Supervisor of Lab Operations, Palmer Station, Antarctica
Kim Baranowski, one of two artists currently on station.


November - December measurements:
Albuquerque New Mexico: 35

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Alex Gibert, Feb 22nd, 2008:

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Agree with Kristin. Very amazing and great project. Any results from this research? Good luck!

, Feb 28th, 2008:

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Abstract: This experiment illustrated the relationship of the amount of direct sun Albuquerque, New Mexico as compared to Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula and Amundsen-Scott Base at the South Pole between late November and Solstice in 2007. The observations were expected to show that the closer the location is to the equator the shorter the stick shadows will be. Sun angle measurements were taken from a meter high stick above ground from mid-October to winter solstice and measurements were taken weekly at solar noon on the same day. In general, the shadow lengths of the meter stick in the South Pole are longer in length compared to the ones taken in New Mexico. Both the South Pole location and the students

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