Solar Observing! Making use of JMU's solar telescope you will be able to see the Sun as never before. That boring yellow ball up in the sky is really a very dynamic place. Once Galileo first pointed his telescope towards the Sun, scientist began to understand our nearest neighboring star. With JMU's solar telescopes, you will be able to see sunspots, prominences, and the Sun's granulation. You will be able to take a photograph of the Sun similar to the one seen at the right. You'll earn about how the Sun works. We will be tracking sunspots as they traverse the Sun and determine its rotation rate and the length of a day

Build your own telescope! The first telescope ever built was a refractor telescope, that is one that uses two lenses. Lenses were discovered roughly 700 years ago. They were mostly used as magnifying glasses, or for visual aids. It took humanity roughly another 300 years to figure out that if you combine two lenses in a particular fashion, you obtain a telescope. The first scientist to point his telescope towards the heavens was Galileo. Galileo heard about this new magnifying glass, and was told that it consisted of two lenses inside a tube. Apparently, he then went home, played with some lenses and by the next morning had built his telescope. In this activity we’ll do something similar. First we will analyze the properties of lenses. Then, we will somehow (you’ll figure this out) combine two lenses and rediscover the telescope. You'll get to keep the telescope that you build!

The JMU Planetarium! James Madison University transformed its John C. Wells Planetarium facility in Miller Hall first with a million dollar renovation in the Fall of 2008 and also a recent upgrade in the summer of 2013. The planetarium is outfitted with digital projectors, a hybrid projection system that combines a high quality star projector with an all-dome video system, a state of the art lighting system at the bottom edge of the dome to permit impressive sunrise and sunset simulations (along with many other effects), and a Dolby 5.1 channel sound system. You'll see a full dome movie followed by a "star talk" that will provide you with updates about the night sky, including constellations, planets and any comets that might be visible. Visit the John C. Wells Planetarium site for more information about the facility.

Physics is Phun Science Show! Students and faculty of the physics and astronomy will provide for you a PHYSICS IS PHUN science show. Physics majors and faculty will run through a host of demonstrations that illustrate principles of science that range from the basic forces of nature like electricity to the way matter behaves and changes.


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