Distance to the sun

Distance to the sun
Publication Date: June, 2014
Type of Resource: Practical activity/investigation

This downloadable resource is an activity where students determine the distance to the Sun.

In this activity students use an image of the Sun to determine its distance from the Earth using mathematics.

The ratio of distance to the width of the image is used to obtain an experimental value for the distance to the Sun, which students can compare to the known value.

This activity introduces the idea of sources of error and allows students to make a percentage error calculation based on their result.

Additional Information

The Sun needs to be clearly visible in the sky for students to obtain their measurements.

The experimental setup and the calculations can be performed anytime.

Students may need some teacher guidance with the calculations depending on their knowledge and experience with ratios.

Australian Curriculum:
  • Year 10 > Science Inquiry Skills > Communicating > Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose,... > ACSIS208
  • Year 10 > Science Inquiry Skills > Evaluating > Evaluate conclusions, including identifying sources of uncertainty and possible... > ACSIS205
  • Year 10 > Science Inquiry Skills > Processing and analysing data and information > Analyse patterns and trends in data, including describing relationships between... > ACSIS203
  • Year 10 > Science Inquiry Skills > Processing and analysing data and information > Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent... > ACSIS204
  • Year 10 > Science Understanding > Earth and Space Sciences > The universe contains features including galaxies, stars and solar systems and... > ACSSU188