Exploring the Sun Does the Sun Rotate?

Link to the demonstrator: in English


Age: 14-17

Duration: 2 hours

Equipment: PC with internet connection 


Contact details                                           

Author: Dr. Rosa Doran (NUCLIO)
Contact: info[at]frontiers-project[dot]eu



This demonstrator introduces the Sun as an active star with sunspots. Students will learn how to use a specific image software to explore sets of real images to understand better sunspots (they will measure sunspots and compare with Earth). The sets of images will lead students to say that the Sun rotates. But they are confronted with images of a transit of an inner planet. Students will have to find a way to argue that sunspots are not satellites – they belong to the Sun’s surface and therefore show that the Sun rotates. Students can present their work to the class and discuss how Galileo Galilei solved this dilemma.


Learning outcomes:

  1. Teach students about the Sun’s activity and its influence on Earth.
  2. Allow students to understand the evidence of the Sun’s rotation movement.
  3. Introduce basic concepts of Astronomy and Image Processing.
  4. Recognize that sometimes the interpretation of the data analysis is not straightforward.


Prior knowledge:

  • Basic Astronomy knowledge of the solar system (Sun, planets, satellites)
  • Scales


Concepts introduced:


  • Sun’s activity
  • sunspots



Learning intentions:

By the end of this descriptor, students should be able to:

  • Describe the Sun as an active star
  • Explain what sunspots are
  • Examine images using the salsa J software
  • Form conclusions about evidences that the Sun rotates


Key activities:

  1. Videos to engage 
  2. Salsa J – making movies and examining images
  3. Analysis and explanation 
  4. Final report and discussion



By the end of this descriptor, students should be able to answer the following: 

  1. Write a couple of sentences describing what you learned about the Sun’s activity.
  2. What are sunspots and what sizes can they be?
  3. How can we prove that the Sun rotates?

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