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ARTICLE

Positive and negative effects of UV

The Earth’s atmosphere blocks most of the Sun’s UV radiation from penetrating through the atmosphere. The small amount that gets through has both positive and negative effects. Positive ...

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ARTICLE

Light and telescopes

The universe is full of amazing things, but we need help to see most of them. There are many types of light that our eyes cannot see, so we use instruments, such as telescopes, that can detect ...

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ARTICLE

Light basics

Light is a form of energy produced by a light source. Light is made of photons that travel very fast. Photons of light behave like both waves and particles. Light sources Something that produces ...

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ARTICLE

Distances in space

Distances in space are really, really big. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is heading out of our Solar System at 62,000 km per hour, but even at that speed, it would take it 77,000 years to reach the ...

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The Sun and white dwarfs

Professor Denis Sullivan studies white dwarfs – small and dense stars that are cooling down after being red giants. Our Sun, and most other stars, will eventually become a white dwarf. The life ...

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ARTICLE

What is UV?

Ultraviolet (UV) light is part of a family of radiations called the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. UV is just beyond the violet end of visible light and has smaller wavelengths and greater ...

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UV and curing

Electromagnetic radiation can act both as a series of waves and as a stream of particles that are called photons. Shorter wavelength photons have greater energy than longer wavelength ones. UV ...

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Solar energy

The Sun is the source of almost all our energy. It is a huge ball of hot gases that gives off energy as heat and light. This is called solar energy, which just means energy from the Sun. The ...

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ARTICLE

Space revealed – question bank

An inquiry approach is a method often used in science education. The question bank provides an initial list of questions about the secret lives of planets, stars and galaxies and places where ...

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ACTIVITY

The electromagnetic spectrum – picture dictation

In this picture dictation activity, students use a range of skills to investigate some ways humans use the waves on the electromagnetic spectrum. By the end of this activity, students should be ...

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ACTIVITY

Make an electric motor

Three historic discoveries were instrumental in the development of electric motors – the invention of the battery by Alessandro Volta in 1800, the generation of a magnetic field from electric ...

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ARTICLE

Radiation

Radiation simply means the emission (sending out) of energy from a source. It could be a speaker that emits sound waves, or the sun that emits heat and light. There are many different types of ...

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ACTIVITY

Māui and the Sun

In this activity, students are introduced to the concept of harnessing the Sun’s energy for our use on Earth. They will appreciate that the early Māori were also thinking about the Sun in ...

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You, me and UV – introduction

Often we hear of ultraviolet radiation (UV) in the media. The message given is that it is a dangerous and invisible component of sunlight that is best avoided – too much UV of any kind can age ...

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Space revealed – introduction

Astronomers studying space have two big problems: A lot of things in space seem invisible – they do not give out light we can see. Scientists cannot leave the Earth to go and collect pieces of ...

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ARTICLE

Planet hunting

Hundreds of extrasolar planets (around other stars) have been found using several methods, including transit, ‘wobble’ and microlensing. New Zealand scientists are part of the hunt for extrasolar ...

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Understanding UV and skin cancer – timeline

This provides a timeline of events related to UV from both a living world and a physical world perspective. 900 BC–500 AD – Ancient Greek and Roman women lighten their skin Tanned skin is not ...

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ACTIVITY

What is refraction?

In this activity, students are introduced to an analogy through a role-play that helps them visualise the refraction of light. The analogy explains why light bends when it enters or exits ...

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