Universe: The Sun as a Star

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NASA and NSTA, is the second of five Science Objects in the Universe SciPack. It provides an understanding of how our Sun compares to other stars in the universe. Analyzing the light from other stars and comparing it with light from our Sun has allowed us to determine that our Sun is a medium-size star. The Sun appears brighter than the other stars because it is many, many times closer to us. It takes about 8 minutes for light to travel from the Sun to Earth, but more than four years for light to travel from the Sun out to the next nearest star.

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Reviews (14)
  • on Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:20 PM

Overall, this SciObject could be a great resource for any science class which is discussing topics related to astronomy. The information is explained in ways that could be understandable for both teachers and students. The Object provides videos and simulations of space which could be very useful for instruction. It allows teachers to introduce information about the sun and other stars in the universe in ways that a students can relate to. Another thing that I liked about this Science Object is that it allows a teacher to prepare for inquiry based lesson that are highly effective. Overall a great Science Object.

Adam Salberg  (Mogadore, OH)
Adam Salberg (Mogadore, OH)

  • on Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:43 PM

The section is divided into folders and each folder has information about the sun. The introduction gives important facts about the sun. The sun is 93 million miles from the Earth. This would be great for students to use to write a report or essay. It also compares the brightness of the sun and distance comparisons. Within each section there are questions relating to the information. They have also provided a quiz about all the information that was provided.


  • on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:58 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Universe: The Sun as a Star Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only do they enrich my teaching, the knowledge enriches my life as well!.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:04 AM

Excellent resource for use with SC.8.E.5.5 – Describe and classify specific physical properties of stars: apparent magnitude (brightness), temperature (color), size, and luminosity (absolute brightness) to use with my special needs students.

Tory Addison
Tory Addison

  • on Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:32 PM

Fabulous information that is easily understood. This unit has helped me to better explain and prepare inquiry lessons for my students. Thanks for creating these units.

Lauren E
Lauren E

  • on Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:56 PM

The outline was excellent in giving lessons to connect, the performances of our sun and other stars.

Stephanie Warren  (Baltimore, MD)
Stephanie Warren (Baltimore, MD)

  • on Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:15 AM

Good review for 4th grade Michigan science GLEC's

lisa  (millington, MI)
lisa (millington, MI)

  • on Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:26 PM

Great information about the sun I did not already know. There is a great mix of both Middle School and High School level material. Illustrations on distance are Awesome. Wish I had that when I was teaching this in class three weeks ago!

Joe M  (, )
Joe M (, )

  • on Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:35 PM

I would like some free worksheets on science projects for kindergarten and preschool students.

Carol Daniels  (Missouri  City, TX)
Carol Daniels (Missouri City, TX)

  • on Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:15 AM

Great information and very well explained. This resource is perfect for students who need that interaction, and hands on activities. I learned a lot from this resource, and I feel that students would too.


  • on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:13 AM

I liked the comparision and the common misconceptions students have when it comes to our sun and the others stars in the solar system.

Kelly Amendola  (Brewster, NY)
Kelly Amendola (Brewster, NY)

  • on Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:31 PM

This resource analyzes the spectra emitted by the sun, and compares it to the spectra emitted by other stars (chemical composition). Through video simulations and photos, viewers learn that the sun is a medium-sized, yellow star that is closer to the Earth than any other star; and thus appears brighter and larger than other stars. Good introduction to the sun, and a quick review of the characteristics of stars (brightness, composition, color, temperature, and size), with a few mathematical calculations thrown in (parallax).

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:05 PM

I think this is a great article and the more you can know about our sun and how it compares to other's the better! Its worth the read and contains great content

Leanne Palmer  (, )
Leanne Palmer (, )

  • on Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:57 PM

This object provided some helpful information about the sun and how all stars, including the sun are measured. It provided a great deal of information about the scale of distance in our solar system and galaxy. The interactive features were adequate. The one with moving light bulbs did not offer much, though the spectral readouts of stars were interesting to see. I would have liked to see a few more suggestions about how to use/teach this information in the classroom, aside for the two links it provided to a sci-pack that must be purchased. Finally, this sci-object had a great deal of information in it, though most of it seemed far above the elementary level. Spectrometer readings and elemental percentage break downs are a little difficult for third graders to grasp.

Cory Williams
Cory Williams

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