Skip to main content

Astronomy Demos

Click on any link in order to view the demonstration with an instructional video. Additionally, there are procedure/activity plans listed for some of the demonstrations below. If you have an idea for an activity plan, download the demonstration template from the navigation panel, fill it out and email it to kewilliamson@mail.wvu.edu.

Celestial Spheres  
Constellations and asterisms are shown on a plastic sphere that has solar system objects inside. This gives a different perspective to viewing the universe--video coming soon. 
Doppler Effect
Bluetooth speaker that will play frequency that is swung around your head to demonstrate the shift in sound when the speaker is approaching you or moving away from you. 
Earth Moon Model
Several Earth-moon/solar system models. 
Gravity
Spandex stretched over ring can be used to demonstrate gravity. Orbit can be demonstrated using a heavy bowling ball and smaller marbles and gravitational waves can be demonstrated using a modified drill.  
Heat Shielding
Heat shielding used on space crafts. Hold dial thermometer to back (white side) if shielding, and heat up the front (black side) and observe that the back does not heat up at all--showing the effectiveness of the heat shielding. 
CAUTION: Open flame. 
Hoberman Sphere  
Hoberman sphere can show angular momentum, expansion, receding velocities, and many more. Can be used and tossed or hung from ring stand.
Moon Phases
Moon phase model allows you to view every phase of the moon. The demonstration allows you to observe the changing phase by rotating the model or your head. 
Rocket Bike
Modified fire extinguisher attached to bike. When extinguisher expels gas, the bike is pushed forward.
CAUTION: Contents under pressure should not be directed towards audience. 
Rocket Propulsion
CO2 cartridge is placed in this apparatus and when the cartridge is pierced, the the thrust makes the arms spin. 
Spectral Lines
Variety of element tubes and gratings are supplied. When students look through gratings, only certain lines appear depending on the element tube.